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Developing a coffee palate

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  • Developing a coffee palate

    Was chatting to a very helpful CSer recently and during the course of the conversation he mentioned that rating the taste of a particular coffee may be due to not having well developed coffee palate.

    It git me thinking, how do we develop this palate? Is it something we can develop, and if so, how do we go about it? Cupping/tasting sessions and the like? Or do we either have it, or dont we?

    Some thoughts on this would be helpful.

  • #2
    Re: Developing a coffee palate

    Originally posted by 3E3237233A362121366365530 link=1234916316/0#0 date=1234916316
    how do we develop this palate? Is it something we can develop, and if so, how do we go about it? Cupping/tasting sessions and the like? Or do we either have it, or dont we?
    In my opinion.... it is a bit of both!

    I think we can all train our palate to recognise certain tastes more accurately but I also believe that some are born with greater ability to be able to discern the different tastes etc.....

    Taste, just like all our other senses, is very subjective. It varies with our age, the condition of our health and even our ethnic background.... so making absolute calls based on taste isnt easy.....

    Realistically however, does it matter if the coffee and an "earthy" taste.... or blackberries.... or spices etc? (I guess it does if you are trying to describe the flavour to someone else).... but what IS important is whether the flavour appeals to you or not.

    A good example is Monsooned Malabar.... many (like me - and especially my wife) love the flavour.... whilst just as many detest it!!!

    So dont be worried if a coffee which others say is "fantastic" doesnt appeal to you.... it doesnt matter.... just find those which you like

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    • #3
      Re: Developing a coffee palate

      Ive been wondering about this as well. So far Ive found that the coffee Ive purchased on BeanBay tastes (to me) like the description. But there are times when Ive tried coffee and have been unable to discern particular flavours. Maybe if Ive read a description of a coffee before I taste it I find myself looking for those flavours and I find them!

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      • #4
        Re: Developing a coffee palate

        People who try to develop their wine palate often use the ingredients that the wine’s aroma is said to be composed. Maybe this technique could also be applied to coffee?

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        • #5
          Re: Developing a coffee palate

          Originally posted by 12020E610 link=1234916316/3#3 date=1234930290
          People who try to develop their wine palate often use the ingredients that the wine’s aroma is said to be composed. Maybe this technique could also be applied to coffee?
          Its already been done and a whole heap of CSers have been through Jill Adams and Lindsay Corbys palate training course at the Coffee Academy: http://coffee.angliss.vic.edu.au/overview.htm

          The CS discussion thread is at http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1213684751

          This year, its a travelling show

          Also, attend as many cupping sessions as you can. Youll learn a heap.

          2mcm

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          • #6
            Re: Developing a coffee palate

            Ooh my bad. Im new here so I should probably spent a bit more time looking through older posts.

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            • #7
              Re: Developing a coffee palate

              Whilst I usually have mine white with a half, Ive started having an espresso or machiatto as well to get a handle on the pure taste of the coffees at different places Ive been trying. I find this has been a good start in getting to try new tastes.

              Also taking the time to actually taste and savour the different flavours has been an eye opener. I know that the taste in is the buds of the beholders tongues, but I figured that there had to be common threads in working towards developing the palate, and posts so far have been pretty helpful.

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              • #8
                Re: Developing a coffee palate

                I have been to a few cupping sessions and these were very helpful in getting me on the road to discerning the different smells and tastes of different beans. When I do roasts now I can smell the beans after a day or so and pick up the choc/cocoa, fruitiness, citrus etc. I usually "cup" my roasts by making an americano and tasting it as it cools down to almost cold, I find this a good way of testing my roasts, I usually dont have the time for formal cupping sessions so this is a quick method for me.
                Reading CS posts and talking to other coffee lovers is a great way of developing ones knowledge and palette for this wonderful obsession we are all so taken with.

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                • #9
                  Re: Developing a coffee palate

                  Try an Aeropress if you can get one and maybe a syphon if you live near a cafe that does them. These 2 options have helped me appreciate some different flavors without the harshness of other black coffee brewing methods.

                  Chris

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                  • #10
                    Re: Developing a coffee palate

                    Im with you Chris - try tasting coffee using other methods of extraction that bring out other beautiful nuances present in the coffee...

                    madpierre - I see you are based at Stafford Heights - You are more than welcome to come into Di Bella Coffee at Bowen Hills and have a play with some equipment so you can discover different flavours and overall develop your palate.
                    I have an aeropress, presso, filter, stovetop, plungers etc. (and can also bring in a syphon if you want)

                    We also do free cupping sessions every sat from 9am-10am.

                    Cheers
                    Anne

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                    • #11
                      Re: Developing a coffee palate

                      Im really new at this palate refinement process, but home roasting has been my education pathway so far. Just a novice really, but otherwise I wouldnt have understood truly how different coffees can be, and how roasting differences change the style too.

                      I can also afford to roast up a number of small useable batches at a time so I can try them all simultaneously.

                      As a predominantly milk-based drinker (on a double ristretto base), many of the nuances are lost in milk, so Im learning too which work best as an espresso, and which with milk.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Developing a coffee palate

                        I think that the key to developing a coffee palate is to go about tasting multiple things at once and focussing on articulating the differences. For example, when you say to someone who hasnt tasted much coffee that a particular coffee tastes sweet, they think of something that tastes like it has had sugar added. When you say to someone who has tasted a lot of coffee that a particular coffee tastes sweet, they think of something that is sweet relative to other coffee that they have tasted. The two are slightly different concepts, but, nonetheless, no-one would disagree that the correct description for both is sweet.

                        Cheers,

                        Luca

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                        • #13
                          Re: Developing a coffee palate

                          If you would like to start somewhere then the old plunger is brilliant.
                          The plunger will give the you least harsh way of brewing coffee if you are a beginner (or with a bit of extra tweaking a seasoned brewer) the easiest overall way to cup or evaluate your coffees
                          Check out the Stumptown website with a very easy step by step brewing guide
                          Enjoy

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                          • #14
                            Re: Developing a coffee palate

                            Some really useful ideas there, thanks for the info.

                            Anne, Ill be sure to drop by at some stage real soon once I get back into my shift mode.

                            Cheers

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