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Developing your palette.

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  • Developing your palette.

    Hello, what tips/advice would you give to someone trying to develop their taste buds? I'm trying to learn how to distinguish the tastes within the cupping notes for espresso.

  • #2
    Firstly its spelt palate, don't worry i thought it was spelt like that at first too.

    To develop your palate, its best if you can either find proper tasting notes or someone who has a well developed palate to practice with or just goto cupping session on a regular basis (that's how i developed mine). At first it'll be hard to distinguish, either because you can't separate the flavours or you haven't actually tasted them before. Eating alot of different foods, knowing what they taste like helps alot for association. Then just keep practising by drinking alot of coffee and trying to analyse it. Hey at least its an excuse to drink lots of coffee =P

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    • #3
      I've been reading what other people think of specific beans and seeing if I can distinguish those flavours myself, some I can some I can't.

      But you're right, great excuse to taste lots of coffee, even if the mrs does think I'm mad.

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      • #4
        Ok cool, thanks for the tips

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        • #5
          I'd recommend roasting you're own coffee and drinking it filter style, and as espresso, and making notes - and of course attending cuppings whenever you can

          I worked in the wine industry (as a beverage manager / sommelier ) for ten years before running my own cafes - where I would often attend 3 or more wine tastings in a day - and there was / is a plethora of tasting notes etc available for wine, combined with the ability to speak to wine makers on a regular basis

          But when I opened my first cafe (ten years ago) there was definitely less opportunities than there are today to taste coffee and to compare notes with others

          And I would argue that compared to the wine industry, coffee tasting is still relatively in its infancy, even though there's a relative plethora of micro roasters around today

          But at least by roasting your own coffee, and tasting it and logging your tasting notes, it's possible to build up a repertoire, and to compare notes and regional characteristics, and to map your progress over time

          Or failing that by simply keeping a written log of what you're tasting in the coffees you're trying, you will no doubt find that your vocabulary builds over time

          Good luck in your coffee quest!
          Last edited by askthecoffeeguy; 8 July 2013, 04:07 PM.

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          • #6
            Start here.

            A wonderful resource from Alan Frew

            Commercial link removed
            Last edited by Javaphile; 9 July 2013, 05:38 AM. Reason: commercial link removed

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            • #7
              Sweet Maria's website also has some good stuff about tasting. A google search will get u there

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              • #8
                Hey guys another Q. Astringent, how would you describe this taste sensation?

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                • #9
                  Dry and chalky in the mouth, can be perceived as bitterness.

                  Leave a tea bag to brew boiling water, in a cup for half hour, then taste. It will be full of dry bitter tannins.

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                  • #10
                    Taste is so subjective that sharing notes with others will absolutely mean that their suggestions will influence what you think you can taste. Given that your local environment will effect your olfactory system and alter the experience you should taste different things even when drinking the very same coffee or wine at different times. Even the words we use to try and describe flavour and texture will effect you experience. Cognitive dissidence man!

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                    • #11
                      Astringency is a common term used in wine tasting to describe the dry, mouth puckering mouthfeel (sometimes called 'grippiness') caused by tannins
                      in red wine. In coffee astringency comes from some of the acids present in roasted coffee, is not as pronounced as in
                      some wine and is more noticeable in Robusta. It can be emphasised (according to one roaster I know) by roasting too fast
                      after 1st crack til the end of the roast, resulting in an undeveloped or under roasted bean . Not to be confused with the mouth puckering
                      brought on by lemony sourness.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by astr0b0y View Post
                        . Cognitive dissidence man!
                        I think you might mean dissonance :P

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                        • #13
                          Was a poor play on words. Dissonance indeed.

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                          • #14
                            Actually that's pretty clever... ignore the fool >.<

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