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  • how are you taste testing the coffee

    as i read about the different coffee beans roasts brews and all the other variables and some of the descriptions of results
    i must ask a question.
    do you taste test coffe on its own to get a conclusion and then do you drink it with milk sugar etc etc according to your preference,
    the reason i ask is i drink it strong 1 sugar and milk and i dont think i could ever drink it black on its own
    am i missing out on the different nuances of coffee this way.

    i have tried a few brews black but to me they all tasted similar to my untrained pallate
    cheers brian
    ps my coffe making skills are not up there yet anyway but i do like trying different beans

  • #2
    Re: how are you taste testing the coffee

    I always try to do french press when Im evaluating flavours of coffees. Milk has the ability to transform coffee flavours that are not recognisable without milk. Like cocoa etc.

    Then once Im happy with the french press, I have it as a single espresso, and then a ristretto, then finally have it as a traditional cappuccino.

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    • #3
      Re: how are you taste testing the coffee

      Hey Brain

      Sounds like you havent had a great espresso before. Its important to have a measuring stick so you know excatly how good black coffee can be. Sugar slows down the development of a palate. Look at the Americans!!! The palate of donuts and junk food!! So try the coffee before you add the sugar. Also the top of the milk base coffee is different from the bottom. Trying single orgins thru milk is a very hard task.
      Also start drinking macs or piccolos.

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      • #4
        Re: how are you taste testing the coffee

        I always have my coffee with milk - no sugar when taste testing. I have tried plain black coffee and just cannot enjoy it. My pallete just prefers milk.

        Sometimes I also like about 1/2 ts sugar, though I am trying to train myself out of it. I still enjoy sugar though - I find it brings out the fruity flavours of some beans.

        It is just a matter of practice. If you can taste the subtle flavours of wine, it will not take long for you to do likewise with coffee - using milk or not.

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        • #5
          Re: how are you taste testing the coffee

          I stopped taking sugar in my coffee the day I got the Expobar.

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          • #6
            Re: how are you taste testing the coffee

            When testing, I pull a double in a flat white, then I try it as a single shot Flat White or Latte (to see if it has enough grunt to cut through), then I head into Espresso and Ristretto (although they arent my prefered drinks)...

            All Milk drinks are either light milk (myself) or Vitasoy so milky lite (wife)

            At times, I may pull the French Press out and the Stovetop and see how the coffee goes...

            NO sugar.... unless Stovetop is used... which is only perhaps half a teaspoon at the most

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            • #7
              Re: how are you taste testing the coffee

              Originally posted by Thundergod link=1177479712/0#4 date=1177506702
              I stopped taking sugar in my coffee the day I got the Expobar.

              Same here. After buying a decent espresso machine (Sunbeam EM6910) I found that the coffee tasted beautiful without sugar. I was really surprised, not to mention happy, that I could cut out more sugar from my diet.



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              • #8
                Re: how are you taste testing the coffee

                Straight up. Kinda like a good whisk(e)y but minus the rocks. Like whisk(e)y, I find espresso has a strong up-front, assault on the taste buds, which you learn to appreciate and taste past.

                Just like you might need to add, say, some sweet vermouth, bitters and ice to your bourbon; sometimes you want maybe some ice-cream or milk or chocolate to your coffee.

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                • #9
                  Re: how are you taste testing the coffee

                  I think shots are the only way to get an idea of what the beans are like - adding it to milk dillutes it too much and you have sugar coming in to play (which would be different from pitcher to pitcher as heating the milk caramelises the sugars?), etc.

                  Even pulled as a shot, variables such as differences in dose sizes, machine temperature, tamping pressure, etc. are going to make it difficult as you have too many possibly different variables which can impact the end result from cup to cup.

                  I think this is why people cup, cupping helps to remove these variables and makes it a lot more accurate?

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                  • #10
                    Re: how are you taste testing the coffee

                    hehehe...caramelise...I dont think so. Caramelisation of sugars begin at something like 100 deg C....each type of sugar has a different caramelisation temperature.

                    Youre right about the milk introducing sweetness in to the cup though. See http://www.coffeegeek.com/guides/frothingguide/milk for a more detailed explanation.


                    [edit]Trivia: During coffee roasting, once we reach 2nd crack, we trade high notes and aromatics (acidity) for sweet caramelised sugar tastes (body).[/edit]

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                    • #11
                      Re: how are you taste testing the coffee

                      Originally posted by Wushoes link=1177479712/0#9 date=1177687248
                      hehehe...caramelise...I dont think so.
                      Well if he gets his milk really, really hot..... and drives off all the water so there is just lactose.... and keeps heating..... ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

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                      • #12
                        Re: how are you taste testing the coffee

                        Originally posted by Bon link=1177479712/0#8 date=1177684600
                        I think this is why people cup, cupping helps to remove these variables and makes it a lot more accurate?
                        Cupping is primarily used to find defects in coffee, eg. fermentation, over-ripe, under-ripe, insect diseased. Then it used to find the qualities we like about it.

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                        • #13
                          Re: how are you taste testing the coffee

                          One important thing to remember on this note of tasting coffee is the degree of complexity in coffee.
                          For example, a vanilla beans flavour can be roughly put down to 7 flavour components, a glass of wine into about 25 or so.
                          Coffee on the other hand once cell breakdown is occurring,(pylorisis)
                          can have as much as 300 or more flavour components.
                          It is no wonder then that it can be a hard task to assess coffee, so many of the compounds are volatile and a mistake in the brewing process can eliminate many of them, Wushoes is right then that cupping not only is the simplest way to assess coffee but can be used to assess defects not only in coffee but in the roasting.
                          On the note of tasting with milk there is room for that but more so to see how the chemistry make up of the coffee reactes with milk, I had a best of crop Kenya coffee at HAB offices last year and after cupping we added milk and the brew turned almost a salmon pink, as well as being a great coffee !
                          SCAA guidelines for cupping are a useful tool here, they also describe what flavour terminology actually means and the tactile impression that each may or may not impart. In much the same way that we can identify tannin in wine (as it has little if no flavour) by the draw we feel on the roof of our mouth with the tongue. Cab Savs are a good example of this.
                          I think you might all be glazing over now so thatll do

                          Cheers

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                          • #14
                            Re: how are you taste testing the coffee

                            I usually have a short black in morning to test everything. Then during the day have a latte, no sugar, as I dont like the sugar in it when enjoying the taste. However if Im having a hetic day I go all out and put 4 sugars in it for that buzz, either all or nothing I say in regards to sugar.

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                            • #15
                              Re: how are you taste testing the coffee

                              Originally posted by Ross Quail link=1177479712/0#12 date=1177716724
                              One important thing to remember on this note of tasting coffee is the degree of complexity in coffee.
                              For example, a vanilla beans flavour can be roughly put down to 7 flavour components, a glass of wine into about 25 or so.
                              Coffee on the other hand once cell breakdown is occurring,(pylorisis)
                              can have as much as 300 or more flavour components.
                              This is often mentioned in this context and as often misunderstood. Although coffee can be this complex, it is not possible for mere humans to detect this level of complexity. You are only as good as your senses.

                              Cupping is indeed the simplest method for assessing coffee. Takes out most of the human impossed variables in brewing coffee. However, who drinks coffee that way? Freaks if they do.

                              Cupping, French Press, Aeropress, Ristretto, Long Black etc.. all good accept if you only drink Lattes or Cappas. A particular bean or roast may taste awesome as espresso but terrible with milk. How does tasting it as an espresso help if you add milk? Very limited.

                              It is great to try coffee in many forms, gives you a better perspective. In the end it needs to taste good in the form that you like it. Finding that is the fun part.

                              When roasting, a roaster is not only trying to get the best tasting coffee but the best tasting coffee for a purpose. Any competant roaster will be able to advise which blends, single origins etc. are best for different purposes. Next time you are buying beans, tell them what you are going to be using it for and your preferences for style, characters etc.

                              One of the major challenges for any cafe is choosing the right blend. Its all about the espresso right? Well, most customers in Australia will order a milk based coffee. Do you roast a blend to be best for espresso or latte? Somewhere in between?? How do your customers react to coffee that you think is awesome? Agree or disagree?

                              Drink em all I say. Nice to get out of a rut and try different styles. We should all be doing more cupping.


                              Billy B

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