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Thread: Cup Shape and Coffee Flavours

  1. #1
    mwatt
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    Cup Shape and Coffee Flavours

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    Ok, so I have a bunch of different shaped Reidel glasses that have been shaped to enhance particular wine styles. When people look at them quizzically and I explain the different shapes, they always tells me they think its completely preposterous that a wine will taste different from a different shaped glass. My response is to pour some of the same wine into two different glasses and offer it to them to taste; so I might pour a Shiraz into the Shiraz glass, as well as into the Cab/Merlot glass and offer them both. I have one particularly stubborn friend who insists there is no difference, but every single other person who has tasted, or even smelled, the two glasses has been able to perceive differences, as well as describe some of the differences, and usually amaze themselves at their own perception in the process.

    You can guess where this is going, right?

    Has anyone thought much about the shape of the vessel its served in affecting the flavours of coffee? I am thinking about both brewed and espresso coffee. Thought we needed another variable ;)

    So regarding espresso, I had a fleeting notion last week during my down-dosing experimentation that a tulip-shaped demi seemed to highlight the floral/fruit notes more than the bowl-shaped NP demi.

    I can see Im going to have to do some experimentation here. Hmm, maybe Ill pull doubles, and catch each spout in a different shaped demi for a bit. Ill also pull consecutive doubles into different shaped demis and see if I can discern any differences.

    Hmm, brewed coffee is a whole other kettle of fish, seeing as I still havent decided on what I like to drink it out of anyway *::)

    Any one got any thoughts ..?


  2. #2
    TC
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    Re: Cup Shape and Coffee Flavours

    Quote Originally Posted by 2B31273232460 link=1251258537/0#0 date=1251258537
    Ok, so I have a bunch of different shaped Reidel glasses that have been shaped to enhance particular wine styles. When people look at them quizzically and I explain the different shapes, they always tells me they think its completely preposterous that a wine will taste different from a different shaped glass. My response is to pour some of the same wine into two different glasses and offer it to them to taste; so I might pour a Shiraz into the Shiraz glass, as well as into the Cab/Merlot glass and offer them both. I have one particularly stubborn friend who insists there is no difference, but every single other person who has tasted, or even smelled, the two glasses has been able to perceive differences, as well as describe some of the differences, and usually amaze themselves at their own perception in the process.

    You can guess where this is going, right?

    Has anyone thought much about the shape of the vessel its served in affecting the flavours of coffee? I am thinking about both brewed and espresso coffee. Thought we needed another variable ;)

    So regarding espresso, I had a fleeting notion last week during my down-dosing experimentation that a tulip-shaped demi seemed to highlight the floral/fruit notes more than the bowl-shaped NP demi.

    I can see Im going to have to do some experimentation here. Hmm, maybe Ill pull doubles, and catch each spout in a different shaped demi for a bit. Ill also pull consecutive doubles into different shaped demis and see if I can discern any differences.

    Hmm, brewed coffee is a whole other kettle of fish, seeing as I still havent decided on what I like to drink it out of anyway *::)

    Any one got any thoughts ..?
    Anecdotally, I think there is definitely something there Michelle..

    A bowl will expose more surface area and probably increase the rate of cooling compared to a tulip and there is no doubt in my mind that this will influence whats on the palate...

    Funnily enough, my favourite lungo tends to end up in a NP or ACF bowl and I am happiest that way.

    Ill be very curious to read your findings...

    2mcm

  3. #3
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Cup Shape and Coffee Flavours

    This is a TOTAL I had a laugh for me. ;D

    When I can get two consecutive cups of coffee to taste the same, then maybe I will join you in the test. ::)

    Let us know how you go.

    Greg

  4. #4
    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Re: Cup Shape and Coffee Flavours


    Fair point Greg!

    I can see where you are coming from Michelle, mostly I think its aromas not flavour that changes perceptions although Chriss surface area idea has merit too.

    My current favourite espresso glass has a much wider top and allows more nose in the cup, I might have tested a dozen or more before I settled on this one... and having said that I might find a better one one day too.

    An very interesting discussion point though.

  5. #5
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: Cup Shape and Coffee Flavours

    I thought it just a perception of relative luxury but my drinks seem to taste better when served in either my Piccardi glassware or ACF cups.

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    Re: Cup Shape and Coffee Flavours

    Youll also have to make sure the cups are the same temperatures when the coffee hits ;) I reckon itd be better used with filtered coffee. I pretty drink all my filtered brews in wider mouthed cups/glasses so it cools quicker and I can find the turn point (if any) sooner. Good luck shell. ;)

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    Re: Cup Shape and Coffee Flavours

    Ive actually been experimenting with the very same thing, using my Cab Sav Reidel for Yirg Mullelage this morning to great success




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    Senior Member redzone121's Avatar
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    Re: Cup Shape and Coffee Flavours

    Ive been pouring 300ml Lattes into tall coffee mugs, it just seems cosier (is that a cupping term) ;D
    I really enjoy trying different cups out and since visiting Japan have gone back to Tea cups for syphon (was using ACF before).
    Its all good.

    Chris

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    Re: Cup Shape and Coffee Flavours

    And they say that tea needs to be served in a teacup too.

    Different types of cups retain heat differently. Porcelain vs. glass vs. cardboard for example. I think it would make sense for the shape and make of the vessel to modify the taste - if only from a temperature perspective. *I obviously have no scientific evidence here, and not all taste-buds were created equal.

    I might be getting paranoid, but I have a theory that Styrofoam cups add their own chemically flavor to whatever is inside. *:o


  10. #10
    mwatt
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    Re: Cup Shape and Coffee Flavours

    Quote Originally Posted by 210E0419600 link=1251258537/3#3 date=1251262672
    I can see where you are coming from Michelle, mostly I think its aromas not flavour that changes perceptions although Chriss surface area idea has merit too.
    Hmm, yes maybe flavour is too clumsy an expression. The aroma definitely changes with the different shaped Reidels, but there are also perceptible differences in dryness, astringency, mouthfeel etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by 1905051A01600 link=1251258537/5#5 date=1251269325
    Good luck shell. ;)
    Cheeky bludger. Pretty sure Ill be roping you in to some experimentation ;D

    And as for filter over espresso, yes, both need to be explored, but there are a few standard (ish) spro cups to investigate; bowl, tulip, the one I shall call the rose (like Hazels brown ACFs).

    With filter, some people drink it in big cap cups, some in bodum glasses, some in those nifty little glass ones youve got ;) But then the positive side is one could brew up, say a Chemex full of something ;) , and just pour it into a bunch of different cups/glasses/etc. Hmm.

    Quote Originally Posted by 030110150308090E600 link=1251258537/8#8 date=1251277587
    I might be getting paranoid, but I have a theory that Styrofoam cups add their own chemically flavor to whatever is inside. *:o
    Indeed. That stuff is evil.

  11. #11
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    Re: Cup Shape and Coffee Flavours

    Hi Michelle,

    This is a wonderful topic and thanks for posting it!

    One of the great differences between coffee and wine is the presence of alcohol in wine. *Alcohol is a relatively lightweight molecule and, so, evaporates at lower temperatures and contributes to the perception of aroma. *Wine might be 13% alcohol, so thats a significant contributor to aroma. *By comparison, we know that brewed coffee at a "gold cup" standard is in the ballpark of 1.25 +/- 0.1% TDS, whilst espresso, IIRC, might be 5% TDS. *Of that figure, only a small amount will be small and light molecules that are particularly volatile. *Why? *Because small molecules will be the first to be driven off by the heat of roasting, tying into why light roasts tend to be more aromatic. *This is also why the worse examples of vinegary ferment defects are so spectacular; acetic acid is pretty tiny and, so, stinks. All of this is simply to say that coffee isnt as aromatic as wine, so anything that we can do to increase our perception of that aroma is a good thing - thats why we do the ridiculous sounding slurp whilst cupping.

    Personally, for brewed coffee, I prefer to keep it in a pot of some description and pour a small amount into a glass or cup, then swirl it around and get my nose right into it. *This gets it down to the cooler drinking temperature that I prefer and also seems to really release the aroma. *As for the vessel itself, I suspect that something like Johns glass above might be pretty good. *I think that you want something that is big enough to really get your nose into and tall and narrow enough to direct aroma into your nose. *There is a very concise and informative piece on wine glass shapes in the book Molecular Gastronomy by Herve This at page 251 that summarises research conducted for wine using both a panel of tasters and gas chromatography.

    Espresso cups are interesting. *From memory, the IIAC claims to have optimised their recommended cup, but it looks pretty standard to me. *Herve This comments that the ISO standard glass for wine appears to have been selected without actually considering its impact on sensory perception. *I wonder if there wouldnt be scope to improve our espresso cups?

    Cheers,
    Luca

  12. #12
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Cup Shape and Coffee Flavours


    Interesting topic indeed!

    Reminds me of snifter/balloon glasses - Id love to try an espresso cup that is based on these: wide in the middle to release aromas and then concentrated in the narrower rim against a standard cup.


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    Re: Cup Shape and Coffee Flavours

    Dennis - Reidel O glasses are all effectively snifter/balloon glasses (especially Pinot) but they seem to do very different things for the flavours - next CS meetup perhaps!

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    Senior Member redzone121's Avatar
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    Re: Cup Shape and Coffee Flavours

    Liar Liar visit earlier this year. I have to admit it was a great way to sample my first clover samples, even gave me notes with each SO. Now that great service, Cheers Nolan ;)

    Chris


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    Senior Member redzone121's Avatar
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    Re: Cup Shape and Coffee Flavours

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Ps: went for a 2 hour walk after this as I had 7 coffees by 10.30am, still felt buzzed out till late afternoon. Must get back to Melbourne :D



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