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Thread: Is there something wrong with my tastebuds?

  1. #1
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    Is there something wrong with my tastebuds?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all,

    I'm hoping someone can help me out here - I've been buying roasted beans from lots of different places - some single origins, some blends. I let people know that I drink a double shot ristretto and ask for bean recommendations. I get the beans home, grind 'em up and pull a shot. The shot looks good so I taste it and it's like I've just sucked on a lemon - there's some coffee taste in there but all I get is this massive spike being driven up through the roof of my mouth.

    I used to think it was because the beans were too fresh so I've waited a few days, a week or two and sometimes the beans have settled down a little but the result is still pretty much the same. I think it's because the beans have been roasted a bit light. The beans I tend to like look obviously darker and have a broader flavour.

    The thing I don't understand is that the beans have come from award-winning roasters and some of the beans have also won awards, so someone somewhere obviously enjoys drinking coffee like this.

    What am I missing? What is so pleasant about sucking on a lemon?

  2. #2
    Site Sponsor coffee_machinist's Avatar
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    The beans are one part of the equation, to help diagnose further it would be great to get some more info on your equipment and technique. Seems unlikely that all the roasts you've tried are at fault, could be low brew water temperature or under extracted i.e. the shot is running too fast?

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    Machine? Grinder? Dose? Temp of water at group?

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    Senior Member brokenvase's Avatar
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    Is there something wrong with my tastebuds?

    Also, have you tried the same bean at the cafe? Ordering the same coffee? Has to be a good and trusted cafe/barista though...

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    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    The beans are only one component of the end result.
    Do you ever get a coffee made at the place you buy the beans from? If so, does it taste like lemons there?
    What equipment are you using to make the coffee?
    What grinder?
    What machine?

    It may be that you are doing everything fine and it just comes down to the fact that your taste buds don't like coffee, but I would have a small wager that one or more components in your coffee making process could be improved to make the resulting brew not taste like sucking lemons.

    Brett.

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    Is there something wrong with my tastebuds?

    What equipment?

    If "sucked on a lemon" means sour shots, in my experience it's caused by one of three things: under-roasted beans, dirty machine or low brew temp.

    Dirty machine is easy to diagnose: pull a shot of water from a warm machine, let it cool (or put in fridge) and taste it! If it doesn't taste like water, the machine isn't clean.

    Brew temp depends on your machine and you've already said you've tried quite a few different roasts?

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    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Hi Jools,

    People have jumped on your technique and even suggested that you don't like coffee??
    Your technique may well be playing a part but my reading of your post suggested otherwise.
    Poor technique producing fast pours will result in sour, thin shots with pale crema but not necessarily distinctly lemon. ( or grapefruit or pineapple).
    My experience tells me that those flavours are present in lighter roasts.
    The other thing I read was that you know that you like darker roasts than the ones you are questioning and which you have
    already called light. It seems that you have differentiated some of the factors.
    Trying the beans at the point of sale is good advice. Low brew temp is also a good point but will sour light and dark roasts.

    Nothing's nice about sucking lemons.
    And to the contrary! There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with your tastebuds!
    My reading of your post is they are telling you that you're not a fan of '3rd wave' roasting, (light roasting) most people aren't, so you're in plenty of company.
    You'll have to find the roasters who have an understanding of what an espresso roast is, rather than those who think that a light roast will
    present well when made as an espresso.
    The majority of good roasters are in tune with great espresso roasting but lighter roasts seem to be more common in
    the cbd area of cities.
    Just because a bean has a Cup of Excellence award doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to make a great espresso or is roasted to do so.
    Quite a few CoE beans end up as pour-over or filter roasts simply because the roaster wants to present the bean with it's
    inherent character and flavour as a bean and not have those characters influenced or masked by 'roastiness'. This is fair enough,
    they probably paid a truckload for them. Make them as an espresso and the brightness will often be lemon/grapefruit.

    My problem with that style of roasting comes when people try and convince me that as a light roast the bean also makes great espresso.
    They don't. Ask for beans not to have as an espresso but which are roasted as an espresso (medium to dark) roast.
    The flip side is burnt, ashy bitterness of over roasted beans, you'll want to avoid them as well!

    Trust your senses I think they're working fine!

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    Instead of ristretto, run a full double and time it.
    Is it the same taste at different grinds and doses?
    If it was me I'd grind finer or dose more at the current grind.
    But I suspect you are grinding too coarse.

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    Wow - guys, thanks heaps for the awesome response!

    Let me try and answer some of your questions:

    Equipment at home is a Compak K10 WBC and a La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II. I usually have this set to 93 but I haven't experimented with different temperatures.

    I don't think my problem is equipment or technique because I am able to produce some absolutely stunning shots with other beans using the same equipment and technique. Also I can smell the difference in the grinder - I can smell this pungent streak from the ground beans. As I mentioned in the original post the resulting shot looks good in the cup - around a 30 sec pour for about 20mls with a rich, dark crema - its not thin, watery, under-extracted..

    Maybe I need to change the technique or temperature for the lighter roasted beans? How would I experiment - smaller dose? Higher temp? I already grind quite fine.

    At work I have the aeropress / kyocera combo - when I make a long black with this combo it is a little more palatable, more of the coffee flavours come through as the lemon hit is toned down a bit.

    I have had similar results a few times when buying a ristretto from a cafe - needless to say I didn't buy their beans! I had a chat with the barista at one of the outlets and asked him if he got the same lemon hit and he said he liked the flavours - I don't think he was overly experienced though.. Most of the beans that cause me problems are when I haven't been able to sample first.

    Chokkidog - thanks very much for your explanation, it makes a lot of sense and I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one struggling with the lighter roasts! Some of the places I've bought beans from do a lot of pourover and cold-drip coffees and I'm assuming the lighter roasts work better here?

  10. #10
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Hey jools,

    I was recently served a 3rd wave 'espresso' in Melbourne, afterwards I was approached by the barista
    who had the other half of the shot, he was talking about berries and fruit, I could hardly talk from the mouth puckering slap of lime!
    I wanted to say something about the juice bar down the road.......... but could only manage a sort of kissing noise!!

    I don't really struggle with lighter roasts, I just don't buy them! ;-)
    If I'm given one, it won't go in my espresso machine, just my press.
    My son is into pour-over, siphon and espresso, has a Behmor and roasts accordingly.
    I roast commercially and do lots of espresso roasts and some filter roasts but always avoid the lemons, I prefer apples! ;-o

    Cheers!

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    Jools perhaps try increase your pre-infusion time that could help soften the brightness of the acidic taste you are getting. But I think generally most roasteries are roasting pretty light now even for espresso. Have you tried axil? I generally find them good for espresso. It's a shame that almost all of the decent coffee shops in the cbd now are going for very bright acidic espresso, except maybe naked espresso on little Burke I highly recommend them.

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    Hey Chokkidog,

    That sounds like a few coffees I've had - the barista wanking on about the fruits and berries and whatever and I'm trying to deal with my mouth's overwhelming urge to open wide and expel the remains of the citrus grenade that just went off in there!

    I don't get it - is it a lack of experience? Have these people not tasted a proper espresso? Or is it something that doesn't affect the younger tastebuds as much..
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jools View Post
    Hey Chokkidog,

    That sounds like a few coffees I've had - the barista wanking on about the fruits and berries and whatever and I'm trying to deal with my mouth's overwhelming urge to open wide and expel the remains of the citrus grenade that just went off in there!

    I don't get it - is it a lack of experience? Have these people not tasted a proper espresso? Or is it something that doesn't affect the younger tastebuds as much..
    It's the emperor's new clothes syndrome. I doubt they can taste anything apart from sour, which they confuse for citrus. Ah gooseberries - did someone say they can taste gooseberries in this coffee?
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    Senior Member javabeen's Avatar
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    Try a lower dose and finer grind. Your grinder is a conical right? I noticed my shots were alot brighter when years ago i moved to a mazzer kony and dropping the dose and grinding finer helped with this.

    If that doesnt help then leave the light roasts for non espresso brew methods.

    Have fun
    Javabeen.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis View Post
    It's the emperor's new clothes syndrome. I doubt they can taste anything apart from sour, which they confuse for citrus.
    It might also be because they actually do taste citrus. To quote directly from coffeechemistry.com - the leading information portal on coffee science and chemistry

    "Like all living organisms, citric acid plays an important role as a key intermediate compound in the [coffee]plant's metabolic life. In green coffee, citric acid [imparts citrus flavours/aromas] along with malic [green apple flavours/aromas] and quinic [bitter & astringent] acid constitute a significant portion of coffee's total acid content and in the development of perceived acidity.
    During roasting, citric acid reaches a maximum at light to medium roasts, then quickly diminishes as roasting levels progress. A typical medium roast will lose about 50% of its initial citric acid concentration and diminishes further as roasting progresses."

    Having said that, they also add:

    "With an intensely sour/sharp charateristic, excessive citric acid in coffee is detrimental to quality. In the beverage industry, commonly uses citric acid as a food acidulant imparting sharp sour and tart notes. However, when this occurs in coffee it is typically an indicator of poor post harvest separation. If care is not taken to separate unripe green beans from ripened red ones, the batch can severely be affected. This is beacause green unripe beans contain underdeveloped sugar which do not fully develop during roasting - commonly appearing as lighter color beans (quakers). "

    Just someone else's two cents worth.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinitasse View Post
    It might also be because they actually do taste citrus. To quote directly from coffeechemistry.com - the leading information portal on coffee science and chemistry

    "Like all living organisms, citric acid plays an important role as a key intermediate compound in the [coffee]plant's metabolic life. In green coffee, citric acid [imparts citrus flavours/aromas] along with malic [green apple flavours/aromas] and quinic [bitter & astringent] acid constitute a significant portion of coffee's total acid content and in the development of perceived acidity.
    During roasting, citric acid reaches a maximum at light to medium roasts, then quickly diminishes as roasting levels progress. A typical medium roast will lose about 50% of its initial citric acid concentration and diminishes further as roasting progresses."

    Having said that, they also add:

    "With an intensely sour/sharp charateristic, excessive citric acid in coffee is detrimental to quality. In the beverage industry, commonly uses citric acid as a food acidulant imparting sharp sour and tart notes. However, when this occurs in coffee it is typically an indicator of poor post harvest separation. If care is not taken to separate unripe green beans from ripened red ones, the batch can severely be affected. This is beacause green unripe beans contain underdeveloped sugar which do not fully develop during roasting - commonly appearing as lighter color beans (quakers). "

    Just someone else's two cents worth.
    I'm familiar with coffeechemistry and have spent some time with Joseph.

    I don't believe we are going through a phase of poor harvest separation. I do believe that the coffees I am referring to we're simply under roasted and consequently sour.

    It would be easier to be impressed by someone who insists a coffee is 'full of citrus' if they were able to identify which citrus fruit flavour was more evident.

    Now, should we talk about the difference between sour and bitter and the confusion that creates?

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    Quote Originally Posted by javabeen View Post
    Try a lower dose and finer grind. Your grinder is a conical right? I noticed my shots were alot brighter when years ago i moved to a mazzer kony and dropping the dose and grinding finer helped with this.

    If that doesnt help then leave the light roasts for non espresso brew methods.

    Have fun
    Javabeen.
    Hi Javabeen,

    Yes, the K10 is a large conical. During the 'getting to know you' phase when I upgraded to the K10 and La Spaz I worked out that the La Spaz delivers best results with a lower dose at a finer grind and firm tamp, so this is usually the starting point when I try new beans.

    You're right too about the brew methods - this latest batch of beans is going to the office where it will be ok with the aeropress as a long black

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinitasse View Post
    "... During roasting, citric acid reaches a maximum at light to medium roasts, then quickly diminishes as roasting levels progress. A typical medium roast will lose about 50% of its initial citric acid concentration and diminishes further as roasting progresses."
    Thanks for the quote from coffeechemistry - I'm not familiar with this site, I'll have to check it out. The line about citric acid levels during the roasting phases explains a lot - like Chokkidog's comments about 3rd wave roasting. I wouldn't put it down to poor post harvest separation, unless this is a global problem because I've had the same results from beans sourced from India, Indonesia, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala etc..

    It just seems to be trendy at the moment to roast on the lighter side, but I just don't see the attraction..

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    I have been away from the forum for a while and have as a result fallen out of touch with what is happening in the industry.

    It's interesting though, at home after much experimentation, I have more or less settled on the bean blend and roast I like however reading the newspapers I kept being told certain cafes were 'pushing' the boundaries of coffee in Sydney and have been constantly being awarded for doing so. I did, and have repeatedly tried coffees from these places (and note that other new start ups are starting to use these beans) but this discussion talks directly to my experience of those coffees.

    To my mouth, this new wave acid trip everyone is in is just too challenging to my taste buds. Call me traditional but I like a bit of grace these days and not to have to pucker when I enjoy a brew with a friend.

    I don't take milk with my ristrettos but I imagine that those drinks would actually be a bit more interesting and tolerable in this new acid wave, just a thought.

    Great discussion, and feels good to be back.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis View Post
    Now, should we talk about the difference between sour and bitter and the confusion that creates?
    As a Certified Wine Educator I have come across this issue a lot. I must confeess that I really never understood the confusion because, for me, the differences between sourness and bitterness are very clearcut. The answer to your question Dennis is pretty simple. It's all about the taste receptors in your mouth. Acids are perceived by tastebuds on the sides of your tongue whereas bitterness is detected at the back of your tongue, the base of the throat and the roof of the mouth. So, if your palate isn't sensitive enough to differentiate sour vs bitter by taste or feel alone then you should be able to tell them apart by where you feel them.

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    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    If only it were that simple.

    Tongue map - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Pete

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jools View Post
    Hi all,

    I'm hoping someone can help me out here - I've been buying roasted beans from lots of different places - some single origins, some blends. I let people know that I drink a double shot ristretto and ask for bean recommendations. I get the beans home, grind 'em up and pull a shot. The shot looks good so I taste it and it's like I've just sucked on a lemon - there's some coffee taste in there but all I get is this massive spike being driven up through the roof of my mouth.

    I used to think it was because the beans were too fresh so I've waited a few days, a week or two and sometimes the beans have settled down a little but the result is still pretty much the same. I think it's because the beans have been roasted a bit light. The beans I tend to like look obviously darker and have a broader flavour.

    The thing I don't understand is that the beans have come from award-winning roasters and some of the beans have also won awards, so someone somewhere obviously enjoys drinking coffee like this.

    What am I missing? What is so pleasant about sucking on a lemon?
    It's obviously a taste a lot of people enjoy Jools, when I was a kid it was par for the course to serve a slice of lemon with black coffee, something I haven't seen done in a lot of years.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    My question re sour versus bitter was intended to be tongue in cheek.

    As Pete has pointed out more delicately than I, the tongue map is prettying rubbish. Try putting some salt on the top of your tongue and it will still taste salty without a hint of sweetness.

    Oh, and Franco, I think these 'citrus' coffees are even worse with milk. Have you ever tried orange, lemon, grapefruit, in milk? It's awful!

  25. #25
    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Yes... if it only were that simple. To quote directly from the Wiki entry cited above: "So, while some parts of the tongue may be able to detect a taste before the others do, all parts are equally good at conveying the qualia of all tastes." So... to clarify my earlier statement, noting where on your palate you FIRST detect either sour or bitter elements will help provide a clue as to whether it is indeed sour or bitter. In any event, if one's palate isn't able to readily distinguish the sourness of lemon juice from the bitterness of lemon pith then there ain't too much any amount of reading will do to help them. Some people just don't have "it" and never will.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    It's obviously a taste a lot of people enjoy Jools, when I was a kid it was par for the course to serve a slice of lemon with black coffee, something I haven't seen done in a lot of years.
    Espresso with a twist of lemon? Like Serge in Beverly Hills Cop?

    Beverly Hills Cop (2/10) Movie CLIP - Serge & Achmed (1984) HD - YouTube
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    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    As an interesting aside to the sour/bitter discussion; it seems that the taste receptors for these elements are situated
    in such a way to prevent us from swallowing spoiled food (sour) or poisonous plant based food (bitter) by triggering the reflexes
    to expel the offending substance.
    Some interesting reading today also threw light on gender and genetic differences in taste perception.

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    Is there something wrong with my tastebuds?

    Quote Originally Posted by chokkidog View Post
    As an interesting aside to the sour/bitter discussion; it seems that the taste receptors for these elements are situated
    in such a way to prevent us from swallowing spoiled food (sour) or poisonous plant based food (bitter) by triggering the reflexes
    to expel the offending substance.
    Some interesting reading today also threw light on gender and genetic differences in taste perception.
    What about ageing or changes in the pallet as we mature?

  29. #29
    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Sincerely hope you don't have a "pallet" in your mouth... splinters from the timber would be a definite risk

    As for your palate... it can change over the years... with sensitivity diminishing for some, and even improving for others. Smoking, recreational pharmaceuticals, medication and alcohol consumption can impact the palate greatly as well.

  30. #30
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Also let's not forget that not everybody has the same sensitivity to taste. People have varying densities of taste buds and as such there is a huge difference in what people can and can't taste.

    Based on the density of taste buds scientists have come up with 3 different categories of tasters: Super-tasters, normal tasters, and non-tasters. The rough distribution of these in the populace is 25% are super-tasters, 50% are normal tasters, and 25% are non-tasters with more women (35%) being super-tasters than men (15%).

    In general the stronger and more undrinkable one finds grapefruit and lemon juice to be the further they are towards the super-taster end of the spectrum.


    Java "Puckering up and shuddering at the mere thought of drinking lemon or grapefruit juice" phile
    Toys! I must have new toys!!!

  31. #31
    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile View Post
    Also let's not forget that not everybody has the same sensitivity to taste. People have varying densities of taste buds and as such there is a huge difference in what people can and can't taste.

    Based on the density of taste buds scientists have come up with 3 different categories of tasters: Super-tasters, normal tasters, and non-tasters. The rough distribution of these in the populace is 25% are super-tasters, 50% are normal tasters, and 25% are non-tasters with more women (35%) being super-tasters than men (15%).

    In general the stronger and more undrinkable one finds grapefruit and lemon juice to be the further they are towards the super-taster end of the spectrum.


    Java "Puckering up and shuddering at the mere thought of drinking lemon or grapefruit juice" phile
    I am most definitely a "Super-taster" yet, oddly enough, love lemon and, especially, grapefruit juice. One of the most definitive tests for level of palate sensitivity is the almond aroma perception test. To most people the smell of almond is barely discernable, if at all. To a super-taster the smell of almonds is almost over-whelming... in a very nice way

  32. #32
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Adults have between 2,000 and 4,000 taste buds with the sensory cells in each bud renewed weekly.
    A huge range of difference.......therefore Java "that's a lot of sour" phile's 'non-tasters' and 'super-tasters'.

    With a bit of looking around some sites are claiming up to 10,000 but this includes the ones not on your tongue.
    A bit more reading tomorrow.

  33. #33
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    And if you want to find out what your true coffee tasting potential is.......
    BBC - Science & Nature - Human Body and Mind - Test your tastebuds

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    Senior Member insomnispresso's Avatar
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    Very interesting Chok, I predict a new thread with pictures of CSers tounges - competing for the highest count

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    Life-long Learner DesigningByCoffee's Avatar
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    Hi Jools
    I'd agree with Chookidog - with the kit you have collected, your understanding of the process and your past successes, I can't see technique being the main cause. From a home roasting point of view, sour is generally under roasted (unless serious under extracted). I'd try and find a roast / roaster you like and stick with them. :-)
    Shopping around for good browns can can as frustrating as hunting for a good coffee in general - except that if they're not right, you've to put up with many subsequent bad coffees afterwards!
    So - stick with the sublimes ones… or start home roasting!
    Matt

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinitasse View Post
    I am most definitely a "Super-taster" yet, oddly enough, love lemon and, especially, grapefruit juice. One of the most definitive tests for level of palate sensitivity is the almond aroma perception test. To most people the smell of almond is barely discernable, if at all. To a super-taster the smell of almonds is almost over-whelming... in a very nice way
    As with wine and food, I suspect the contribution of the actual taste buds/tongue is minimal - limited to combinations of the 5 primary flavours - but super-tasters will sense sour and bitter more intensely. The real reason some of us get more "taste" out of wine and coffee etc. has more to do with having an excellent olfactory sense than the number of taste buds on our tongue.

  37. #37
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chokkidog View Post
    Adults have between 2,000 and 4,000 taste buds with the sensory cells in each bud renewed weekly.
    A huge range of difference.......therefore Java "that's a lot of sour" phile's 'non-tasters' and 'super-tasters'.

    With a bit of looking around some sites are claiming up to 10,000 but this includes the ones not on your tongue.
    A bit more reading tomorrow.
    They are all over the place; under your tongue, insides of your cheeks, the roof of your mouth, soft palate, the epiglottis,
    the oesophagus and even some salt sensitive ones on your lips!

    And to answer Franco's question about ageing......
    They eventually wear out, gradually disappearing from areas other than the tongue first, then the tongue
    itself. Smoking and scalding liquids will accelerate the rate of demise.
    With the loss of sensitivity can come problems with loss of appetite and good nutrition. Over compensation
    of the loss of taste with excessive sugar or salt will also lead to health issues.

    Above info paraphrased from several sources.
    Last edited by chokkidog; 29th January 2013 at 04:52 PM. Reason: Answer Franco's query

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    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile View Post
    Also let's not forget that not everybody has the same sensitivity to taste. People have varying densities of taste buds and as such there is a huge difference in what people can and can't taste.

    Based on the density of taste buds scientists have come up with 3 different categories of tasters: Super-tasters, normal tasters, and non-tasters. The rough distribution of these in the populace is 25% are super-tasters, 50% are normal tasters, and 25% are non-tasters with more women (35%) being super-tasters than men (15%).

    In general the stronger and more undrinkable one finds grapefruit and lemon juice to be the further they are towards the super-taster end of the spectrum.


    Java "Puckering up and shuddering at the mere thought of drinking lemon or grapefruit juice" phile
    Very true about different people's taste sensations.

    I find lemon rind--particularly when it is thick-- almost sweet, and can eat lemons without puckering. Orange rind definitely sweet. But when peeling an orange for my wife, I must remove all traces of white because to her it is sour.

    Most people including me, love cherries, but my daughter hates them. What person could hate the taste of a sweet cherry?

    I love the texture and taste of prickly pear. No-one else I know does...

    The old one man's meat is another's.....

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinitasse View Post
    I am most definitely a "Super-taster" yet, oddly enough, love lemon and, especially, grapefruit juice. One of the most definitive tests for level of palate sensitivity is the almond aroma perception test. To most people the smell of almond is barely discernable, if at all. To a super-taster the smell of almonds is almost over-whelming... in a very nice way
    There are objective tests that can demonstrate a "super-taster", which in context means someone with higher than normal bitter receptors.
    Have you done a PROP test?
    If grapefruit juice isn't overwhelmingly bitter to you, then you likely aren't a "super-taster" in this context.

    I imagine that people who are rated highly at tasting have a higher than average number of all taste receptors rather than an excess of bitter receptors that would overwhelm other taste sensations.
    A heightened sense of smell would also be beneficial as much of what we deem as "taste" is actually smell.

  40. #40
    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by taco View Post
    There are objective tests that can demonstrate a "super-taster", which in context means someone with higher than normal bitter receptors.
    Have you done a PROP test?
    If grapefruit juice isn't overwhelmingly bitter to you, then you likely aren't a "super-taster" in this context.

    I imagine that people who are rated highly at tasting have a higher than average number of all taste receptors rather than an excess of bitter receptors that would overwhelm other taste sensations.
    A heightened sense of smell would also be beneficial as much of what we deem as "taste" is actually smell.
    In whose context are you citing? In my context a super-taster is a person with a far greater than average density of tastebuds and olfactory receptors throughout the palate. As a wine-maker, certified Sommelier and Certified Wine Educator my palate has been tested and even calibrated at numerous tasting and judging events... and... I still love grapefruit juice

    And... FWIW... yes... I do readily detect 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP) on those nasty little paper strips that are used. However, having said that, just because a person is hyper-aware of ALL the flavour elements... including bitterness... does not mean they can not be enjoyed. I love my beers full of IBUs as much as I like my grapefuit juice. I am attracted to bitterness... not repelled by it.
    Last edited by Vinitasse; 30th January 2013 at 04:47 PM.

  41. #41
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    I started my obsession with fine wine as a young man about 40 years ago.
    I have always considered that my 'palate' was about average and that training and education was what allows some people to achieve a high level of discrimination with wine. I felt my palate was at the peak of it's powers when I was drinking a lot of varied wine regularly and thinking about what I was drinking.
    I believe that my perception of taste has changed markedly in my later years and I now find I am increasingly intolerant of acid in wine, particularly white wines. I noticed this a decade ago when I got into coffee in a serious way, consequently my favourite beans have low acidity.
    Its about perception, and it's also about preference, and I think there are probably metabolic changes that happen as we age that are also involved.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinitasse View Post
    In whose context are you citing? In my context a super-taster is a person with a far greater than average density of tastebuds and olfactory receptors throughout the palate. As a wine-maker, certified Sommelier and Certified Wine Educator my palate has been tested and even calibrated at numerous tasting and judging events... and... I still love grapefruit juice

    And... FWIW... yes... I do readily detect 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP) on those nasty little paper strips that are used. However, having said that, just because a person is hyper-aware of ALL the flavour elements... including bitterness... does not mean they can not be enjoyed. I love my beers full of IBUs as much as I like my grapefuit juice. I am attracted to bitterness... not repelled by it.
    Use Google and you will discover that the term "super-taster" has a specific meaning relating to the ability to taste PROP. It may not be the best name for it as research into human variation of taste appears to be in its infancy and it appears to have been the first testable difference that showed a wide natural variation. Perhaps there will be better terms to describe the different types of taste sensitivity as they are discovered in the future.

    I'll accept that you can probably taste bitter and other flavours better than I can, but I still won't understand why you think the taste of bitter is nice if you are that sensitive to it.

  43. #43
    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by taco View Post
    I'll accept that you can probably taste bitter and other flavours better than I can, but I still won't understand why you think the taste of bitter is nice if you are that sensitive to it.
    Why do some people like have their bottoms paddled by buxom women dressed up in nazi uniforms? Who knows why... it just is what it is and... quite frankly... it really doesn't matter if YOU understand why I happen to enjoy bitterness... the only person who needs to understand the WHY of it is me.

  44. #44
    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by taco View Post
    Use Google and you will discover that the term "super-taster" has a specific meaning relating to the ability to taste PROP.
    I think you will also find that your preferred definition of "super-taster" is but one of many that Mr Google comes up with.



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