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Thread: Improving my tastebuds!

  1. #1
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    Improving my tastebuds!

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi there- first post too, though more to come.

    Background is that I started work experience at a place in adelaide about a year ago now- and it was also the first time I've really started drinking coffee. Now I love the stuff, but I've hit a bit of a brick wall in improving my skills, and that is my ability to taste.

    Now, this isn't talking about burnt coffees and the like- it's my ability to properly interpret the flavours. I can pick up a citrusy aroma, but I have a feeling it's also that I've been drinking the same beans for the last year (5 senses).

    Firstly, I have mild athsma, and issues with my nose that impede my olfactory senses. Secondly, a diet of potato chips through year 12 and... other times... may have also impeded my tongue- I'm not sure, I'm hoping I can heal those tastebuds, but acid's not good for them, I think.

    At the moment, I'm picking apart and making the best ristrettos I can, tasting, and then seeing if a long black will help me to interpret the flavours- I can see what's going on, if that makes sense- but I don't know what the flavours are of what I'm tasting- ie, interpreting chocolatey, citrusy etc.


    So I'm asking in help to perhaps assist in the furthering of my knowledge on the subject, and improving my taste. As good as my google-fu could be, I feel that I'm looking for a more specific knowledge base.

    thanks,

    Stephen
    Barry O'Speedwagon likes this.

  2. #2
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    Cracking first post! I'll hang around and wait for the answers with you....

    Some specifics/ know how on the development of palate would be really useful.
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    Hi Q.....Welcome to CS!

    Everyone who loves coffee ( or wine ) would love to be not only a super taster but have a huge library of

    tastes, the ability to recall them and the vocabulary to describe them.

    Unfortunately, people with a high count of taste buds are few and far between so the rest have to make do with what they have.

    The best way to educate your palate is by experiencing as many different foods as you can. Being methodical will help.

    Training your palate is as much about training your mind and memory as anything else; over our lifetime we would have tasted and smelt a wide range of things

    both good and bad! The ability to recall them accurately is something else altogether.

    But there are things you can do, for instance:

    Buy apples of several varieties, take them home, peel some and compare how the peel tastes and smells

    eat the apples with and without peel, compare taste, smell, sweetness and acidity. Fresh in season and cool store. Granny Smith,

    Red Delicious and Gala Do this with other fruits. With milk chocolate, 70%, 80 % cocoa dark chocolate. Eat some good quality cocoa.

    Melt brown sugar in some water, smell and taste it. ..... strawberries and yoghurt and (cream); mix blueberries and chocolate........the list goes on and on.....

    When you start with coffee, cupping or pour over roasts is where to begin, before things become obscured with roastiness.

    More developed roasts are mostly ( but not always ) in the cocoa, choc, malt, caramel, nut spectrum.

    There are some other threads to read on CS as well....... use the search bar.

    i.e. palate, tastebuds =

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/general-co...tml#post490625
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    One thing I noticed with whisky - your olfactory sense picks up more aromas from things in your mouth.. it sounds weird. But next time you have coffee or wine or a dark spirit, or even food in your mouth try closing your mouth and exhaling slowly and deliberately through your nose. if you lower your tongue and create a space inside your mouth while you do it it will allow more air to circulate around whatever you're trying to taste and some of that will inevitably end up going back into your wind pipe and through your nose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by simulacrum View Post
    One thing I noticed with whisky - your olfactory sense picks up more aromas from things in your mouth.. it sounds weird. But next time you have coffee or wine or a dark spirit, or even food in your mouth try closing your mouth and exhaling slowly and deliberately through your nose. if you lower your tongue and create a space inside your mouth while you do it it will allow more air to circulate around whatever you're trying to taste and some of that will inevitably end up going back into your wind pipe and through your nose.
    Excellent point! REALLY tasting anything takes some degree of discipline, to take the time to experience each mouthful slowly and consider all that it is through various movements. Chewing thoroughly, even if its a liquid will activate the olfactory, I love letting a great espresso roll around and coat all the insides of my mouth.

    I cant remember where I heard it, but the recipe for happy life = the 3 Ms, Mastication, Masterbation, Meditation .

  6. #6
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    Aaaah...... That's why I'm only ever 66.6% happy.




    And.... is anyone else going to say it?

  7. #7
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    Alright. Here goes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve82 View Post
    the 3 Ms, Mastication, Masterbation, Meditation .
    The most important thing in masturbation is "u".

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    Quote Originally Posted by shortblackman View Post
    Aaaah...... That's why I'm only ever 66.6% happy.




    And.... is anyone else going to say it?
    Not a fan of meditation?

  9. #9
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    You have chosen correctly.

  10. #10
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    I'm not an expert but I have found that the more involved you are in the whole process the better you will be able to differentiate the flavours.
    Firstly, when roasting the coffee you can pick up different nuances in the roasting process.
    Then when cupping, by taking care in all the steps of grinding, good temperature water, being precise.
    And finally, when cupping, follow the process and before you take each sip make sure you know what you are looking for . For example, if I am cupping a roast in my first sip I look for the acidity specifically, then body in the second and so on. Doing this stops all the flavours getting muddled up.

  11. #11
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    Wow, simulacrum! Not sure who taught you that but I was drinking a coffee while reading this and I tried it, totally opened up flavours that weren't there just smelling or tasting. I also need to develop my palate as I've started roasting on a more serious level, but like the OP I have smelling issues ...working in the petroleum business and as a mechanic seemingly killed lots of my smell-a-bility. Great advice above. "Honey, I need to buy chocolate, blueberries, cream and whisky...to be a better roaster..."

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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by prloring View Post
    Wow, simulacrum! Not sure who taught you that but I was drinking a coffee while reading this and I tried it, totally opened up flavours that weren't there just smelling or tasting. I also need to develop my palate as I've started roasting on a more serious level, but like the OP I have smelling issues ...working in the petroleum business and as a mechanic seemingly killed lots of my smell-a-bility.
    It's something I've been doing while eating for as long as i can remember... remember my parent's teasing me for making funny noises while eating as a child. It's only when I got into whisky and started thinking more about the way I taste that I realised why I had developed the habit and how different things taste when I don't exhale!


    Great advice above. "Honey, I need to buy chocolate, blueberries, cream and whisky...to be a better roaster..."
    Haha! Happy to provide whisky recommendations too!


    Just noticed someone mentioned supertasters. In my view "supertasting" is overrated.. probably 90% of what we think of when we talk about "taste" is actually "smell". Pure taste is just a combination of sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami.. "hot" (as in chilli pepper) can arguably be added. But that's a combination of only 6 possible sensations in various proportions. The olfactory sense on the other hand is able to distinguish hundreds of thousands of distinct flavours/aromas and god only knows how many possible combinations.

    I saw a test of some certified supertasters, tasting various purees while blindfolded with a clip on their nose. No one could determine what they were tasting.. they could get as far as "fruit" because they could tell it was sweet and sour, or vegetable if it was a bit more mild, but it wasn't until the nose clips came off that they were able to identify instantly the difference between strawberry or raspberry, and cauliflower or broccoli. This is another interesting experiment you can try, which will help you conceptualise the difference between your tastebuds and your olfactory senses.. try making purees of identical texture from a few fruits and vegetables, then try tasting them with your nose well blocked (you shouldn't be able to push/pull any air through it no matter how hard you try. If you can get someone else (someone you trust!) to feed you with your eyes closed without telling you what it is you're tasting, to eliminate cognitive bias, it would be even better.



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