5 Big Tastes to Explore in Gourmet Coffee

May 05, 2010


Drinking gourmet coffee from great coffee roasters like ours, you'll experience a much wider variety of aromas and flavors than when drinking a standard cup of Joe from your neighborhood bodega.



Keep your tastebuds tuned to 5 specific tastes in gourmet coffee.



Actually keep your nose tuned too.  Aroma has a lot to do with what you taste.



Earthinessis pretty easy to taste.  It will taste like you're on a volcano.  Or you just bit into Peat Moss, but in a good way (if that's possible).  Like you're in a forest.  Earthiness.  Sumatran and other Indonesian coffees are famous for it.  Once you taste it, it's pretty easy to identify again and again.   If it were a musical instrument it would be a Tuba.



Brightness is also called Acidity.  You might called it citrusy.  You'll taste a kind of bite in the back of your tongue like if you squirted lemon juice into your mouth.    If it's too acidic and tastes like a cup of vinegar then.....you got a cup of Java from your local gas station so don't blame us.   Some of the best coffees in the world from Ethiopia, Kenya, Panama, and Central America will have a citrusy bite.  It adds color and texture.  If it were a musical insrtument it would be a flute.  It's a feature not a bug!



Chocolate and its closely related bar mates Caramel, Molasses, Syrup.    This is often a feature of dark-roasted coffee.  Or espresso.  It tastes like you're drinking some syrup, or some chocolate.  Funny thing is that since Chocolate and Coffee are both the pods of fruits / berries that are dried, roasted, and ground, you're really just getting the toasted-organic-matter taste.  You might as well say that chocolate has a coffee taste as you would that coffee has chocolate taste.  That's what dark roasting does.  



Berries.  And by this I mean strawberry, blueberry, and I've even heard one coffee geek call it gooseberries.  (Not sure that was a compliment to the coffee).  In an Ethiopian Amaro Gayo for example it's unmistakable.   It will have an aroma and taste like you're in a blueberry shrub.  No kidding.  Once you've locked your buds onto this taste once it sticks with you forever.



Nut, and coffee geeks even distinguish between walnut, peanut and other nuts.  It's a fleeting quiet note of nut.  I haven't tried a coffee that tasted like peanut butter (unless it was flavored).  But there's a minor nut note to many coffees.  Maybe because nuts, like coffee, are often roasted.   Chemists might call it the caramelization of some carbohydrates in the beans as in nuts.  But it's a nice slight touch.  



So the "big" flavors that l notice right away (and you may too) are Earthiness, Citrus and chocolate.   After that there's the wonderful berry and nut flavors sometimes in coffees too.  



 You really have to listen for these flavors.  Educate your palate.  If like me, you're drinking 500 cups of this over the course of a year, you might as well get some enjoyment out of it!



 



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