Have you ever looked at the tasting notes on coffee labels, seen things like “lavender infused chocolate” – and thought, “Yeah Right!”. I just taste COFFEE in my COFFEE!
The creativity of these tasting notes is partly what makes it quite intimidating, as if one needs years of sniffing, swirling & slurping to come close to be able to sense exotic flavors in coffee. And while years of practice will definitely train your palate well, if you start paying attention to the smells & tastes of your daily cup of coffee, you will surprise yourself in a few weeks on what your palate is able to identify!
Here are some quick things you can do with your daily cup to identify the tasting notes better:
1. SHAKE AND SMELL
Once you grind the coffee, shake it a bit and smell the aroma that gets released. Outside of the coffee smell, try to focus on what other smells you get. Is it sweet? Is it nutty? Fruity? Most of the flavor observed in a coffee is a result of aromatic compounds present in the coffee, and because our sense of taste and smell are so connected, this really helps.
2. SLURP A BIT WHILE DRINKING
Once you brew the coffee & it cools a bit, take a spoon (a soup spoon would be the easiest), and try to “slurp” the coffee in, to make it aspirate over the entire tongue. Just for a few spoonfuls, but you’ll be able to sense the flavors stronger than when you drink it regularly.
3. COMPARE SIDE BY SIDE
If possible, try to do it side by side with two (or more) coffees. In the beginning, it’s really hard to sense, for e.g, “jasmine” in coffee, but you might start to realize one’s sweeter than the other, or just more floral than the other – and so on!