Tasting and describing coffee is a fun and curious thing. I usually just try to go with my instincts on this. I taste a coffee, and then I kind of let that taste and aroma experience bounce around my head until something comes out. Sometimes my reaction is immediate, sometimes I take a little while to zero in on exactly the sort of experience it's like.
Of course, the path to understanding a coffee is affected by what I know about it – it's origin, how the roaster has described it, and who has actually roasted it can all affect my perception of these aromas and tastes. Brazil coffees for example – as I have on this episode – I'm often on the lookout for nuttiness because this is not uncommon in Brazil coffees. I had a fantastic Brazil last year which was like chocolate peanut butter cups (in the most glorious way possible).
So when I approach a Brazil I do end up on the lookout for those aromas and tastes – I don't think it can be helped.
Similarly, when I get a description of a coffee – the one in this video has tasting notes of Pomegranate, Cherry, and Jasmine – that affects my perspective also. Suggestion is very powerful when it comes to taste in coffee. This is because there are so many different tastes that can be discovered, and the combination of different taste elements can create multiple interpretations. We also all have our own perspective on taste in life, and that affects things.
I should say that I don't think any of this is bad. Actually, I think having a great description of the coffee on the bag is a fantastic thing – not only for selling the coffee (so the customer has an idea of what they are getting), but I think even more importantly for guiding the experience that we have when we drink that particular coffee. If you were to give me a bag of coffee with zero description and no information on what it is or where it's from, it would probably take me much longer to come to an understanding (I think – maybe I would surprise myself though). For the average coffee drinker anyways, I think it's very supportive to the experience to have a suggestion of what can be expected because at the very least you can look for those tastes and affirm that's what they are like in coffee.
Anyhow, I hope you enjoy this week's episode. At this particular point you can't get the coffee I've shared in the show, but if I know a roaster that picks it up, I'll do an update.