So what’s up with our flavor notes with each coffee that we roast? I’ll be honest, I can get a bit conflicted about this subject. On one hand, I believe it is an interesting piece of information that is nice to have when selecting or purchasing a coffee. On the other hand, it can confuse people who aren’t that serious about coffee, sometimes alienating them or making them feel awkward asking questions about our flavor descriptors. Since we strive to be inclusive for all types of coffee drinkers, you can see why this could be somewhat conflicting to me. As one of the people here at Euphoria Coffee who roasts, cups, and eventually comes up with these descriptors, I don’t take this lightly. But, in reality, I don’t expect every one of our customers to take our flavor notes super serious either. And here’s why –
Now, why are flavor descriptors important in coffee? To expand on my earlier thought about all coffee tasting like coffee, let’s just say I give you 5 different cups of coffee, each one brewed with a different, unflavored coffee. They will all taste like coffee, but they will most likely all taste slightly different as well – here’s where our flavor notes come in! Our flavor notes are a description of what we taste in a particular coffee BEYOND the initial basic coffee taste.
How can you use flavor notes/descriptors when deciding which coffee to buy? Keep it general – think about basic flavors that you are familiar with. Most coffee is a mixture of sweet, acidic, and fruity flavors. If the bag says oranges, you will know that this coffee, just like orange juice, might be slightly sweet and probably acidic. If it says grape, it will probably taste like some sort of sweet fruit sauce that you’ve had before. Keep it simple, and ask questions often!
Want to take it to the next level? First I’ll try to keep this as simple as possible. – everyone’s tounge can only taste 5 basic flavors – sweet, sour, bitter, savory and salty. That’s all. But your brain is smart enough to take each combination of flavors and say, “since this has X% sweet, Y% sour, and Z% salty, I must be eating an apple. This is why you can have a coffee that has a combination of flavors that taste excatly like carmelized apples. But not everyone is, or should be, thinking this critically about thier coffee every time they drink it. But, if you want to try it, next time you drink some good coffee, just take a sip, close your eyes, and write down the first taste that comes to your mind. It can be super general, like sweet, sour, etc, or it can be as complicated as you like, such as carmalized apples, fresh peaches, etc. Repeating this process over and over will develop you palate. I do this, and it is a great help in understanding all things culinary, including cooking stews and soups, making sauces, grilling, etc, and of course, coffee.
Happy brewing and tasting –