Latest Posts

  1. All About Coffee Brewing

    All About Coffee Brewing

    Sign up for our coffee brewing crash course

    Read More
  2. Espresso Basics & More

    Espresso Basics & More

    Sign up for our espresso basics class

    Read More
  3. Coffee Tasting At Sweet Maria's - Feb. 28th

    Coffee Tasting At Sweet Maria's - Feb. 28th

    Sign up and taste the difference between coffees roasted in different machines

    Read More
  4. Coffee Tasting at Sweet Maria's - Nov. 16th

    Coffee Tasting at Sweet Maria's - Nov. 16th

    Sign up for our upcoming tasting event.

    Read More
  5. What The He — Is Jasmine?

    What The He — Is Jasmine?

    So, what is the taste and smell of jasmine? Yirgacheffes often have the most clear-cut jasmine notes of any coffee, but...

    Read More
  6. Bright Coffee

    Bright Coffee

    Here's a few coffees with exciting, snappy, zingy, citrusy, tart, vibrant notes

    Read More
  7. Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate...

    Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate...

    A few coffees where chocolate notes take the spotlight.

    Read More
  8. Sugar Cupping Part 2 -- Rough outline

    Sugar Cupping Part 2 -- Rough outline

    This is a very educational exercise you can easily try at home.

    Read More
  9. Sugar Cupping

    Sugar Cupping

    Sometimes tasting something that isn't coffee can help you learn more about what your coffee tastes like.

    Read More
  10. Taste and Price: When Values Shift

    Taste and Price: When Values Shift

    I recently caught glimpse of this and found it very thought-provoking.

    Read More
  11. Taste and Price: When Values Shift - DUPLICATE

    Taste and Price: When Values Shift - DUPLICATE

    Read More
  12. Podcast:More About Coffee Lexicons

    Podcast:More About Coffee Lexicons

    Cupping and talking about the taste lexicon of coffee with Tom and Chris Schooley

    Read More

Taste Testing

Taste Testing

There are a number of flavors that can found in a cup of coffee. Read the coffee reviews on this site and you'll see the mention of various types of nut, fruit, cookie/biscuit, etc. etc. These flavors are the result of the presense of organic acids and compounds and certain chemical and physical changes that happen during growing, harvesting, processing, and roasting.

One of the best ways to teach yourself to be able to discern these various flavors is to sit down to some very purposeful tastings where you can compare and document the differences and similarities between 3 or more types of nut, or apples to oranges to apricots, or even apples of different varieties.

Today I am going to start a regular blog feature where I will do some of these tests and document my findings. I'll look at 3 or more items and compare their sweetness, fattiness/mouthfeel, and acidity or astringency. I'll also talk about some other foods where these similar flavor descriptors might be found, and list some coffees that have those flavor attributes. I encourage everyone to mimic these tests and/or to do their own and pretty please post their findings over in the Sweet maria's Forum.

There's some greater detail about learning to taste in the Teaching to Taste article in the Sweet Maria's Library, found here -

Todays tasting will be: Almonds, Peanuts, & Walnuts

I've chosen 3 types of nut/legume, roasted and NOT salted. Nuts/Legumes are astringent foods, and when used as a descriptor in another product is usually accompanied by a dry or astringent mouthfeel.

- Almond: sweetest out of the 3, a bit of fattiness and dryness in the aftertaste, but in tasting the familiar almond flavor it's hard not to think about cakes. There is a liquor-like quality to the sweetness that isn't as pronounced in the other 2 nuts here. There's more flavor throughout the palate as well. The Java Sunda Pitaloka has some toasted almond notes at most roast levels from City through Full City:

- Peanut: This is the fattiest of the 3 with a creamy mouthfeel and long lasting aftertastes. There is a sugary sweetness underneath all the fattiness, more sugary than liquor-like. One thing that the fattiness really counters is the dryness. There is a much less bittering dryness in the peanut compared to the other 2 nuts. Coffees from Brazil can frequently have some sweet peanut flavors and attributes:

- Walnut: Easily the driest of the three nuts. The depth of flavor is also the lightest, as well as the sweetness. That dryness really takes on a presence though. There may be little aftertaste, but the dryness lingers for some time. Dryness like this can really help accentuate certain acidities though. Walnut-like dryness paired with an apricot-like acidity could really pronounce that stone fruit sweetness. There is more of a siltiness to the mouthfeel as well, some of the liquor-like qualities found in the almond, but not with the same depth. The Java Pitaloka has a nice walnut type nuttinessas well, and coffees from Colombia can show some of that bracing dry walnut-like acidity: