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 - www.sweetmarias.com/library/node/2931

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: www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.indonesia.java.php

- 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:  www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.southamr.brazil.php

- 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: www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.southamr.colombia.php