Musing on Coffee Tasting

We’ve been tasting a lot of coffee in the past week or two.  We have a a couple new crops coming online.  When the crop year changes, we need to adjust our roast profiles for the annual variation of characteristics.  We roast and compare new crop to old crop on the same profile, and we tweak profiles until we arrive at a cup that we settle on for production.

Randy and I have been enjoying coffee tasting together for over 6 years.  We have formalized the process, but we don’t call it “cupping” because, for really good reasons, we don’t follow the that process.  Instead we developed our own tasting protocol that helps us explore our experience. Here are some of our interesting findings.

Tasting is Perception

Over the years we have noticed that I frequently identify almond in the coffee while Randy identifies vanilla, or I find basmati and Randy finds coconut.  When mentioned each of us can see the other. 
 
It is not being suggestible, it is a change in perception.  Like when looking at the “My Wife and My Mother-in-Law” cartoon and it suddenly changes from the young woman to the old woman and back.
 
Tasting is like that.  By changing perception, the same characteristics in the cup might present a different picture. 

… to be continued

Cartoonist William Ely Hill published 'My Wife and My Mother-in-Law' in the magazine Puck in November 1915 with the caption 'They are both in this picture — Find them.'

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