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A cup of present

A quick note on coffee tasting.


Coffee is often tied to energy and productivity. However, the drink itself contains a wide range of characteristics that are waiting for you to explore. Most people would say that all coffee tastes the same while some would point out that this coffee tastes like fruit and this coffee tastes like chocolate or nut. So is it true or do they just make it up to sound cool? It's confusing to say that the fact is both sides are right.

On one hand, coffee tastes the same to most people because after all, it's coffee. It's obvious to say that an apple tastes like an apple and it's impossible to expect someone to say it tastes like chocolate. When you drink coffee for the benefit of being awake and pumped-up to work, or as a side drink when you are having a conversation with your friends and colleagues, you often ignore how it tastes, unless there is something wrong like too bitter or too watery. Everybody has been in this situation and there is nothing wrong with it.

On the other hand, if you believe that different wines taste differently because of the variety of grapes and the brewing process, then guess what, it's the same with coffee. Depending on the plant's variety, soil, climate, processing method, roasting, and brewing technique, you will find different tastes in your final cup of coffee, ranging from caramel to mandarin or jasmine tea. It's funny to say that people drink coffee to find the tastes that are not coffee... then why bother drinking coffee? Why don't you go eat that mandarin or drink that jasmine tea that you find in your coffee instead? After 3 years of a deeper interest in coffee, I have come to a realization that coffee lovers try to find different flavors OTHER THAN coffee in their cups, instead of finding non-coffee flavors. It might sound the same but the focus is totally different. One is to deny the major flavor and force the mind to think that this brown liquid tastes like something else, while the other means accepting the obvious and trying to dig deeper to find out what the beans have to offer. It's always fun whether we succeed or not. The more complex and pleasant notes are presented in the cup, the more interesting the coffee.

So how do we find those sophisticated flavor notes? There is a common practice that you can apply. When you drink coffee, the sensations (smell, taste, and feel) it introduces can remind you of something familiar that you have tasted in the past. It can be something from yesterday's dessert or dated back to your childhood. For example, when you smell a freshly ground light roasted Guatemalan coffee, you may notice it feels like the aroma of fresh citrus fruit and some kinds of flower, as opposed to a dark roasted Brazilian coffee which feels more chocolaty, nutty, and a lot bolder. In my case, lychee is one of my favorite fruits, but I haven't eaten it for a long time so I forgot its flavor. When I drink a dark roast from Ethiopia, there is always this sensation of fruit that lingers, I just cannot find a word to describe it. This continued until one day I got a can of lychee, and then a few days later I drank that dark roast Ethiopian coffee again. Everything has changed. Now all I can think of when drinking that coffee is a strong sense of lychee. However, it doesn't work the same with the lighter roast of the same coffee... strange, isn't it? My case doesn't necessarily work for you, since everyone is raised differently and has different experiences culturally and personally throughout our lives. Your taste buds are distinctive and unique to you, although we can all train our sense of taste and agree on the taste to a certain degree. Therefore, there is no right or wrong when it comes to tasting, especially for your own enjoyment, just have fun and explore. An easy way to speed up this process is to taste two or three different coffees at the same time.

Next time you drink your coffee, take a moment to slow down, be present, and enjoy the Sensation it brings to you, even if you only have a short time. It takes only a few seconds to Breathe and enjoy the aroma of the coffee coming from your freshly poured cup before you go back to your desk and continue your work. You might find peace and joy in the little things (brewing and drinking coffee) and maybe realize some amazing flavors in the drink that you have never noticed before. After that, you can say for yourself that coffees don't taste the same. In case you are curious, we have picked a combo of 6 Origins coffee (from Africa to Central America, to Asia), which is only available via our online store for you to explore with your peers at a special price.

- Long Nguyen -

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