There is a way to drink coffee and it’s not just gulping it down in the morning before you rush to work. These four steps will introduce you to the art of enjoying coffee.
Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, some say second only to water. With companies like Starbucks popping up on nearly every street corner and other companies adding gourmet coffee to their menus it’s a sure bet that this is a drink that is here to stay.
When you have that first cup in the morning do you enjoy the flavor? Do you gently inhale the aroma that wafts from the steam coming from the surface of the strong brew? Or do you simply gulp it down while shouting at the kids to get in the minivan and looking for your car keys?
In this day and age it’s getting harder and harder to take a few seconds to enjoy a good cup of coffee. This article will show you how to sit back, relax and really enjoy that cup of coffee.
The Four Steps to tasting a great cup of coffee
There are four distinct steps, what I like to call the four S’s (pronounced “esses”) of coffee tasting and they are as follows:
When it comes to tasting coffee, the first thing to pay attention to is the aroma which obviously means the way a coffee smells.
When you smell coffee, do you just smell… coffee? If you do then you’re missing out on all the nuances a coffee’s aroma truly has. Before you take that first sip of coffee, cup your hand over it and take a good whiff of it. Really open up your nostrils and use your lungs. What do you smell besides coffee? You might notice a lemony or citrusy undertone, indicating that the coffee is probably from an African region. Perhaps it has an herbal aroma to it, signifying an Asian origin.
Now take a nice big slurp from the cup but don’t swallow. This allows the aroma to mix in with your taste buds by keeping your nasal passages open. Slurping the coffee allows it to spray across your entire palate, ensuring that the subtle flavors and aromas reach all the tasting zones of your tongue.
When slurping your coffee, two terms you should be familiar with is acidity and body.
Acidity refers to the cleansing feeling on your palette when you sip something. High acidity coffees are referred to as “bright” and “tangy” and low acidity coffees are often referred to as “smooth” and the flavor tends to linger on the tip and sides of your tongue where acidity is felt. To give an example with other drinks, orange juice has high acidity, maple syrup does not.
Acidity and Body are two terms that go together. Body refers to the “weight” of the coffee. Does it feel heavy or light in your mouth? Does the flavor linger? These are questions to answer when considering the body of the coffee.
Now that you have the coffee in your mouth, go ahead and swish it around, covering the entire inside. What part of your tongue is getting the most stimulation? The bitter zone at the back sides? The sweet spot in the middle? What flavors and aromas are evoked?
Now you can swallow, letting the coffee slide down your throat and filling you with true pleasure.
There are many more factors to consider when tasting coffee but for full enjoyment of the coffee the four S’s will not lead you down the wrong path.
Published in: Cooking