Thursday, November 03, 2005

Brewing & Tasting Coffee...

Here are a few guidelines to help when you're brewing coffee. Keep in mind that the more water you add, the "weaker" your coffee will be. It is best to experiment to find the strength that suites individual taste.

The fine grind is important to the full-bodied Coffee taste. Up to a point, the finer you grind the coffee, the more coffee surface area is exposed to the hot water, providing a higher level of extraction of coffee solids. In short, a fine grind offers more body and flavor in the cup from a given amount of coffee.

Ideally, you should pour your coffee into an airtight thermos as soon as it has brewed through. Generally an insulated thermos can keep coffee perfect for up to 4 hours. If you warm your coffee on a burner, the flavor and aroma will generally begin to deteriorate after 30 minutes.

Tasting Coffee

The method for tasting coffee to evaluate its quality is called "cupping." Cupping uses three forms of sensory evaluation: Aroma (Olfaction); Taste (Gustation); and Body (Mouthfeel).

Aroma is based on four categories:

1. Fragrance - How the dry coffee smells: floral or spicy.
2. Aroma - How the brewed coffee smells: fruity or herbal.
3. Nose - How the brewed coffee smells when it wafts from your tongue to your nose: nutty, caramel-like or malt-like.
4. Aftertaste - What remains on your palate after you swallow the coffee: a chocolate flavor, spicy or piney.

Taste has four basic descriptions:

1. Sweet
2. Salt
3. Sour
4. Bitter

Body has three descriptions:

1. Watery
2. Creamy
3. Heavy

The Six Coffee Tastes

There are six primary coffee tastes, which are produced when sweet, salt, and sour interact.

1. Acidity -- a lively, tangy, palate-cleansing quality
2. Mellow
3. Wine
4. Bland
5. Sharp
6. Sour

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