Describing the way our coffees taste.

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When coffee is roasted lightly, as ours is, it gives the flavours in the coffee more of a chance to shine. That means that each coffee on our coffee menu can treat you to a whole different taste sensation. Here’s an example:

Pact Coffee Finca la Joyeria

Obviously the way we taste things is really subjective. Flavours can depend on how you brew your coffee, how strong you make it and even the type of water that comes our of your taps. But Will (our Head of Coffee) likes to give you an idea of the flavours you might be able to pick up from our different coffees. He comes up with these descriptions by doing a cupping for all of our coffees…

What is cupping?
‘Cupping’ is a fancy word for the tasting process, which is in reality very simple to do. It needs to be kept simple so it can be done anywhere in the world (from coffee farm to coffee shop) and produce consistent results. All you need is a soup spoon, and to take big loud slurps of coffee. This lets the liquid cover the inside of your entire mouth, including the taste buds and nasal cavity, so you can fully experience the flavour.

What are the key things Will looks at when he’s cupping?
It may sound weird but this is not what happens on your tongue (that’s taste) but what happens in the space behind your nose. Flavour is usually delicate and can be things like raspberries, chocolate, hazelnuts or it can even be floral.
Sweetness – The sensation of sweetness on the tongue, which can remind you of lots of different things; white refined sugar, brown sugar, fruit sugars.
Acidity – This actually has nothing to do with the pH of the coffee, but refers to the tangy, fruity, brightness that creates complex tastes in the coffee.
Mouthfeel – Describes the way a coffee would move or dance in your mouth, e.g. coating, juicy, tea-like, heavy, round, light.

Where does Will go from there?
Let’s say the flavours Will gets are of dark chocolate and cherry and he finds the acidity is grape-like and the sweetness syrupy. He’ll think of something that encapsulates all those things, in this case, a chocolate cherry liqueur. It’s not that the coffee tastes exactly like a chocolate cherry liqueur, or that it’s been flavoured with it even. Will just hopes that by suggesting that taste sensation, he’ll help you tap into what might be going on on your tongue…

What do you think?
We’ve asked quite a few customers what they think of the way we put together our flavour notes and they seem pretty popular, if allusive at times. But if you have any thoughts or feedback on how we do what we do, please do feel free to leave a comment below…

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