Sunday, August 19, 2012

Coffee Tasting 101

It's raining heavily outside, whether you are at the comforts of your home or busy with work, the nicest companion would be that warm cup of beverage that will complement the mood.  For many, it will be 'coffee'.  So for non-coffee drinkers, you may opt to continue reading or not (but I hope you do, eheee).  I was able to gather bits in pieces of nice-to-know things about coffee and memories of my previous stint to judge a coffee making competition came.

The peg was 1598 when the word in reference to coffee was used in the English language.  The word is derived from the Ottoman Turkish 'kahve' also related to the Italian word 'caffe'.

COFFEE HISTORY (captured from coffee
The favorite bedtime story about the origin of coffee goes like this: Once upon a time in the land of Arabia Felix (or in Ethiopia, if an Ethiopian is telling the story), there lived a goatherd named Kaldi. Kaldi was a sober, responsible goatherd whose goats were also sober, if not responsible. One night, Kaldi's goats failed to come home, and in the morning he found them dancing with abandoned glee near a shiny, dark-leafed shrub with red berries. Kaldi soon determined that it was the red berries on the shiny, dark-leafed shrub that caused the goats' eccentric behavior, and soon he was dancing too.
Finally, a learned imam from a local monastery came by, sleepily, no doubt, on his way to prayer. He saw the goats dancing, Kaldi dancing, and the shiny, dark-leafed shrub with the red berries. Being of a more systematic turn of mind than the goats or Kaldi, the learned imam subjected the red berries to various experimental examinations, one of which involved parching and boiling. Soon, neither the imam nor his fellows fell asleep at prayers, and the use of coffee spread from monastery to monastery, throughout Arabia Felix (or Ethiopia), and from there to the rest of the world.

As I mentioned, I am not expert.  My weekly limit for coffee is one (1) cup in a week since I am battling an acid bout ehe... but Knowing a good coffee taste need not come from an addict. I was able to get this quick guide.  So next time you take that cup of coffee, do it like an expert and check for the following:
Taste those high, thin notes, the dryness the coffee leaves at the back of your palate and under the edges of your tongue? This pleasant tartness, snap, or twist, combined with an underlying sweetness, is what coffee people call acidity. It should be distinguished from sour or astringent, which in coffee terminology means an unpleasant sharpness.

Body or mouth-feel is the sense of heaviness, tactile richness, or thickness when you swish the coffee around your mouth. It also describes texture: oily, buttery, thin, etc.

Strictly speaking, aroma cannot be separated from acidity and flavor. Acidy coffees smell acidy, and richly flavored coffees smell richly flavored. Nevertheless, certain high, fleeting notes are reflected most clearly before the coffee is actually tasted. There is frequently a subtle floral note to some coffee that is experienced most clearly in the aroma, particularly at the moment the crust is broken in the traditional tasting ritual. 
If aroma is the overture of the coffee, then finish is the resonant silence at the end of the piece. Finish is a term relatively recently brought over into coffee tasting from wine connoisseurship. It describes the immediate sensation after the coffee is spit out or swallowed. Some coffees develop in the finish -- they change in pleasurable ways.  

Flavor is a catch-all term for everything we do not experience in terms of the categories of acidity, aroma and body. In another sense, it is a synthesis of them all. Some coffees simply display a fuller, richer flavor than others, are more complex, or more balanced, whereas other coffees have an acidy tang, for instance, that tends to dominate everything else. Some are flat, some are lifeless, some are strong but mono-toned. We also can speak of a distinctively flavored coffee, a coffee whose flavor characteristics clearly distinguish it from others.

Now that coffee drinking (tasting) has become more complicated for you, ehe... Do you know of the most expensive coffee in the world?
It's the Civet Coffee variety and glad to know that a variety can be found here in the Philippines.  To the local dialect, it is more popularly known as the 'Alamid' coffee coming from the name of the 'cat' (actually a weasel) where this coffee comes from. 

Yep, go visit the net for information on this rather exotic drink, or better yet get the chance to taste one!


  1. My day is not complete without cups of coffee.In fact I just made me a cappucino ,free from Nescafe Memento.

  2. I drink 3 to 4 cups of coffee your article make me appreciate more my coffee.

  3. I'm a coffee lover, it does not matter if its freshly brewed or instant. My day is not complete without coffee..

  4. Can I just say how much I would love to have your job? :) Hahaha!
    I'm no longer a coffee drinker 'cause it ruins my body clock, but I wouldn't pass up on a really good cup if ever there's one. :)

  5. This is such an informative post about coffee! :D I'm a coffee lover and this definitely taught me a lot more about the art of coffee tasting.. :) Thanks!

  6. I don't really like coffee but when I do drink it, I like it with a lot of milk.

  7. thanks for sharing i really learned something new

  8. yum yum it!

  9. thanks for the coffee lesson. someone should come up with a guessing game for coffee tasting.

  10. Most expensive blend I've tried so far are the Kona and Blue Mountain. Quite intrigued actually to find out how the Alamid would taste.

  11. I am a coffee drinker myself, I became one when I began to work online. The "Alamid" coffee is something I would really want to try.

  12. This is a good information. I am a coffer lover but I am not aware about this.

  13. yeah, civet coffee is the most expensive coffee in the world, but then again, I don't drink coffee... hehehe

  14. I sure would like to taste the "Alamid" coffee :)

  15. i can never be awake in the morning without coffee though I'm used to drinking tea as well my husbands a coffee lover! xx

  16. A mug (or two) of coffee works with me from up till down.