HomeRoast Digest


Topic: sour v. fruity (26 msgs / 805 lines)
1) From:
I've read some of the coffees we roast might have a fruity taste to them.  How would you describe the difference between fruity and sour?  
TIM

2) From: Bob Brashear
thirddayhomeroaster wrote:
<Snip>
Tim,
Fruity being the explosion of berries in the back of the mouth in an 
Ethiopian Harar Horse or Idido Misty Valley. Also, the 
sorta-somekinda-pulpy fruit taste you get from the El Salvador Juan 
Francisco Project.
As to sour, I've never had that experience with SM coffees.
Bob

3) From: JanoMac
<Snip>
Oh, wow! ...No resemblance between the two!
Sour is considered a "bad" taste that is essentially opposed to "sweet." It
usually indicates an under-roasted coffee as you see it described in this
list. Actually, *I* (read: personal view) see sour as the opposite of
"baked" coffee - those roasted too long at medium temperatures and that have
lost most of their character and taste "flat."
Fruity is just what it says...like a nice fruit flavor. Some coffees give
off berry aroma and flavors. Others may hold mango or "darker" flavored
fruits. Some coffees have citrusy notes in them - lemon or even tangerine.
Some just "hint" at the fruit, but you can tell it is there. These flavors
are all quite pleasant -- and sometimes come in the back door and surprise
you while you are drinking the brew. They don't always hit you head on, but
show up as the cup cools or as the coffee lingers on the tongue a bit.
Saying a coffee is sour is NOT like saying "lemon" or like a "sour-ball"
candy. Those might be pleasurable flavors, but a "sour" taste in coffee is
something you generally reserve for something that you do NOT want to taste
in your cup.
Sour is also not the same as "acidy" or "bright." Those are characters of
the cup that come in degrees and you may or may not like or prefer, but are
used to describe the coffee. I like coffees, for instance that are not so
"acidy" (it really isn't about acid), but rather, I like the earthy and
dark-flavored Indonesians and Sumatrans and the wild fruitiness of the
Ethiopians. Neither of these general varieties are generally described as
hiving an "acidy" or "high acidity" flavor as some other coffees. I find the
Ethiopian coffees to be quite sweet when roasted C+ to FC. I way
under-roasted a pretty wild Yirgacheffe once and I think I defined "sour"
quite well for myself...yikes!
Kirk

4) From: miKe mcKoffee
Sour taste in coffee can also be the result of too low brewing temp,
especially in a higher acidity coffee.
Pacific Northwest Gathering VIhttp://home.comcast.net/~mckona/PNWGVI.htmKona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
www.mcKonaKoffee.com
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
Sweet Maria's List - Searchable Archiveshttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/
<Snip>

5) From: Dan Bollinger
Fruity is just what is says.  I think were you are getting stuck is an American 
oddity, confusing 'sour' with 'acidic'.
Technically, sour, or saur in German, means to use a bacterial culture to 'turn' 
a food into something else.  As in sourdough bread, sour cream, and saurkraut. 
All use a bacterium.
Here is where we Americans get confused. We say 'sour apple' when we should say 
'tart apple.' There are other examples, too. Sour is not the opposite of sweet. 
Dry is the opposite of sweet.
What you mean by sour is best termed acidic. It is not a 'bad' taste. In fact, 
if it wasn't for a little bit of acid in foods they would taste bland. Sometimes 
a little lemon juice is added to food to brighten it up. That is the citric acid 
at work. There are many other examples.
Many fruits have acid in them. For instance, a tart apple is just another way of 
saying it is slightly acidic. The sugar and acid combine to make a pleasant 
contrast. I can't stand to eat a mushy, bland, acidless apple. Yuck!
Since fruits are often acidic, you may be confusing fruit with acid (or as you 
put it 'sour'). Coffees that are 'bright' are acidic. For instance, Kenyans. 
When I drink a City roasted Kenyan I taste 'lemon Coke.'  The citrus-cola 
flavors combined with the acid is what does that for me.
I think it would be helpful for you to practice and learn to distinguish between 
fruit flavors and acidity.
Dan
PS:  If you tell a winemaker that his wine is 'sour' you might get punched in 
the nose!  What sour means here is the original meaning, to treat with a 
bacterial culture. Wine is made by a culture, but vinegar is made by another 
culture. When you call his/her wine sour you are saying he/she not only allowed 
the wine to be contaminated with the wrong culture, but that they went ahead and 
bottled and sold vinegar as wine!

6) From: Bailey Blanchette
Sour makes you pucker
Fruity makes you smile
On 9/13/07, Dan Bollinger  wrote:
<Snip>

7) From: Stephen Carey
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Dan,
Beautiful description and explanation.  I was trying to work on how 
to write it up and I could never have come close to how well you did.
This is really well done.  Thank you.
Stephen
At 09:00 AM 9/13/2007, you wrote:
<Snip>
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Dan,
Beautiful description and explanation.  I was trying to work on how
to write it up and I could never have come close to how well you
did.
This is really well done.  Thank you.
Stephen
At 09:00 AM 9/13/2007, you wrote:
Fruity is just what is
says.  I think were you are getting stuck is an American oddity,
confusing 'sour' with 'acidic'.
Technically, sour, or saur in German, means to use a bacterial culture to
'turn' a food into something else.  As in sourdough bread, sour
cream, and saurkraut. All use a bacterium.
Here is where we Americans get confused. We say 'sour apple' when we
should say 'tart apple.' There are other examples, too. Sour is not the
opposite of sweet. Dry is the opposite of sweet.
What you mean by sour is best termed acidic. It is not a 'bad' taste. In
fact, if it wasn't for a little bit of acid in foods they would taste
bland. Sometimes a little lemon juice is added to food to brighten it up.
That is the citric acid at work. There are many other examples.
Many fruits have acid in them. For instance, a tart apple is just another
way of saying it is slightly acidic. The sugar and acid combine to make a
pleasant contrast. I can't stand to eat a mushy, bland, acidless apple.
Yuck!
Since fruits are often acidic, you may be confusing fruit with acid (or
as you put it 'sour'). Coffees that are 'bright' are acidic. For
instance, Kenyans. When I drink a City roasted Kenyan I taste 'lemon
Coke.'  The citrus-cola flavors combined with the acid is what does
that for me.
I think it would be helpful for you to practice and learn to distinguish
between fruit flavors and acidity.
Dan
PS:  If you tell a winemaker that his wine is 'sour' you might get
punched in the nose!  What sour means here is the original meaning,
to treat with a bacterial culture. Wine is made by a culture, but vinegar
is made by another culture. When you call his/her wine sour you are
saying he/she not only allowed the wine to be contaminated with the wrong
culture, but that they went ahead and bottled and sold vinegar as
wine!

8) From: Homeroaster
Malic acid is 'apple acid', and is the main flavor ingredient in candy that 
is called 'sour'.  Citric acid is sour when strong enough.  Acetic acid 
(vinegar) is sour.  Those only taste 'tart' when weak or diluted, but all 
are examples of sour.
Coffee, when roasted lightly, can have all three of these acids in 
abundance, and impart a sourness to the taste.  Green grass taste comes to 
mind.  That's sour.  Tart would be 'diluted sour' in my understanding.
(where'd I screw up in this post? LOL)
*********************
Ed Needham
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com*********************

9) From: Stephen Carey
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The real question comes to if you like it or not and, if so, can then 
reproduce it.
Stephen
At 10:26 AM 9/13/2007, you wrote:
<Snip>
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The real question comes to if you like it or not and, if so,
can then reproduce it.
Stephen
At 10:26 AM 9/13/2007, you wrote:
Malic acid is 'apple acid', and
is the main flavor ingredient in candy that is called 'sour'. 
Citric acid is sour when strong enough.  Acetic acid (vinegar) is
sour.  Those only taste 'tart' when weak or diluted, but all are
examples of sour.
Coffee, when roasted lightly, can have all three of these acids in
abundance, and impart a sourness to the taste.  Green grass taste
comes to mind.  That's sour.  Tart would be 'diluted sour' in
my understanding.
(where'd I screw up in this post? LOL)
*********************
Ed Needham
"to absurdity and beyond!"
http://www.homeroaster.com*********************

10) From: Dan Bollinger
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Thanks, what I learned about tasting in a wine tasting class paid off. =
Dan

11) From: Homeroaster
Yes!  Absolutely!  Acidity is not bad!
Think about cooking onions as an example.  A raw onion has quite a bit of
sugar in it that only comes alive when you apply heat to convert the
starches to sugars, acids begin to cook away, as the Maillard reaction
(non-enzymatic browning) brings out the flavors.  The sugars begin to
caramelize and the once difficult to eat onion becomes very tasty and sweet.
Roasting coffee is exactly the same process.  Knowing how hot and how long,
with proper stirring brings out the best and subdues the acids without
destroying them.  A burnt roast is when the caramels carbonize, the tasty
acids are all gone, and the nasty, bitter acids (carbonic acid in
particular) bring out a bitter, ashtray, nastiness with no varietal flavor
or sweetness at all.
Too little and the roast is sour or 'tart'.  Too much and all that is gone
and you're left with carbon.
Let's hit the sweet spot more often!
*********************
Ed Needham
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com*********************

12) From: Doug Boutell
Ed
Excellent description.
Doug
Homeroaster wrote:
<Snip>

13) From: Bonnie Polkinghorn
Expanding on wine tasting class, I remember taking a class years ago.  The
instructor explained that to recognize the different flavors of wine you
needed a sensory memory.  You are not born with this knowledge, you need to
be taught.  How do you detect leather in a wine, or pineapple?  They had 20
small glasses of wine, each with some of the flavors sitting in the wine.
Yes, leather shoe laces in one, pineapple in another, tobacco in another,
etc.
You would go to each one and give it a sniff.   That way, you would be able
to identify the flavor when it occured in the wine.  You had sensory memory.
I am guessing you could do the same with coffee.   I do not suggest using
your finest roast, either!  I am just curious if you could take blueberries
or jasmine (I figure we all know chocolate) or very tart apples, and
place them (separately) in some coffee, then sniff and remember and if this
would help?
Bonnie P.
Santa Rosa, CA, the Heart of Wine Country, Sonoma County
On 9/13/07, Dan Bollinger  wrote:
<Snip>

14) From: Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee
great responses to this post. great topic! i think it's been covered 
well and maybe i can just add a couple footnotes:
among some cuppers, there's a distinction being made between fruity 
and fruited. it's sort of an arbitrary use of the two terms but there 
is the need to distinguish in some way the positive fruited notes 
versus the processing defect of fruity coffee. so fruity is being 
used to mean pulpy, fermenty fruit, perhaps vinegar-like notes that 
exceed "winey" flavors. this can be from coffee cherry that is far 
too ripe, it might be from  cherry that isn't pulped/washed or dried 
promptly, it might be from unclean water when the coffee is run down 
the washing channels after fermentation, or improper raking/drying, 
or perhaps bad use of the aquapulper in the case of pulp natural 
coffees. In any case, it is a dirty fruit flavor. Many dry process 
coffees have flavors that push the limit of fruited and are nearly 
fruity (or perhaps truly are fruity) but we accept them for this 
style of cup.
fruited is being used to distinguish clean fruit notes that would, as 
someone indicated, would come from particular positive chlorogenic 
acids (CGAs). they can also come from esters and other compounds.
to some degree, fanatics of this distinction would think of fruity as 
ALWAYS being bad, and fruited as positive. i refer to people in the 
"clean cup" camp, with george howell being the representative there 
(people i fully respect but don't agree with completely - i endorse 
dry process and think fruity flavors have their place.)
now, to the original question, (and as people indicated) sour and 
fruity are not really in opposition to eachother. Some people would 
find Kenya Karatina a sour fruit coffee, because it is citric. then 
again, sour fruity as a negative reminds me of tight, astringent 
notes, like white vinegar, and that would definitely be processing 
defect.
tom
btw: i am just curious if people read the weblog for new 
announcements, or use the rss feature there? i don't get many 
comments to posts, maybe because i havent been using it enough to 
post anything thought-provoking ... mainly using it for new coffee 
announcements. but i am working on a bunch of things to try to 
improve the "interactiveness" of the site in general. between 
watching ben ... getting time to surf / sail dinghys (my latest 
obsession) and trips! anyway, for now i would comments and feedback 
on the weblog.
--
                   "Great coffee comes from tiny roasters"
            Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting  -  Tom & Maria
                      http://www.sweetmarias.com                Thompson Owen george_at_sweetmarias.com
     Sweet Maria's Coffee - 1115 21st Street, Oakland, CA 94607 - USA
             phone/fax: 888 876 5917 - tom_at_sweetmarias.com

15) From: John Crippen
To the blog question, I use the RSS feed to alert me of new posts, which I
read in my feed reader.  Since many of the posts are descriptions of new
offerings, I am happy to just read them and not respond or comment.   That
said, I'm all for more interactivity, so I'll eagerly await the new ideas
you have.
Saludos,
John
On 9/13/07, Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee 
wrote:
<Snip>

16) From: Robert Gulley
Ditto, for me.
RG
At 01:58 PM 9/13/2007, you wrote:
<Snip>

17) From: jim gundlach
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On Sep 13, 2007, at 12:28 PM, Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee wrote:
<Snip>
Tom,
      If you check my last several orders, except the one where I did  
a sample again, I think you will see that they are substantially  
influenced by the listing of new coffees in the new announcements.  I  
don't use any rss .
       pecan jim
--Apple-Mail-10-950741163
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
Content-Type: text/html;
	charsetO-8859-1
On Sep 13, 2007, =
at 12:28 PM, Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee wrote:

btw: i am just curious if = people read the weblog for new announcements, or use the rss feature = there? i don't get many comments to posts, maybe because i havent been = using it enough to post anything thought-provoking ... mainly using it = for new coffee announcements. but i am working on a bunch of things to = try to improve the "interactiveness" of the site in general. between = watching ben ... getting time to surf / sail dinghys (my latest = obsession) and trips! anyway, for now i would comments and feedback on = the weblog.

Tom,    =  If you check my last several orders, except the one where I did a = sample again, I think you will see that they = are substantially influenced by the listing of new coffees in the = new announcements.  I don't use any rss .      pecan = jim= --Apple-Mail-10-950741163--

18) From:
TART! That's the word-thank you!  Your description also made me realize what I'm tasting is probably a roasting issue.  My ground beans are lighter than my whole roasted beans.  The tart comes in as the cup cools.  I'm having a terrible time though when I extend my 1st crack (air roaster) to the 8-10 min range.  The flavors just leave.  Building a better roaster to allow me to extend w/out apparently blowing all the flavor out my chimney.  I may try these just into 2nd crack and see if that helps.  I've stopped at just after 1st on this particular roast.
Tim
---- Doug Boutell  wrote: 
<Snip>

19) From:
Very simple, I like the explanation
---- Bailey Blanchette  wrote: 
<Snip>

20) From: Homeroaster
Well, Dan used the 'tart' word first.
*********************
Ed Needham
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com*********************

21) From: Marty Wooten
Tom,
I do read the weblog for announcements as well.
Marty
=
----- Original Message ----
From: Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee <=
sweetmarias>
To: homeroast
Sent: =
Thursday, September 13, 2007 1:28:04 PM
Subject: Re: +sour v. fruity
=
great responses to this post. great topic! i think it's been covered =
well and maybe i can just add a couple footnotes:
among some cupper=
s, there's a distinction being made between fruity 
and fruited. it's sor=
t of an arbitrary use of the two terms but there 
is the need to distingu=
ish in some way the positive fruited notes 
versus the processing defect =
of fruity coffee. so fruity is being 
used to mean pulpy, fermenty fruit,=
 perhaps vinegar-like notes that 
exceed "winey" flavors. this can be fro=
m coffee cherry that is far 
too ripe, it might be from  cherry that isn'=
t pulped/washed or dried 
promptly, it might be from unclean water when t=
he coffee is run down 
the washing channels after fermentation, or improp=
er raking/drying, 
or perhaps bad use of the aquapulper in the case of pu=
lp natural 
coffees. In any case, it is a dirty fruit flavor. Many dry pr=
ocess 
coffees have flavors that push the limit of fruited and are nearly=
 
fruity (or perhaps truly are fruity) but we accept them for this 
sty=
le of cup.
fruited is being used to distinguish clean fruit notes that=
 would, as 
someone indicated, would come from particular positive chloro=
genic 
acids (CGAs). they can also come from esters and other compounds.=
to some degree, fanatics of this distinction would think of fruity as=
 
ALWAYS being bad, and fruited as positive. i refer to people in the 
=
"clean cup" camp, with george howell being the representative there 
(peo=
ple i fully respect but don't agree with completely - i endorse 
dry proc=
ess and think fruity flavors have their place.)
now, to the original q=
uestion, (and as people indicated) sour and 
fruity are not really in opp=
osition to eachother. Some people would 
find Kenya Karatina a sour fruit=
 coffee, because it is citric. then 
again, sour fruity as a negative rem=
inds me of tight, astringent 
notes, like white vinegar, and that would d=
efinitely be processing 
defect.
tom
btw: i am just curious if =
people read the weblog for new 
announcements, or use the rss feature the=
re? i don't get many 
comments to posts, maybe because i havent been usin=
g it enough to 
post anything thought-provoking ... mainly using it for n=
ew coffee 
announcements. but i am working on a bunch of things to try to=
 
improve the "interactiveness" of the site in general. between 
watchi=
ng ben ... getting time to surf / sail dinghys (my latest 
obsession) and=
 trips! anyway, for now i would comments and feedback 
on the weblog.
-=
-=
                   "Great coffee comes from tiny roasters"
     =
       Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting  -  Tom & Maria
               =
       http://www.sweetmarias.com                Thompson Owen george_a=
t_sweetmarias.com=
     Sweet Maria's Coffee - 1115 21st Street, Oakla=
nd, CA 94607 - USA
             phone/fax: 888 876 5917 - tom_at_sweetmar=
ias.com
homeroast maili=
ng listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroastTo chan=
ge your personal list settings (digest options, vacations, unsvbscribes) go=
 tohttp://sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings

22) From: Dan Bollinger
You calling me a tart, Ed?!      :)
<Snip>

23) From: Vicki Smith
I think the weblog would be a wonderful place for folks to write about 
the coffees you announce. If you ask for comments on them, I bet you'd 
get them. It sure would be great to know that I could consult those 
comments before placing my orders and as I started to roast my new greens.
Vicki
Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee wrote:
  > btw: i am just curious if people read the weblog for new announcements,
<Snip>

24) From: Homeroaster
I meant to say torte.
::g::

25) From: Dan Bollinger
LOL!  Well in that case, pour me a cup of coffee to wash it down!

26) From: raymanowen
"I meant to say torte."
WTFO? Serve it, don't just say it!  -and follow it with some Nectar -ro
On 9/14/07, Homeroaster  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
"When the theme hits the bass, I dance the Jig!" - -Virgil Fox at the
Mighty Wichita (ex- NYC Paramount) WurliTzer- 1976


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