HomeRoast Digest

Topic: Acquired Tastes (25 msgs / 810 lines)
1) From: Scott and Michele
Back in March/April when I started roasting coffee, I posted a message
suggesting people learn or acquire taste and therefore no two people will
taste the same thing. Further, given the assumption that a person
'practices' tasting coffee by drinking a cup each day for the next year.  If
that person drank a cup of coffee today and could taste the exact same cup
of coffee next year, they will taste it differently.  They will taste
different flavors in that coffee because their perception of the coffee will
have changed to allow them to perceive new/different flavors.
If I recall, my suggestion was not well received. Well, never one to give up
on discussing an idea.  I've come across some good articles about the
subject.  I am not suggesting you need to agree with me or even that the
articles directly support my suggestion, but the topic of taste, smell and
flavor may be of some interest to this group considering it is the basis of
most of the other topics we discuss. If this topic interests you, you may
enjoy reading the articles, below:
The first article is fromhttp://www.newscientist.com/lastword/answers/463body.jspand I copied it
below so you don't have to go to the link:
Why and how do we "acquire" taste? I don't know anyone who liked the taste
of Marmite, Fisherman's Friends or olives at first sampling, but after a few
attempts they begin to taste pleasant. Is it anything to do with our taste
buds becoming less sensitive and therefore needing stronger flavors to
excite them?
Although there may be changes in taste or smell receptor cells as we age, in
general the acquisition of most individual food preferences does not relate
to any changes in these sensory systems. Most individual likes and dislikes
are probably best explained by a form of Pavlovian conditioning.
The brains of humans and other animals have the capacity to link the
consequences of eating a food--metabolic, physiological, psychological and
social--to its associated sensory characteristics. This learning is probably
most closely linked to aromas (which are unique to each food) rather than
tastes, because many foods share being sweet, salty and so on. Numerous
animal experiments have shown how the physiological consequences of eating
particular foods, including subtle nutritional and metabolic effects, can
markedly alter sensory preferences.
Three points should be borne in mind. The first is that the sensory quality
or flavor of the food influences how much we enjoy it, apart from any
pre-existing feelings about it. The second is that it is not a conscious
process--one cannot simply decide to dislike the flavor of a food. And the
third point is that it is not your nose or tongue which determines the
response, but the centrally mediated reaction to the sensations delivered by
these organs. With experience, therefore, it is not the actual sensation of
a food flavor which changes, but the affective response to these sensations.
A prompt and persistent dislike or aversion to specific sensory qualities of
foods can develop when they are associated with strong negative outcomes. In
humans, nausea and gastrointestinal upset appear to be particularly potent
initiators of aversions. For this reason, multiple food aversions may
develop with certain medical treatments, particularly cancer therapies.
Aversions which developed in childhood may persist many decades later, with
dislike of a food remaining long after the initial incident is forgotten,
and despite the knowledge that the item is known to be safe to eat or did
not cause the illness.
In an analogous manner, it appears that human sensory preferences can arise
after a taste is linked to positive physiological or psychological outcomes.
It seems reasonable to ascribe the development of liking for items such as
coffee and alcoholic beverages, which children have an innate distaste for,
to their psychobiological effects.
The biological advantage of the ability to modify food preferences is
obvious. Our enjoyment of fatty foods is a case in point--the evidence
suggests that this is secondary to their association with the metabolic
properties (perhaps energy density) of fat-containing foods. The example of
a liking for hot, spicy foods provides perhaps the most extreme example:
chilli peppers are universally rejected by young children, but are among the
most popular condiments in the world.
Interestingly, recent studies indicate flavour preferences may be acquired
early in life through exposure to volatile flavour compounds from the
maternal diet in the womb or during lactation.
Dave Mela, Institute of Food Research Reading Berkshire
The other article is from the Economisthttp://economist.com/PrinterFriendly.cfm?Story_ID76195 and I copied it
below too (you may need to subscribe to get to the web-edition):
Relishing the flavour
Jun 20th 2002
From The Economist print edition
Food technology: Researchers are finally solving the mystery of how the
brain perceives flavour. The insights are helping food companies predict—and
design—new products that people will find hard to resist
IN THE French classic “Remembrance of Things Past”, Proust's main character
describes how a small bite of a madeleine cake dipped in linden tea
unleashes a cascade of memories from his childhood. The episode perfectly
captures the concept called flavour—a mix of sensory inputs that include
taste, smell, texture, temperature and individual history. Flavour guides
feeding behaviour, and is a major element of emotional and aesthetic life.
But it is so complex that for a long time only eccentrics studied it. The
recent entry of molecular biologists into the field has made it possible to
go beyond merely describing perceptions of flavour to examining the
biological mechanisms at work.
The terms “taste” and “flavour” are used interchangeably. Strictly speaking,
however, taste refers to five basic qualities: salty, sour, sweet, bitter
and umami (a characteristic of protein-rich foods such as meat and cheese).
Smell plays an equally prominent role in flavour but is often
underappreciated. Try holding your nose and popping a strawberry-flavoured
sweet in your mouth. You will taste the sweetness, but not the strawberry
until you let go of your nose and the volatile chemicals from the
confectionery enter the nostrils. As if that were not complex enough,
irritants—for example, carbonation or the coolness of mint—are detected not
by taste or smell, but by the trigeminal sense, a part of the touch system
adapted for the mouth.
The brain receives news about what is in the mouth from receptors—proteins
specialised in picking up particular molecules—located throughout the oral
and nasal cavities. Receptors for smell were identified in the early 1990s,
and for sweet, bitter and umami only in the past two years (sour and salty
tastes were somewhat better understood). That, says Gary Beauchamp, director
of the Monell Chemical Senses Institute in Philadelphia, whose group
contributed to some of the findings, is more than has been learnt about
taste in the past 2,000 years. A receptor for capsaicin, the molecule that
gives chilli peppers their bite, was identified only in 1997.
The discovery of taste receptors opens the way to mimicking, enhancing or
blocking them for various desired effects—such as increasing the salty taste
of low-sodium foods, or preventing the bitterness that characterises many
medicinal drugs, or boosting the flavours of diets for the elderly to ensure
they eat properly. But receptors are only part of the story.
Nobody knows how the brain distinguishes a mouthful of milk from a bite of
bread, or chicken tikka masala in an Indian restaurant from one bought at a
supermarket. Although some scientists argue that the brain's response to
stimuli is a simple map of the receptors in the tongue and nose, a more
compelling theory suggests that the overall patterning of signals together
creates a sense of particular flavours, whose attractiveness is judged in
the light of previous experience.
There are no useful algorithms to measure brain inputs and outputs against
subjective reports of flavour sensations. That is good news for
neurophysiologists looking for work. But for flavour and fragrance
companies—with global sales of flavours accounting for more than a third of
the $35 billion-a-year food ingredients market—acceptable tastes bear
directly on the bottom line. There is no question that flavour is the most
important criterion for consumer acceptance of foods. And being able to
predict what customers will like is the industry's greatest single ambition.
Latter-day spice trade
Throughout history, flavours have been coveted for their ability to increase
the palatability of food and to enliven cuisine. In 408, Alaric the
Visigoth's price for raising the siege of Rome allegedly included more than
1,000 kilograms of pepper. Industrial production of perfumes began in France
in the 18th century to take the smell out of leather gloves. The flavour
industry was a logical consequence of such developments.
Extracts and essential oils such as citrus were being produced in America by
the late 1700s. In 1874, Haarmann and Reimer in Germany became the first
company to make synthetic vanillin (from the sap of conifers) on an
industrial scale. At first, isolating and identifying gustatory ingredients
proved extremely hard. Not only were analytical methods rudimentary, but the
substances responsible for taste are present in minuscule amounts even in
concentrated foods such as crushed raspberries. After 1950, new analytical
techniques made it possible to detect trace ingredients, and companies
accumulated chemical libraries that today contain thousands of compounds.
Depending on what a customer wants, flavours can be used off the shelf,
modified or created anew, following a principle called GRAS (generally
recognised as safe). It is a constant challenge to be unique, says Bob
Eilerman, leader of flavour research and development for Givaudan, a Swiss
company whose scientists float over tropical rainforests in hot-air balloons
to find new tastes and ingredients, capture their aromas on site, and then
analyse and re-create them in the laboratory.
The most potent flavoured chemicals are created by cooking, says Anthony
Blake, vice-president of food science and technology at Firmenich in Geneva.
Firmenich, Givaudan and International Flavours and Fragrances, the industry
leader in America, comprise the big three of flavour and fragrance companies
world-wide. Small wonder that Firmenich employs techno-chefs, or that
Givaudan dispatches analysts to ethnic restaurants hither and yon.
Lick this again
Like colourists grinding and mixing pigments, professional flavourists
assemble the 50-100 components that are typical for a flavour into the
finished product. Acceptability is measured using panels of expert and
consumer (ie, naive) taste-testers in a process called sensory analysis.
Trained testers might be asked to rate the taste of vanilla ice-cream
according to standards for sweetness and vanilla flavour, whereas consumer
testers simply register whether they like it. The process is an iterative
one, with several rounds of refinement between testers and flavourists,
until the product is deemed to have an acceptable taste.
“A liking for sweet and salty substances reflects the wise choices that
humanity's ancestors made in a hostile environment.”
Unfortunately, says Alex Häusler, director of flavour excellence at
Givaudan, while humans provide the most sensitive testing instrument, they
are not the most reliable. People are born with different sets of taste
receptors and different ways of interpreting them. Think of the last time
you watched somebody pour spoonfuls of sugar into a cup of coffee.
Texture is a particular conundrum. It contributes substantially to the
pleasure of eating, yet very little is known about it. Why is rubbery squid
enjoyable and rubbery toast not? What does “succulent” mean? Since the
1960s, the food industry has devised a battery of instrument tests for
desired textural properties, including poking peas with pins and bending
biscuits. But theory has been lacking, and giving a carrot a whack bears
little resemblance to what happens inside the mouth, where it is traversed
by a multitude of physicochemical processes. Julian Vincent of the
University of Bath, in Britain, is one of a small band of academic
researchers who are trying to relate the results of mechanical tests to
perceptions such as crispness.
The dynamics of flavour release—ie, the appearance and disappearance of
flavour—have also resisted measurement. Researchers at the University of
Nottingham, also in Britain, have developed and commercialised an instrument
called MS-Nose that sucks in breath from a person's nose while they are
chewing gum, for instance, and analyses the aroma molecules it finds there.
Firmenich has adopted the technology in its search for better ways of
delivering flavour. The approach has stimulated a good deal of interest,
even though the results tend to be unique to the person tested.
Physiological studies of flavour are conducted using animals (mostly rats
and hamsters) or bacteria, which have robust taste receptors. In humans,
techniques such as functional magnetic-resonance imaging and
positron-emission tomography—currently being applied to problems as diverse
as working memory and lovesickness—can reveal patterns of electrical
activity swishing around the brain in real time, says Dr Blake. The idea is
to get a person to eat something and see what parts of their brain light up.
But the technologies are not yet sensitive enough, nor are the ways of
analysing the data meaningful enough, for the methods to be useful in
studies of flavour. An alternative approach, says Monell's Dr Beauchamp,
would be to focus on specific genes in animals and alter them to track the
pathways that the brain uses in integrating signals from the receptors.
At present, finding the right enhancer or blocker for a given receptor means
looking at thousands of compounds, a task better suited to automated testing
than the caprices of the human tongue. Senomyx, a young biotech company in
La Jolla, California, intends to use such a technology, called
“high-throughput screening”, to test legions of compounds against taste and
smell receptors. Whether the technique will prove more successful in food
science than in pharmaceutical research and development, where it is widely
used but has not yet produced a blockbuster drug, remains to be seen.
Another biotech firm, Linguagen of Paramus, New Jersey, is also bringing
modern science to bear in the search for flavour modifiers, particularly
bitterness blockers.
The mouth is the portal of entry to the gut, and taste is the final arbiter.
Innate aversions to sour and bitter substances—caffeine, nicotine,
strychnine, for example—and a liking for sweet and salty ones reflect the
wise choices that humanity's ancestors made in a hostile environment. Beyond
these protective and nutritional reflexes, however, taste preferences are
largely a matter of culture and learning. The taste system is reasonably
compliant, says Tom Scott, a neurophysiologist and dean of sciences at San
Diego State University in California. Cultures are kept distinct by
cuisines, and cuisines are distinguished by taste.
Colliding cuisines
But cuisines, like continents, have a habit of colliding. Ten years ago, few
Americans cared for raw fish. Now they eat sushi almost as avidly as the
Japanese. Moreover, “acquired tastes” often involve complex contradictions
that play tricks within the brain. How else do you explain the liking for
strong-smelling cheese or the East Asian fruit called durian that is so
redolent of vomit that it is banned on public transport in some countries?
Other effects resist reconciliation, like the unbearable sweetness that
artichokes lend to wine.
Flavour appears to belong to a family of subtle perceptions—such as
recognising a voice or telling faces apart. But how does the central nervous
system process all the information needed to make these fine-grained
distinctions? The answer should help to develop cheaper and safer flavour
compounds, as well as to perform tricks of alchemy such as turning tofu into
steak. More fundamentally, identifying algorithms in the brain that
transform taste into flavour, and comparing them with how people process
complex sounds or tactile sensations, might reveal something about how
perception really works.
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2) From: TFisher511
I think I will have to read the articles at least one more time and chew on 
them for a while. I did find them interesting. 
I have the ability to smell flying ant nests, although no one else in my 
family seems to sense the smell or even cares, unless they want to know where 
the heck the ants are coming from. Now if someone can explain how that 
relates to coffee I'd like to hear about it.
Terry F
Young92 writes:

3) From: Scott and Michele
 Tasting anything is a function both the aromas picked up by your 
 nose, and the tongue which only picks up the salty, sour, sweet, 
 bitter and umami.  The ability to smell ants nests may indicate 
 you have a very sensitive general sense of smell or certain parts 
 of your sense of smell are very strong. This would certainly play 
 a role in what parts of the coffee flavor you taste.  Try doing as the 
 article suggests and hold your nose while drinking coffee to see 
 what you are turning off without your sense of smell. 
 Just curious... can you taste things that others don't seem to notice?
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4) From: =?iso-8859-1?q?Bob=20Cassinelli?=
 Holding your nose whilst drinking coffee certainly compromises the flavor... 
and I don't wanna compromise my Ugandan Bigusi... 
*Maybe when someone buys me a Starbucks, I'll try holding my nose. 
  Scott and Michele  skrev: > I have the ability to smell flying ant nests, although no one else in my 
Tasting anything is a function both the aromas picked up by your 
nose, and the tongue which only picks up the salty, sour, sweet, 
bitter and umami. The ability to smell ants nests may indicate 
you have a very sensitive general sense of smell or certain parts 
of your sense of smell are very strong. This would certainly play 
a role in what parts of the coffee flavor you taste. Try doing as the 
article suggests and hold your nose while drinking coffee to see 
what you are turning off without your sense of smell. 
Just curious... can you taste things that others don't seem to notice?
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5) From: Dan Bollinger
OK, I'll bite.  What's UMAMI?  My CD dictionary didn't have it.  But, I
found this description online:
"One taste sensation now gaining recognition among Western cultures is known
as "UMAMI." The UMAMI taste is conveyed by several substances naturally
occurring in foods, including glutamate.
Although UMAMI was first identified by Oriental cooks 1200 years ago, it
wasn't until the turn of this century that scientists isolated glutamate and
other substances which convey this distinctive flavor. Sensory research
shows that glutamate does not enhance any of the four classic tastes, nor
can the UMAMI taste be formed by any combination of the classic four."http://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast">http://www.familyhaven.com/health/umami.htmlhomeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast

6) From: TFisher511
Young92 writes:
This is a very interesting little test. When I held my nose, the coffee was 
okay, definitely something missing in the flavor. I am drinking one of the 
Brazil auction winners this morning, FWIW. But when I let go of my nose, the 
flavor kind of exploded inside my head. I sensed flavors that I didn't notice 
even taking a sip without holding my nose. My wife walked in while I was 
doing this experiment and just about split a gut when she saw me holding my 
nose while sipping my coffee. Her immediate comment was "What do those people 
have you doing now?", and I will let you guess who *those people* are. 
Holding your nose then letting go may be an aid when cupping coffees to 
experience new flavors.
Along these same lines, I wonder if the first sip of coffee tastes the best. 
When my daughter was about 9 or 10 years old, she had me do a different type 
of experiment at the local Dairy Queen. We got a cherry slush, or a chocolate 
malt, or a couple of things with a nice, distinct aroma. First I had to smell 
the beverage and then take a drink. Okay, that's cool. Then she had me smell 
the beverage again. After taking the first sip, the smell was either 
completely gone or severely diminished. Very interesting little tidbit she 
taught me.
I really don't know about tasting things that others don't notice. The flying 
ant thing was a fluke because one day I went out to my father-in-law's house 
and he had red flying ants all over the house and yard. He said he had looked 
all over but couldn't find the nest. I asked if he had sniffed around the 
yard to find them. Most of the family was there and I just got that look. 
"Are you nuts or what?" We went out and I finally smelled the aroma that ants 
give off when they grow wings and fly, I think when they divide the colony. 
That is the only time I can smell the ants. We looked around and finally 
found the nest at the base of a bush. I asked if anyone could smell it now, a 
very unique and pungent odor, and they just looked at each other and then to 
me. I was the only one but they knew I could sense where they were. Maybe in 
my last life I was a red ant, I don't know.
Okay, I hope everyone will hold their noses and sip their coffee this 
morning. What do you have to loose other that maybe the respect of your loved 
ones for a bit.
Terry F

7) From: Dan Bollinger
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
"My wife walked in while I was doing this experiment and just about =
split a gut when she saw me holding my nose while sipping my coffee."  =
Terry,  I've been doing this for years at Starbucks!   ;)  Dan 

8) From: TFisher511
Dan,  From what I experienced this morning, that must be a really bad 
sensation when you let go!!!   :)      Terry

9) From: AlChemist John
Sometime around 04:28 8/4/02, Scott and Michele typed:
I can.  My wife says I'm just hallucinating .
John Nanci 
AlChemist at large
Roasting and Blending by Gestalt
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10) From: Mike McGinness
From: "AlChemist John" 
John, I know what you mean. She says I hear things too! :-) (seriously
though, as in music etc...)
Home Ju-Ju Variable Variac Rockin' Rosto Roasting in Vancouver, WA USA
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11) From: Scott and Michele
This is a very interesting little test. When I held my nose, the coffee was
okay, definitely something missing in the flavor. I am drinking one of the
Brazil auction winners this morning, FWIW. But when I let go of my nose, the
flavor kind of exploded inside my head. I sensed flavors that I didn't
even taking a sip without holding my nose. My wife walked in while I was
doing this experiment and just about split a gut when she saw me holding my
nose while sipping my coffee. Her immediate comment was "What do those
have you doing now?", and I will let you guess who *those people* are.
I am going to try this and see if I get a similar reaction. I will learn
from your mistake and try it in the morning when my wife is asleep.  She
already thinks I am a bit odd when I hover my nose over the top of my HWP
waiting to hear (smell) the first and second crack.
Umami is mentioned in the economist article: "Strictly speaking, however,
taste refers to five basic qualities: salty, sour, sweet, bitter and umami
(a characteristic of protein-rich foods such as meat and cheese)".
The article is pretty vague so thanks for finding the definition.  Even with
the definition you provided, I am not sure if I can identify a umami taste,
but I will certainly be on the look out for some coffee that has umami
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12) From: Prabhakar Ragde
If you've ever read a description of cupping, you know that it bears
no resemblance to what you do in your kitchen in the morning when you
make yourself a cup. Similarly, wine tasters don't actually swallow
the stuff. They'd be lightheaded if they had to and taste three dozen
wines, but it seems to me (with no evidence other than my subjective
tastes) that the aftertaste is different if you swallow instead of
spit. Which prompts the question: how much bearing does professional
tasting have on the quality of ordinary experience? I find tasting
rituals fascinating, and experiences to be repeated at intervals, but
I nearly always have wine with food and coffee when I'm fresh out of
bed and pretty fuzzy-tongued, and it's the judgements I make at those
points that dictates what I repeat. (That being said, Tom's cupping
notes are invaluable, at the very least for winnowing down my
choices.) --PR
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13) From: Charlie Herlihy
 Prabhakar Ragde wrote>it seems to me (with no
evidence other than my subjective
tastes) that the aftertaste is different if you
swallow instead of
spit. Which prompts the question: how much bearing
does professional
tasting have on the quality of ordinary experience?  
 I've run into profesional buyers in my travels who
were cupping by pouring hot water over freshly and 
under roasted grounds,spitting it out and cupping
more, etc. (classic pro cupping) They were mainly
looking for overfermented, spoiled beans because they
would be fired and blackballed if they OKed the
purchase of a container load of sub par coffee with
bad defects like that. To truely test for all that a
coffee has to offer I can't imagine not roasting at
differant levels, resting it a bit, brewing it
differant ways and swallowing it! That's what I do
when I'm buying sacks of coffee that I'll be roasting
and selling. I expect that Tom does, too, when he's
cupping with intent to buy and not just at a cupping
auction. Maybe I'm wrong and some folks can tell
everything they need to know from a loud sip and
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14) From: Scott and Michele
I would have agreed with her until I read the book "A User's Guide to the
Brain" that summarized in lay terms the current brain-related science.  Our
brains and our the perceptions of the input from our 5 senses are
continually changing.  Perceptions vary across individuals.  Consider things
like people with hearing that is very acute vs. those that are tone deaf.
The same possibilities apply to our perception of taste, but they are rarely
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15) From: Scott and Michele
I recently judged in a homebrew (beer) competition for the first time, and
that's one of the first things I learned -- try to get as much info from
that first smell as possible, as you won't be able to smell it as well
subsequently, particularly after tasting. One thing I did learn that helps,
though, is to smell something else before returning to smell the beer. The
perception of the aroma is still not as intense as the first sniff, but it
does come back somewhat.
Interesting point.  From what I have read about this topic, the brain is
constantly searching for the novel.  With brain imaging technology, it has
been shown that after you perceive (in the case taste/smell) something the
brain becomes used to it and the next time it percives it, the brain will
use a different section of the brain to recognize it.  This is obvious when
you drive to work the first time and "see" everything.  After the 10th time,
you may forget half of your commute because a different part of the brain is
in charge of handling these old perceptions.
Good new for us coffee tasters though, as the brain puts these once novel
perceptions into the "been there done that" part of the brain it continues
to seek out new information.  Hence, after drinking the same cup of coffee
you may begin to taste things that you didn't taste at first.  I have a
hunch that this is partly what makes a "complex" cup of coffee complex.
Tasters who have tasted the standard flavors over and over no longer pick up
the basics.  But when they come across a cup with many flavors, they taste
many new flavors or recognize the complexity of the cup.
This applies to hearing and all other senses from what I understand.
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16) From: Ed Needham
To expand on Scott's post below...
The idea of a 'Stereotype' has gotten to be a bad word, but in reality, that
is what our brain does constantly.  We pre-determine whether or not we
believe a building is safe to enter.  We pre-determine whether or not our
office chair sits a particular way, and will not collapse (ever have someone
switch chairs on you without telling you?--it's a real eye opener.  We assume
that cars zipping by us at 60 mph, only a few feet away are going to stay in
their lanes.  We do it with people and groups of people (sometimes to our
detriment of falsely stereotyping someone), but many times a stereotype of a
person can keep us safe and on solid ground.  Some people are scary and
should be avoided.  Some areas of town are dangerous and it's likely you
could get hurt there.  Ugly, but true.  Sure these scary-looking people might
not be dangerous at all, and sure, there might be more hidden danger in a
'nicer' part of town.  Who should you fear more, the thug who steals your
wallet or the corporate exec that steals your retirement plan?
If our brain had to think it's way through every detail of every day, it
would be overwhelming.  Sept. 11 was a reality check for all of us because it
totally didn't fit into any category our brains could comprehend.  A new
category, with all it's scary stereotypes was formed that day, and will
forever be etched into history and our brains.  Things like airplane safety,
trust of people who might look like the terrorists, fear of tall buildings,
fire, explosions, even falling buildings.  I watched the movie 'Ocean's
Eleven' the other day, and when they 'imploded' the large, multistory casino,
I had flashbacks in my mind to the Twin Towers falling.  Eerie that it can
create such vivid neural pathways.
How does all this relate to coffee, and roasting?
I guess it's because our senses also stereotype tastes and smells.  Blind
tastings always trip up the wine experts who occasionally judge an
inexpensive wine as the best.  Coffee tasters probably also fall to blind
cuppings from time to time, ranting on and on about an average bean.  We
expect a certain taste when we take that first sip, many times, and when it
is different, it breaks that stereotype our mind has become accustomed to
and, because it doesn't fit, we have to place it in another category.
I'm currently having to rethink all my old stereotypes about drum roasted
coffee vs. air roasted.  I have been a strong proponent of air roasting for
years, probably since my first Melitta Aromaroast hot air roaster.  Recently,
I built a BBQ roaster and I am totally flabbergasted by the quality of roasts
I have been getting from this thing.  It knocks the socks off the HWP and the
HWG-- totally out of the ballpark.  No comparison.  Today, I received a new
shipment of beans from Tom and roasted three pounds of green (1 1/2 of Kenya
AA and 1 1/2 of Panama) in a leisurely two hours.  My roaster seems to peak
out at about 3/4 pound at a time, and the roasts are taking about 18 minutes
or so, with a five minute cooling period.  The Kenya I brewed this evening
was out of this world.  Totally unexpected taste.  It was sweet, smooth,
lingering...totally satisfying.  A Kenya?  Not what I expected, but now I
have to rethink what I have felt confident about for years.  It's
uncomfortable to have to form new theories of how things work and interact,
especially when I thought I had them down pat.
Ed Needham

17) From: EskWIRED
 but now I
It may be uncomfortable, but it is VERY good for you to do every once in a
Copernicus caused a similar discomfort once, long ago.
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18) From: Dan Bollinger
quality of roasts
Ed, does this mean your are going to scrap your new air roaster project for
a new one?  I can just see it now... Ed relaxing in a lawn chair, sipping
coffee while peddling a crank turning a paint can full of beans over a
charcoal fire and listening for those first few second cracks.  :)  Dan
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19) From: Ed Needham
If I quit on the air roaster now, all I get for the $500 I've invested is a
bean cooler or a space heater .  Left eye is fairly traumatized from
the surgery, and the eye muscles are all out of whack because of the way they
have to access I do want to finish it, and as soon as my eyes focus again and
become uncrossed, I'll get back on it.  I 'have' temporarily considered
modifying the design to include a drum rather than a fluid bed.  heck, I've
even considered making it a convertible!  One heat source, with variable
air...two roast chambers...one a drum and the other a cylindrical, Sivetz
type fluid bed.  Fluid bed comes first though.
Ed Needham

20) From: Ed Needham
You are so right.  The comfort zone is not where I want to stay for extended
periods of time.  It's great for a while, but it gets nothing accomplished.
Ed Needham

21) From: Dan Bollinger
Ed,   You could raise the roast cylinder vertically for air roasting and lay
it on its side for drum roasting.  ;)
Glad to hear your eye is healing, albeit slowly.   Dan
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22) From: Scott and Michele
Good point.  I wasn't thinking of this in terms of social and other
situations.  Regarding Sept. 11th, one thing I noticed, is I really had no
context for the WTC collapsing.  I heard several people say "it's like a
movie" which may be our way of saying 'we don't have something in reality to
compare this to'.
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23) From: Ed Needham
My overall point was that our brains utilize 'categories' (or stereotypes) on
a routine basis for all areas of thinking, sensation and perception.
One thing I didn't mention was the concept of 'sensory threshhold' and
'sensory saturation' in relation to the coffee experience.
All of our senses have a point where they begin canceling out continuous
sensory input.  We are programmed to be acutely aware of novel input, but our
brains tire of 'same old, same old'.  It's probably an ancient survival
mechanism.  Look at a light for a long time and the light disappears (well it
would if you would hold your eyes still enough).  Look away and you see a
dark spot where your eye tried to cancel out the stimulation.  Same with
hearing...What do you hear (or don't hear) after a very loud rock concert or
after using a lour tool of some sort?  Your ears shut out that stimulation.
Smell?  Same thing.  we become accustomed to smells that are present for long
periods of time.  Only leaving and coming back allows us to smell the stinky
garbage or a musty smell our noses have become accustomed to.
Taste is the same way.  First sip is intense, then it becomes more subtle and
finally, after a long stimulation by the same taste, your sensation is muted
or non-existent.  So a combination of taste stereotyping and taste
overstimulation can affect our perception of a particular coffee

24) From: Ed Needham
heheheh...I think it's just going to have two hats...and with the removal of
a few sheet metal screws, pull off one top and put on the other, using the
same heat and air source.  A rotating drum with air convection seems like an
interesting idea to me.  Probably already done by someone, but I've never
seen one.
Ed Needham

25) From: Scott and Michele
	Interesting point.  A lot of the replies on this topic seem to point
towards varying the beans we roast and not roasting the same thing
over-and-over.  Too much of a good thing can become a bit dull perhaps.
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