Hi, I have taken the plunge into the roasting world within the fairly recent past...about 1 month ago, I ordered multiple varieties of greens, a Yama Vac-Pot, and the newly designed FreshRoast Plus. I've been reading everything I can via the Internet on the subject of roasting, have roasted MANY batches to varying roast stages, and have tried to pick up as many of the nuances of both roasting and tasting as I can given my brief history in roasting. I have, however, come up with one question I have not seen posted anywhere--checked the archives--and it is this. Is "lightening" coffee with considered an impairment to detecting the flavor notes in the varietals? Is it sort of considered a "no-no"? I enjoy both lightened and non-lightened coffee, but cannot tolerate dairy in any form, so I have a fairly narrow range of options. I am quite frankly curious about the feelings of the group, and the coffee community in general, on the practice.... Don't mean to open a can of worms, but I've not seen anything really posted on the subject. If you can point me to some discussions, or have one here, that'd be great. I am now utterly addicted to freshly roasted varietals, and am working very hard to develop taste buds worthy of this complex substance! Mark All outgoing E-Mail from this address is scanned for viruses by Norton Anti-Virus.
Hi Mark, Welcome to home roasting. I personally have about half the coffee I drink with milk, so I'm not going to say there's anything wrong with that. But ... For tasting coffee, there's nothing quite like regular cupping (or, if you have a half dozen 1 cup pourover filters, that's just as good). You can compare 4 to 6 different coffees, and get all the flavors in the cup as they go from hot to cold. The ritual of it focuses the taste buds. Also, the exercise of writing down ones impressions strengthens the link between tasting and describing, so one isn't struck dumb when tasting something new. So why not cup with a dollop of cream or soy milk? These tend to strongly diminish the fruity and flowery tastes in coffee, since the milk neutralizes the acids that carry them. On the other hand, milk can sometimes help resolve an anonymous roasty taste into a clearer chocolate, malt or other specific flavor. So I don't judge a coffee until I've cupped it, then had it in every possible way I ever drink coffee. For instance, I'm tasting my way through a pair of Plumas (thanks, OC, write up soon). The washed one is a bit light bodied for my taste, especially in espresso. But it could have been put on this earth for cappucinos, in which it alone handily beat the special cappa blend I've been working on for months. It would have been impossible to know this except by trying it out. Jim On 4 Jul 2003 at 22:19, Mark Tosiello wrote: <Snip>
--- Mark Tosiello wrote: Is "lightening" coffee <Snip> I've been roasting for about 5 months, and I have much the same "detecting flavor" issues--entirely independent of lightening. I'm finding the taste learning curve to be fascinating and slow. So I've relaxed a bit and tried to quit worrying whether I can detect the blueberry or if I have wiped out the nutmeg because I've gone an extra few seconds into second crack. I initially had a strong preference for darker roast, chocolaty, full bodied, roasty flavors. I do believe that the varietal distinctions require a more mature palate and may be more of an acquired or learned taste. Each week, it seems, I have a new sense of "oh, now I see what they mean!" (As distinguished from, "What on earth are they talking about!?") Now, to the lightening issue. On occasion, a bit of lightening almost "releases" some flavors I hadn't noticed before. But since roasting my own, I use only a fraction of what I used previously----usually, none at all. When I drink coffee elsewhere, the amount of lightening goes way up--usually to soften annoying flavors. These are just some observations from another near-newbie. I hope some others check in with more experienced perspectives and their usual comforting advice, "If it feels good, drink it." ===== Martin Do you Yahoo!? SBC Yahoo! DSL - Now only $29.95 per month!http://sbc.yahoo.com
On Friday, July 4, 2003, at 09:19 PM, Mark Tosiello wrote: <Snip> If you are interested in comparing notes on taste, the only way to do it is without the lightener. However, if you are interested in pleasing you own taste buds, you are free to lighten as you please. What you taste is determined by your genetic make-up and your experiences. As such, you are unique. You will find many suggestions on this list of things that the poster feels makes a coffee taste better. When you try them, some will work and others won't. And something that does not work now may well work after your experiences include a couple of years with good coffee. In other words, if you like it lightened, drink it lightened. However, you might try soy or even goat's milk to see if they work for you. Jim Gundlach roasting over pecan wood fires in La Place, Alabama
Hi Jim, Thanks for the very thoughtful reply! I've cupped several varieties, and I do agree that there is nothing like tasting the natural flavors unadulterated. That said, I also agree with the fact that it's important to taste the coffee in all of it's personal iterations before judging it's place on one's list of favorites. This is just a superb "avocation"...I've always loved coffee, but roasting and comparing is a source of great satisfaction for me.... Thanks again! Mark All outgoing E-Mail from this address is scanned for viruses by Norton Anti-Virus.
Hi, Thanks for the input! I feel much as you do...I'm a "newbie" to this biz, but I'm loving it! I've had the same questions and musings as you describe...glad I'm not the only one who has said..."How did he detect THAT flavor?"...or "Nuts, I can't find that in this cup". However, as you say, each day brings new discovery! Thanks again! Mark All outgoing E-Mail from this address is scanned for viruses by Norton Anti-Virus.
Hi Martin, Although I've been roasting coffee for many years and have gone through many of the brewing processes along the way gathering a collection of drip, vac, espresso, and roasting equipment, I still always feel like a "newbie" and I'm constantly learning new things about coffee. For example, every year the same type of coffee I drank the previous year can taste quite different in the new harvest. Coffee is a constant source of surprise and enjoyment. I have a personal method for enjoying and sampling the tastes of unlightened vs. lightened coffee. Often, almost every morning, using any of the brewing methods, I brew enough for each at the same time and taste (enjoy) them together. For example I will brew espresso using a double spout and use one espresso cup and one cappa cup. One goes to a lightened drink and one gets enjoyed by itself. Or, with any of the other methods, I'll brew enough for the lightened drink but put some aside to taste "straight". It's surprising how different taste elements show themselves in each cup but, most importantly, it's very enjoyable for me when I drink coffee this way. I do that in the morning when, it is said, your ability to taste is at it's optimum. Later in the day it's "unadulterated" espressos or ristrettos. Anyhow it's a great journey and I'm sure you'll enjoy it and expand in various ways along the way. Don't worry about "no-no's". Experts don't know any more than you do when it comes to your taste. In this group as well as others, the folks openly discuss nearly every variation of coffee that exists (and invent a few new ones as well!) The coffee will be delicious if you think it is. Nobody knows what tastes good to you more than you do. Enjoy, Bob Yellin <Snip>
At 10:19 PM 7/4/2003 -0400, you wrote: <Snip> I've been home roasting for just about 18 months now. When I first started I always used lightening and sugar. I have just about weaned myself off. I'm down to only 'adulterating' my first cup of the day. I usually will top off that first cup when it gets down to about 1/3 full. What I have personally found is that when drinking that first cup it is just coffee and I really can't distinguish it from any other coffee I've roasted. When I top off, some of the flavors start coming through and when I finally have my second unadulterated cup I can really distinguish the flavors. I keep my roasted coffee in mason jars that are numbered and index the jar numbers on my palm. Sometimes I don't know what I brewed until I look it up. Most often I can tell what I am drinking on that second cup and sometimes when I top it off. Rarely, if ever, can I tell on that first cup. I only have 4 or 5 varietals roasted at any one time so I am guessing from a limited field. I used to always know what I was going to brew but now I kind of like challenging myself. -- Greg Plymouth, Mi.