Training Your Palate

Most of us love coffee but recognizing and vocalizing nuanced flavors, like sweet leather in the Woodly Ave specialty coffee blend or berry jam in the 11:20 specialty coffee blend, takes training and the right vocabulary. Once you start to train your palate, you can heighten your level of enjoyment by pulling out flavors you wouldn’t typically recognize.

Before you begin tasting you will first need to sharpen your vocabulary. Study a coffee flavor wheel and learn the flavor categories like fruit, chocolate, nutty, spice, savory, floral and others. Once you identify the primary flavors you can then practice pinpointing the specifics of those flavors. For instance, if you identify spice, think, is it more peppery or is it more cinnamon?

Once you’re comfortable with the flavor wheel you should identify where you taste the five different flavors on your tongue: sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami. An easy way to practice identifying these flavors is to taste potent ingredients that are associated with these flavors, i.e. a sugar cube or kosher salt.

Next, you will want to practice with a variety of coffee with different flavor profiles. Try with all four blends of BLACK FUEL TRADING CO. direct trade specialty coffee. Start with the sweeter coffee, acidic, then chocolate and so on around the wheel.

Remember to keep notes while you are sampling. Write down your initial thoughts. Then, take another sip and add modifications. Make sure you completely coat your palate. Do this by slurping then swirling the coffee around in your mouth for multiple seconds.

Keep practicing and sharpening your taste buds and you will be an expert in no time.

You can purchase all BLACK FUEL TRADING CO. specialty coffee by visiting our website.