Expand Your Palate

Fresh Cup Roasters Realm article by Scott Merle
Photos, PDF and excerpt courtesy of Fresh Cup Magazine

For those of you who read the specialty coffee and tea magazine Fresh Cup, you may have noticed the “Roasters Realm” article by our one and only Roastmaster and Coffee Buyer Scott Merle.  Read his words of wisdom on expanding your palate and building your library of tastes, which is a necessity whether you are on the path of becoming a coffee roaster, buyer or just a serious coffee nerd.

Here is a small excerpt from the article:

There is an endless supply of substances you can use for palate stimulation during training. You can create your own cuppings using chocolates, spices, breakfast cereals, nuts, teas, Kool-Aid, rum—whatever. Just remember to keep it all in context. You’re looking to expand the range of taste sensations you recognize and can verbalize. The best cuppers don’t just throw
around descriptions of exotic fruits or fancy chocolates; they can identify subtle characteristics in coffees that compare with the components they recognize from these other items. It is from this process that the cupper hones skills and reinforces past lessons.

You can read the full article via PDF here.

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No Responses to “Expand Your Palate”

  1. Will Frith says:

    This article is as timely as ever, as I’m really trying to hone my palate. Looking around online, all I can ever find are pages giving really esoteric and abstract profile descriptions. Scott’s inclusive writing style made for an easy-to-digest, inspiring how-to for one to develop his or her own palate.

    I’ve been working on including tasting as an integral part of Espresso 101 in order to emphasize the importance of proper technique – from dosing to tamping to extraction.

    Next on the list is to incorporate Scott’s suggestions into the course…

    As always, Scott, the article was helpful without being overbearing.

  2. Eric Taylor says:

    Hey Scott! Can you translate this into Kinyarwanda for me? Some folks over this way could use it. Thanks!

  3. Scott says:

    Well Eric, I’m not sure I can. I bet you could find someone to tackle that. Maybe we should ask Julie Beals how Fresh Cup caters to their African audience!
    What’s been the strangest thing you’ve tasted since moving to Rwanda, Eric?

  4. Jason says:

    I agree with what Will is saying. I was just talking to Heather about all of this while in Olympia in September and next thing I know, it is in Fresh Cup!

    We are working hard to not only help our staff understand tasting but also our clients.

    Great work and thanks for that!

    ..be bold
    Jason Duncan
    Cafe Evoke in Oklahoma City

  5. Eric Taylor says:

    There is some great tasting food here in Rwanda! Some of the food I don’t plan on eating here however, like termites. A lot of protein there!

    A lot of people here love banana beer, which is basically fermented banana juice mixed with water and cereal (sorghum). It tastes a lot like it sounds, fermented banana. Yum! It is not necessarily strange, but it is sweet beyond belief!

    Anyway, thanks for the article Scott. I will be doing a lot of “cupping 101″ over here with folks, and your article will be put to good use.

  6. Amy says:

    Scott- Great article and it’s serving as a really good resource for the Tazza D’Oro baristas and our customers. In fact, we will be using your article tonight for our African coffee cupping!

  7. Heather says:

    We had an impromptu apple tasting last week here at the Roastery! We are spoiled with the Farmer’s Market right next door that is ripe with Washington produced apples! But I have been longing to taste the east coast Macintosh this season. That one doesn’t seem to be available here. But I’m not complaining…. I will try to post a “blurb” about our tasting here real soon!

  8. Amy says:

    An apple tasting – what a great idea! We will get some local McIntosh apples out to you in the next few days.

  9. Heather says:

    See I don’t even know how to spell it !

  10. Amy says:

    Heather, check the mail early next week cause there is a surprise coming for you and all the folks at B&B. Happy tasting!!!

  11. Oliver says:

    Scott, you write pretty darn good….

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