How to Develop Your Coffee Palate
A coffee palate is the ability to be able to taste the differences between different roasts and flavors of coffee. When you have a well-exercised palate, you can detect even the smallest hint of flavor and body in each cup of coffee you drink. This greatly enhances the flavors that you experience and can really take coffee drinking to a whole new level of enjoyment that you never thought possible. All you need is a little time and patience and access to many different types of coffee. To begin to exercise your coffee palate muscles, just follow these easy steps.
- Buy Your First Coffee
Head to your local roaster and buy two different types of coffee. Talk to your roaster or the shop owner at your local coffee store and get their help selecting the first two cups of coffee you plan to use for to start exercising your palate.
- Small French Presses
Buy two small French presses. This will allow you to brew small cups of coffee that are perfect for tasting.
- Brew Your Coffee
Using each of your French presses, brew two cups of the new coffee you picked up at the exact same time. While you could use larger presses, this wastes coffee. So stick to using your new small French presses so you don’t waste a lot of coffee to develop your palate.
- Allow the Coffee to Cool
While you may enjoy a really hot cup of coffee that is not the best time to learn about the different body and flavors of the coffee. You will be able to more easily discern the unique flavors of each cup coffee if you allow them to cool a little bit before you begin tasting.
- Alternate Tasting
Sip the coffee, don’t gulp it. Start with one cup and take two or three sips before moving to the next cup of coffee. Alternate back and forth between the cups of coffee while beginning to think about the differences between the two cups.
- Think About the Texture
Before you even begin to think about the specific characteristics of the coffee’s flavor, first take the time to determine the different texture of each cup of coffee. Does one feel heavier in your mouth? Is the acidity cleaner in one compared to the other? Write down what you think about each cup so you can review it later.
- Don’t Worry About Flavor
While your ultimate goal is to determine the types of flavor, don’t focus on this while you exercise. If you do that’s great! Write it down to review later. If you don’t in the beginning, don’t worry about it. It will come with practice.
- Review the Label
You should never read the label while you are doing your test. The idea is for you to develop your palate, and you will only accomplish this if you stretch yourself and try to describe the different characteristics and flavor of each cup yourself. But once you have finished your taste testing experience, take a closer look at the label. Chances are it will describe the taste, body and texture of the coffee using words that you couldn’t quite think of while you were testing the coffee.