Tired of those undefined “refreshing drinks” that go under the guise of coffee called strange names like “caramel vanilla mochaccino” something or other? Want to know what real coffee tastes like and differentiate between Ethiopian, Java, Brazilian Santos or Minas coffees.
Well, you can but you would need to develop your palate. That is not such a quick process but it is definitely achievable and above all enjoyable. Here are 8 steps that will do the trick for you.
1. Go to a specialist coffee roaster shop
Skip your local or any other supermarket, or any other pre-packaged coffee for that matter. When you develop your palate, you will quickly know if any of those are worth buying.
Ask the roaster to grind for you on the spot two different types of coffee, either for a French press od chezve/ibrik, depending which way you decide to go. When the roaster starts grinding, you will get your taste of palate developing. There is nothing more enticing to a coffee drinker that the smell of freshly ground coffee and the warmth of it in roaster’s special bags.
2. Get a French press or chezve/ibrik
French press probably sounds self-explanatory and is extremely popular among coffee lovers. If you are not familiar with it, there are numerous videos available on YouTube that will be of help.
Chezve or ibrik on the other hand is a specially designed pot to brew Turkish coffee. This is a relatively simple way of brewing which, when done right, it can produce exquisite aroma, a step further in developing your palate. Brewing Turkish style coffee requires that you place two to three table spoons of ground coffee in the chezve pot, get the water to boil in a separate container, pour the water halfway to the top of chezve and let it come to boil again. Done.
3. Brew two types of coffee at the same time
Developing your coffee palate and the ability to differentiate between various types of coffee requires that you do a comparative test. That should be sort of a blind test, read the labels later on.
4. Start tasting at the right temperature!
You will have to let the coffee cool a bit before you taste it, not only will you burn your tongue but you will not be able to sense the difference between the two aromas, and there goes your palate development!
5. Try acquiring the aroma first and then combine with other foods
Smelling the aroma of freshly brewed coffee first, even before you take a single sip is an excellent way to develop your palate. After sensing the difference between the two types of coffee, next step would be to taste them along with foods that have flavors that are close to coffee, and then those that represent a contrast. For example, like you get a spoonful of lemon sorbet in between dishes in a Chinese restaurant, Turkish coffee is served with a glass of cold water and a very sweet rose flavored desert called lokum.
6. Concentrate on the texture
In the beginning, don’t focus too much on the flavor of the coffee you’re tasting, try to sense the texture and differentiate between the two cups of coffee. You can also try to sense one coffee is lighter or heavier than the other, whether there is more acidity in one brew or the other, as well as any other element of taste that comes to mind.
7. Enjoy the experience
In many countries drinking coffee is not just something that you do to wash down the food you ate, but an elongated process of enjoyment of every sip, combination with water, fruit or desserts a chance to have a relaxed conversation with somebody. The same should be for your tasting process.
8. Last but not least: be patient
The process of developing a coffee palate, or any other palate for that matter is not an instantaneous thing it takes time, and along with it patience, but if you persist, it will come!
So there you have it, this process is not complicated, it might take time, but is certain to bring a lot of enjoyment.