We’ve all had coffee, some of us live on the stuff and wont function without it (yes I am guilty also). But what do we know about tasting coffee?
EFTM recently attended a breakfast with Nespresso where multiple coffees were consumed. We did a coffee tasting session which for us was completely new. We wanted to share this experience with you today.
There are so many different origins and blends of coffee so we asked Mitch Monaghan, Nespresso Brand Ambassador, about coffee and how to properly understand all the various flavours available.
Mitch, talk us through the best way to taste coffee
“To explore the profile of a Grand Cru, the best thing to do is start with a black coffee, as either an espresso (40mL) or a long black (110 mL). Avoid adding milk or sugar yet, it’s important to discover the coffee’s raw notes first.
1. Start by taking in the visual details of the coffee’s crema. A golden brown colour and a certain thickness indicate that the coffee hasn’t been over or under extracted. This is a very fine line and it can be quite a challenge to get it right consistently.
2. Next, disrupt the crema by gently breaking it with a smooth stroke towards you, while inhaling through your nose at the same time. This releases the thousands of aroma molecules, which are inside and underneath the crema. At this point you will start to receive the coffee’s unique profile and subtle notes.
3. Now, it’s time for my personal favourite, the tasting. Consider coffee tasting like wine tasting. When you taste the coffee, you want to slurp it so that it is evenly distributed across your palate. This ensures you are better able to detect all the qualities of the coffee.
4. Stop. Think about how the coffee sits on your palate. What sensations do you get? How heavy is the body of the coffee? Think about what elements you enjoy because this will now become the base knowledge you need to find the right coffees for you.
5. Add milk to create a different coffee recipe and pay attention to how the profile changes. I prefer doing this with two coffees at a time for comparison.”
Reading this is one thing, but putting it into practice is completely interesting. It may look a little strange at the local cafe but do it with some friends and talk about the smell and taste experiences. It is almost like wine tasting except doing this in the workplace wont get you fired.
When looking for a good coffee, what are the things to be looking out for?
“Look out for a smooth, thick and consistent crema, rich and fragrant aromas and a pleasant lingering on the palate.
The perfect coffee has been crafted from cherry to cup. It’s the right farming practices, quality selection, grinding and extraction that all lead to a coffee.”
How does Nespresso create such a range of flavours and what impact does the country of origin have on the flavour?
“Coffee, like wine, is incredibly diverse in taste and aroma, which is largely due to where it is grown. For example, beans from Ethiopia are incredibly floral and reminiscent of Jasmine, whereas beans from Colombia, grown at high altitudes in the mountain slopes, are known for their fruity and winey notes.
At Nespresso, we source our coffee from 11 different countries of origin. This gives us the opportunity to craft pure origin coffees or to blend different origins together to create something new and unique for coffee lovers. Only 1-2% of the world’s green coffee crop meets the Nespresso specific taste, aroma profiles and quality standards. The roasting and grind finesse will all play part in the strength of the coffee, the body and the flavour. The options are almost endless!”
We were really surprised to hear just how seriously Nespresso takes their coffee origin selection particularly around their sustainability programs. We appreciate Mitch taking the time to share this with EFTM.
If you’ve made it this far and you haven’t had your coffee yet then now is a REALLY good time for one. Remember to get your sniffy-sniff on that crema.