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Is it just me?
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Discussions > Coffee > Home Roast > Is it just me?  
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RichardCoffee
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Posted Fri Aug 16, 2013, 2:02pm
Subject: Re: Is it just me?
 

I agree. Green grape? I don't think that's a very distinct taste. I feel the same about fresh apricot. Apricot jam, I can relate to. Lemon, strawberry, blueberry for sure. Likewise chocolate, caramel and nuts. But nut skins? I think that belongs with lemon blossoms. Still, I like the seller of greens to give me as big a description as he can. It helps me decide what to buy, and now, 3 years or so since I got serious about this hobby, I taste a whole lot more than I used to. I used to like the roast flavor. Now, not so much. Increasingly, I stay out of 2nd crack and find much more flavorful coffees.
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Evazan
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Posted Fri Aug 16, 2013, 5:03pm
Subject: Re: Is it just me?
 

While I agree that some of the notes may be over the top (green grape vs red grape) I find a lot of Tom's notes from sweet marias really help me in selecting coffee's to buy.  Maybe I don't taste exactly what he is but after buying from them for 7 years I've gotten an idea of what his tasting notes mean to me.

To me I can really tell the difference between "bright" coffees described as having lemon, apple, or peach notes.  Nutty and creamy are distinctly different as well.  I've tasted earthy and spicy as well.  I'm definitely no expert taster but I think a lot of it may have to do with learning what the various tasting notes mean in the context of coffee.  I'm also into beer and I will say that citrus in beer means something different to me than citrus in coffee.
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rmongiovi
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Posted Fri Aug 16, 2013, 11:29pm
Subject: Re: Is it just me?
 

Really?  I find Tom's descriptions for the most part almost completely useless.  I'm not sure how *he* knows what half the things he uses to describe his coffees taste like, but I'm absolutely certain I've no idea what they mean.  I buy from Sweet Maria's because I know they care about the quality of the beans.  I've managed to learn that there are some things he says that mean I won't care for that particular coffee, but I still have no idea what the taste he's trying to describe actually is.
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NobbyR
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Posted Sat Aug 17, 2013, 2:37am
Subject: Re: Is it just me?
 

Shawn12 Said:

(...) "Lemon blossoms" for example ...don't think I have ever eaten an actual lemon blossom before as I doubt most have. (...)

Posted August 16, 2013 link

Neither has the person giving that cupping impression, though she or he might have smelled them. The description just tells you what the aroma of the coffee reminded the supper of. It's more or less subjective. "Flowery" might be another way do describe the same impression. That's why the coffee taster's flavor wheel tries to standardize those descriptions. After all, there are no lemon blossoms in your espresso, nor dark chocolate or fruits.

 
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DansCoffeePhase
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Posted Sat Aug 17, 2013, 8:11am
Subject: Re: Is it just me?
 

I've learned to translate the over-the-top descriptions to my own personal taste.  For example, an Ethiopian described as black tea with lemon will taste thin, astringent and sour to me and I will avoid it.
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Shawn12
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Posted Sat Aug 17, 2013, 10:09am
Subject: Re: Is it just me?
 

DansCoffeePhase Said:

I've learned to translate the over-the-top descriptions to my own personal taste.  For example, an Ethiopian described as black tea with lemon will taste thin, astringent and sour to me and I will avoid it.

Posted August 17, 2013 link

I guess this is really my point.

IMO The customer shouldn't have to do any "translating" or have years of experience buying from a supplier before the know what they are getting.

More substance and bean quality information less subjective fluff.
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dana_leighton
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Posted Sat Aug 17, 2013, 1:42pm
Subject: Re: Is it just me?
 

rmongiovi Said:

I'm not sure how *he* knows what half the things he uses to describe his coffees taste like

Posted August 16, 2013 link

Usually the taste is more of an aromatic experience (with the exception of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami). The aromatic sense can be trained with something like Nez du Café. I have a (used) set on its way to me so that I might be able to pick up on some of the more subtle flavors/aromas. Remember also how much coffee Tom cups - do anything that much and you will get pretty good at it.

 
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
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rmongiovi
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Posted Sun Aug 18, 2013, 1:06am
Subject: Re: Is it just me?
 

As I said, I buy from Sweet Maria's because he's good at selecting premium coffee.  But if the purpose of him writing those flowery descriptions is to communicate, then it seems to be that he's more interested in sounding pretentious.  Apparently I'm not the only person in his audience who isn't able to correctly interpret the tastes/smells he's trying to describe.  It just seems to me that when I have to google the things he's using to describe the flavor of a coffee in order to try to guess what he's trying to say then he's missing his target of communicating with his customer.  I suppose he's trying to raise the esthetic appeal of his cupping results to that of a wine tasting, but I would suggest to him that this isn't a goal he should be striving for.
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rmongiovi
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Posted Sun Aug 18, 2013, 2:28pm
Subject: Re: Is it just me?
 

I brought this up some time ago in the Q&A forum.

Here's the link
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gregr
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Posted Sun Aug 18, 2013, 3:02pm
Subject: Re: Is it just me?
 

On the occasions when I get in conversations with regular folks that don't roast their own coffee I try to get across how much fun the hobby is and how much better the coffee I roast is compared to what they get at their favorite place [Starbucks usually]. How there are delicious flavors like blueberry and citrus that they will never experience at those big chain coffee places. And then... I will get out my smartphone and bring up one of Tom's cupping notes... and we all have a good laugh because they are so over the top.
That said, I imagine all the time Tom is not doing coffee related work is spent eating at gourmet restaurants and shopping at gourmet markets to improve his already legendary flavor vocabulary. He lives in the right place for it- food in the bay area is just about as good as it gets.
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