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allenkt
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2009
Posts: 17
Location: Oahu, Hawaii
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Mar 16, 2013, 4:31pm
Subject: Fresh ground coffee smell vs taste
 

I've always assumed this isn't possible so I'm going to be upset at all the wasted years if it turns out I'm wrong.  But why is it that my brewed coffee doesn't taste like the coffee smells right when it comes out of the grinder?  I still enjoy the taste but I would enjoy it even more if I could ever get the two flavors to match.

I use fresh roasted beans and grind them in my Virtuoso and depending on the bean, I can smell different flavors.  My favorite is the slightly chocolate smell I get from Guatamalan and my local Hawaiian beans.  However, once brewed I really can't taste those flavors anymore.  I do drink my coffee with heavy cream (but no sugar) because I still can't handle it black (I've tried.....) but even black I didn't taste those flavors.

My current brewing method is with a Chemex and 201 water.  I also have an Aeropress but don't use it because I prefer to fill my 20oz mug and that's much harder to do with an Aeropress.

So is there some secret that I'm missing out on or is it just a sad fact of life that brewed coffee doesn't taste like fresh ground coffee (kind of like the smell of vanilla vs the taste)?  I am open to other brewing methods as well if that's what it takes.
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squaremile
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Joined: 6 Jan 2011
Posts: 83
Location: Portlandia
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sat Mar 16, 2013, 5:24pm
Subject: Re: Fresh ground coffee smell vs taste
 

Two things:

  1. If you put cream in the coffee you definitely won't taste what you are wanting. So that right there is the obvious answer.

  2. You are also conflating smell and taste, which are different senses, even though they are related. Additionally, you are conflating the smell of the grounds with the smell of the brewed coffee. Again, these won't be the same simply because they are different things. Kind of like the difference in smelling cookie dough and then a freshly baked cookie.

My advice is drink black, and then start to take each step as it's own sensory experience. Smell and look at the whole beans, smell the grounds, watch and smell the slurry while brewing, then smell and taste the final product. Each thing has it's own experience that should be appreciated for what it is.
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barkingburro
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barkingburro
Joined: 23 Nov 2011
Posts: 184
Location: Irvine, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Vac Pot: Trifecta MB, CafeSolo,...
Posted Sat Mar 16, 2013, 6:50pm
Subject: Re: Fresh ground coffee smell vs taste
 

squaremile Said:

Two things:

If you put cream in the coffee you definitely won't taste what you are wanting. So that right there is the obvious answer.

Posted March 16, 2013 link


False.  Cream can heighten the sense of chocolatey flavor.

 
- Michael
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barkingburro
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barkingburro
Joined: 23 Nov 2011
Posts: 184
Location: Irvine, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Vac Pot: Trifecta MB, CafeSolo,...
Posted Sat Mar 16, 2013, 6:55pm
Subject: Re: Fresh ground coffee smell vs taste
 

allenkt Said:

I use fresh roasted beans ...

Posted March 16, 2013 link

How many days since roast, typically (earliest to latest)?

Have you ever tasted anyone else's coffee that matched with what you were smelling?  What flavors tended to perform well, both smell and taste?

 
- Michael
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allenkt
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Joined: 25 Jan 2009
Posts: 17
Location: Oahu, Hawaii
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Mar 16, 2013, 9:30pm
Subject: Re: Fresh ground coffee smell vs taste
 

The beans are usually within a week after roasting although I have an unopened bag in the freezer right now because I ended up with too much.  My preferred beans are Ethiopian Yirgachaffee although I can't ever find those here (Hawaii) so I'll have to get some online, taking away some of the freshness.

Probably the closest I've found to matching the flavor to the smell is when I cold brew my coffee using my Toddy.  I can add cream to that and it definitely enhances the chocolate flavor.  Although I've gotten to prefer my coffee hot so I haven't made any cold brew in a while.

I'll brew some more tomorrow and see how the taste is different before adding any cream.  Using the Chemex, I can definitely smell the difference from the grounds once it starts blooming.
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barkingburro
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barkingburro
Joined: 23 Nov 2011
Posts: 184
Location: Irvine, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Vac Pot: Trifecta MB, CafeSolo,...
Posted Sun Mar 17, 2013, 1:36am
Subject: Re: Fresh ground coffee smell vs taste
 

Allen,

You're going to hate this suggestion, so I'm going to bury it in with two others...


1) Try adding a little sugar next time.

2) Right after you add the cream, try adding one ice cube to your cup and taste it repeatedly as it cools.

3) Put a clothespin on your nose, grind the beans, brew the coffee, pour the cup and add the cream, wait three minutes, then remove the clothespin and sniff and drink.


Any success?  Let me know.  And no, I'm not messin' with you.  Although April 1 is only 2 weeks away.

 
- Michael
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allenkt
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2009
Posts: 17
Location: Oahu, Hawaii
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Mar 17, 2013, 1:46am
Subject: Re: Fresh ground coffee smell vs taste
 

barkingburro Said:

Allen,

You're going to hate this suggestion, so I'm going to bury it in with two others...


1) Try adding a little sugar next time.

2) Right after you add the cream, try adding one ice cube to your cup and taste it repeatedly as it cools.

3) Put a clothespin on your nose, grind the beans, brew the coffee, pour the cup and add the cream, wait three minutes, then remove the clothespin and sniff and drink.


Any success?  Let me know.  And no, I'm not messin' with you.  Although April 1 is only 2 weeks away.

Posted March 17, 2013 link

Hmmm.....interesting suggestions.  Number 1 is out because I'm pretty anti-sugar and to be honest, I don't think I even have any sugar in the house.  But I'll try the other two and see what happens.  And what is the point of the clothespin during that entire process?
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barkingburro
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barkingburro
Joined: 23 Nov 2011
Posts: 184
Location: Irvine, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Vac Pot: Trifecta MB, CafeSolo,...
Posted Sun Mar 17, 2013, 2:28am
Subject: Re: Fresh ground coffee smell vs taste
 

allenkt Said:

?..And what is the point of the clothespin during that entire process?

Posted March 17, 2013 link

As one gets more obsessed with comparing the smell of grounds with the taste of coffee, I would expect them to take a good whiff of the grounds always prior to tasting the coffee.

1) You're actually comparing the aroma of grounds with the aroma of coffee, not the taste.  You just think it's taste, but recall how we sense the flavor of an orange -- from the smell, not the taste.

2) Taking a big whiff of grounds first will desensitize you to the second whiff.

 
- Michael
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msboo
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Joined: 10 Nov 2012
Posts: 257
Location: Kentucky
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso, Capresso...
Drip: Technivorm, Bonavita
Posted Sun Mar 17, 2013, 8:44am
Subject: Re: Fresh ground coffee smell vs taste
 

I do not like Vienna roast AT ALL---just me, my taste. I drink mostly single origin (med to light roasts) except for a blend carried by our local roaster. It's their best selling blend, which is the only reason I gave it a try because it includes Vienna roast.

First brew while pouring I could smell that Vienna---a turn-off for me. When tasting before adding anything, much to my surprise it tasted nothing like it smelled then only better after adding my usual cream & sugar. Funny but it's the Vienna in this blend that makes it so good! A couple of employees at that roaster rave about this blend too but, like me, are not Vienna fans.

Go figure
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CoffeeRon
Senior Member
CoffeeRon
Joined: 26 Apr 2009
Posts: 748
Location: Tacoma Wa.
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Wega Lyra, Europiccola(still...
Grinder: Macap M7D, Pharos, Vario W,...
Vac Pot: Sunbeam CoffeeMaster
Drip: Melita BCM-4
Roaster: FR SR500,B-1600, SC/TO
Posted Sun Mar 17, 2013, 10:39am
Subject: Re: Fresh ground coffee smell vs taste
 

One thing to consider is that very small changes in the grind make a big difference in the taste. One or two clicks on your grinder setting will make a significant difference in the end result. I would try playing with your grind, one click at a time, and see if you can get the flavor tuned in more to your liking. Cheers, Ron
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