Can Coffee Really Taste Like Strawberries?


Counter Culture's Flavor Wheel

Image: Counter Culture Coffee (so good)

I'm not one to flaunt a verbose coffee vernacular. I am eager to point out that taste is a subjective thing. Time of day, mood, temperature, humidity; all of these hundreds of little variables matter. I've often had a cuppa of our own make - roasted by me, brewed to our strict standards, and served hot - that tasted disappointing to me but that some one else thought was fantastic. Then, after a bite of a muffin or scone, had another sip only to think the taste in the very same cup was divine.

Well, it seems I'm on to something. As it turns out, professionals and critics are full of it; at least, in wine. I'd guess coffee is no different.

Now that's not saying "good" coffee isn't better. I'd guess the details of the studies done in wine are comparing well prepared vintages from a variety of different wineries, something that's far more ambiguous than, say, boxed wine vs. Bordeaux. I'd guess it's much easier to separate swill from the good stuff than it is to separate the good stuff from the better stuff.

I've been trending toward this viewpoint since I actually like my coffee in a couple of ways that are supposed to be anathema to any "true" coffee aficionado. One is that I prefer my coffee lukewarm. It's scientifically proven that flavor and taste are most pronounced at this temperature, and I absolutely agree. Of course, once my coffee reaches the ideal temperature I have to slurp it all down in a matter of minutes, but whatever.

The other is that I think the flavor of coffee that has been resting in an (unheated, double walled, glass-lined) carafe for a few hours gets, if not better, then certainly more complex. Things come out that may have been hidden, or become more pronounced when they were subtle. Notice I specifically exclude actively heated elements. Stay away from those as they continue to cook coffee. Resting is better.

What does this mean for you, the coffee lover? Well one is a good life lesson, and that is that anyone who proclaims loudly to know something about something is probably trying to sell you that something. Judge these opinions accordingly.

Basically though it's what we always say at Mad Goat. We'll prepare the best coffee we can. After that, it's up to you.


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