[Homeroast] Response to flavor

John M. Howison johnmhowison at gmail.com
Sun Aug 17 14:25:22 CDT 2014

The current discussion on this list of the effect on flavor of storage
practices raises in my mind the issue of the degree to which our
judgments on flavor may be socially induced, rather than objective.
After all, the notion of taste is itself subjective rather than
objective.   Without objective reason, we may like to think that
beings of general "refinement" are somehow likely to have refined
tastes in coffee.  Is coffee really objectively better after a given
period of "rest," or have we reached a social consensus that it is so?
 Is oxygen or
CO2 invariably good or bad?

Let me at the outset allow that coffee objectively loses elements of
flavor over time, becomes staler and staler until eventually it hardly
has much recognizeable coffee flavor.

I would point out even in high-end environments, coffee in epicurean
France and northern Italy is often so carbonized as to have lost many
of the flavors present at moderate roasts.  In my judgment, France is
not the place to go for great coffee.  Some sophisticates never did
think so, favoring Vienna, which brewed (still brews?) coffee made
with relatively expensive beans, roasted moderately.

And consider the Ethiopians, who were drinking coffee long before it
got as far west as Vienna (much less Seattle).   Ethiopian
sophisticates don't even let roasted beans get cool before brewing.

When Sweet Maria's describes a new offering, its comments on flavors
detectable at successive roast levels sound to me to have an element
of objectivity.  Much of what I read about the effects of "rest"
strikes me as  _____, -- spread it on your lawn and watch the grass
grow greener.

Is it enough to say store coffee when and how you like it?  After all
we are very general agreement that time is the enemy of good coffee.
Contra muros, mater rubicolla

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