Please, No Fruitiness, No Chocolate, No citrus or berries

strauss44

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Sep 15, 2020
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I see more and more of a trend for coffee roasters to "bring out" the fruity flavors and the chocolate tones, maybe also a hint of citrus (tartness; similar to what I find in Italian roasts).

If "the many" like those flavors, fine. It's just not my preference. But here lies the problem.

I can't find a coffee roast that has what may be called an "old" flavor.

The latest I remember from a 2009 trip to Hallstatt in Austria. At the Pension the coffee had a "strong" flavor, what I may call pure, dry, medium roast, with none of the fruitiness, or sweet, or chocolate, or citrus. But also no bitterness.

When I say strong, yes it was. I had no problem hiking the mountains all day.

When I use the word citrus, I don't mean acidity. The coffee should have a dry flavor, which I believe comes from acidity.

Anyone have any comments?

Any help in this regard will be greatly appreciated.
strauss44
 
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MntnMan62

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Nov 15, 2019
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New Jersey
I think those descriptive tasting notes are merely a gimmick by the industry to create this allure that the wine industry has adopted. Frankly, I've never tasted any of the things they describe in some of the wines I've drunk. I just know if I like it or not. And frankly, roof tar and apshalt aren't desirable tastes that I want in my wine or coffee, yet read enough of these things and you'll see them mentioned. It just makes me laugh.
 

wstsider

Member
May 24, 2019
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I see more and more of a trend for coffee roasters to "bring out" the fruity flavors and the chocolate tones, maybe also a hint of citrus (tartness; similar to what I find in Italian roasts).

If "the many" like those flavors, fine. It's just not my preference. But here lies the problem.

I can't find a coffee roast that has what may be called an "old" flavor.

The latest I remember from a 2009 trip to Hallstatt in Austria. At the Pension the coffee had a "strong" flavor, what I may call pure, dry, medium roast, with none of the fruitiness, or sweet, or chocolate, or citrus. But also no bitterness.

When I say strong, yes it was. I had no problem hiking the mountains all day.

When I use the word citrus, I don't mean acidity. The coffee should have a dry flavor, which I believe comes from acidity.

Anyone have an comments?

Any help in this regard will be greatly appreciated.
strauss44

Well I’m not a roaster or anybody just a simple guy that likes a good cup of coffee. I’ll throw my 2 cents in this one but for those certain flavors u don’t want avoid African coffee beans because they are unique in that specific flavor which is something I love about a good Ethiopian. If there’s one guy I trust on this site and I always use his expertise on certain stuff like this it’s my guy @musicphan because he knows his coffee’s very well. Ask him.
 

Musicphan

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May 11, 2014
1,508
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Kansas City
Flavor is impacted by 3 different things - Origin / Roast Level / Processing. The origin is simply the country the coffee is grown in and various parts of the world tend to taste slightly different due to the soil/mineral content. The second factor is the roast level - which unfortunately there is not really a standard in our industry. My medium roast is most likely 'light' if comparing to a large commercial roaster like $tarbucks. Once a roast has hit a certain level the sugars within the bean start to burn an the coffee takes on more of the 'burnt' taste vs. the origin. Lastly, the processing, a washed processed coffee is typically cleaner / brighter tasting cup. Natural processed coffee are typically sweeter and have fruity notes.

When I'm evaluating coffees I cup/taste and review against the SCA flavor wheel. This is the best way to understand what your tasting - honestly without having some visual guide its very difficult unless you have an extremely good pallet. I spend a lot of time doing sensory training with small 'smell kits'.. you open the container, smell and trying to determine what flavor your smelling. It's HARD... so I guess the fact that people can't recognize the flavors in coffee is not unusual. However, it's certainly not fictitious, it's just that your pallet has learned those flavors. When I have tastings in my shop I have people focus on the inner ring - those are the most 'generic' tastes. I do understand from the customer's perspective how it can come across gimmicky... I try to avoid putting to much emphasis because most can't take taste the nuances.

https://www.scanews.coffee/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/SCAA_FlavorWheel.01.18.15.jpg

Now, regarding the original OP, there is not a lot of info to be able to really suggest a good coffee for you. Considering you were in Europe having the best cup of coffee it may have been Robusta (vs. Arabica) coffee which is not as common in the US. It's known for higher caffeine content, bolder flavor but not consider as good (but that is changing). For you, assuming your based in the US, find a local roaster and try their dark roast blend. I would also recommend maybe starting with South American coffee (Peru / Brazil). Hope that helps!
 
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strauss44

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Thanks for your comments

Thank you all for your extensive comments.

I have attended numerous cupping events. I have to agree that I have almost never been able to taste the categories that are now used to describe coffee.

I have often thought that I am a fussy taster of coffee, although I would not consider myself as a connoisseur, I do know what I not just like but "want". Hence this latest tour of searching.

I was born in Europe in a city (my username gives you a hint) that had, in my youth, the old "Kaffeehaus" culture. That's where my "taste" in coffee was imprinted. I like a strong coffee, without bitterness, no sweetness, no tartness, no fruitiness, but with a dry acidic palate. By strong I mean fullness, not diluteness. I may be inventing terms, but as one of you noted, it's hard to find the right words.

What region have I tried? A two part question I think.

First, where I partake in Coffee. I live in Calgary Canada. We get mostly what we call West Coast roasts (modeled likely after Starbucks). The current trend in roasting is "full bodied with chocolate and/or fruity overtones to bring out sweetness". May be OK for some, or even the majority, but it's simply not my taste.

In all fairness to Starbucks (I have not been a favorite customer) their Espresso has become less bitter, and their Blonde has become less fruity. A ways to go, but it's in the right direction.

Second what coffee region have I tried? Most coffee sold here is Pacifica. That, in my opinion, spawned the trend towards chocolate and fruitiness.

I generally search for Arabica, but I find if grown not in places like Ethiopia, and roasted to West Coast trends, it has the similar chocolate and fruitiness overtones. Ethiopia bean is my strong preference, but I have a problem with finding my preferred roasting.

I have not tried any processed coffee, because the washing out I had thought would wash out just what I prefer, the dry acidic palate. However, it's a thought, and will give it a try. Robusta, not yet tried (don't know why not), is another path I need to investigate.

And WOW, the color/flavor wheel. I have never seen this creature. And a creature it really is. Someone has spent a huge amount of time collecting the information on the wheel. It's impressive. Thank for that link.

The wheel has given me a time of thought. I place myself in the lower left. Really, thank you for that link. I now have a much better idea of what to look for, and/or what to ask for. But first I need to figure out what words to use.

Best Regards, Stay Healthy, “strauss”.
 
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Musicphan

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May 11, 2014
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Kansas City
Hey Strauss... just a few follow up comments. When we talk about the origin - we are talking about the origin of the bean (I.E. central America / Africa) - not the location of the roaster. You can find pretty much most origins from most places anymore. While you are searching, drink what we call are single origin coffees vs. blends. SO's are coffees from one farm / region / country - this will help you figure out what you like and don't like. The processing is the way we get the seeds dried.. stay away from natural / focus on washed. Lastly, Robusta is a diff plant strain, while not common anymore it was very common 20-30 years ago. I would suggest may trying a Sumatra coffee... good luck!
 
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strauss44

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Hello @Musiccphan,

Thanks for the additional info. As to the origin, I took it both ways, my location (for the roasting), and the coffee plantation (for the picking, and, knowing now, the washing). However, the "single origin coffee" is very useful. I did not know about the washing process. I thought it meant something like the Swiss process, etc., but I'll investigate the "drying process" in more detail. AND, i'll try a Sumatra (light or medium roast) next. I look forward to it. Best Regards, strauss.
 

Dasd

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Oct 17, 2020
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I think those descriptive tasting notes are merely a gimmick by the industry to create this allure that the wine industry has adopted. Frankly, I've never tasted any of the things they describe in some of the wines I've drunk. I just know if I like it or not. And frankly, roof tar and apshalt aren't desirable tastes that I want in my wine or coffee, yet read enough of these things and you'll see them mentioned. It just makes me laugh.

i was thinking it was a gimmmick too
 

Hely

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Oct 29, 2020
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USA
I also noticed that many coffee varieties have a chocolate or fruit tone.
But personally I like it. I like to try something new, new flavors, new varieties and so on. And this applies to everything, not just coffee. I'm not a conservative at all.
Because for example, my father is very conservative. He has been drinking green tea of the same variety all his life. I do not understand how he did not get bored.
And I'm happy to try something new.
 

shadow745

Active member
Aug 15, 2005
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Central North Carolina
I think those descriptive tasting notes are merely a gimmick by the industry to create this allure that the wine industry has adopted. Frankly, I've never tasted any of the things they describe in some of the wines I've drunk. I just know if I like it or not. And frankly, roof tar and apshalt aren't desirable tastes that I want in my wine or coffee, yet read enough of these things and you'll see them mentioned. It just makes me laugh.

I will say that I do consume only espresso and roast coffee specifically for that. I mention that as the pressure can definitely bring out notes that might be hidden by other brew methods. I can definitely vouch for different coffees having all sorts of noticeable notes depending on origin, process method and roast (as mentioned). In various coffees I roast I easily detect strong notes of say chocolate (think unsweetened baker's cocoa), peanut, pecan, different berries like strawberry, blueberry, even blackberry. Some also give off strong citrus notes like tangerine, lemon, those sorts of things. What I like to do is find dry processed coffees from Central/South America and they can sometimes give off fruit-like notes, but I roast a bit darker to mute those and really bring out the bold/murky notes, like chocolate, caramel, nut, etc. Some coffees can indeed smell like a candy bar, chocolate covered strawberries, etc.
 

shadow745

Active member
Aug 15, 2005
1,594
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Central North Carolina
Reads like the majority of what's available... I personally don't care for the delicate notes many coffees possess and expect espresso to taste like very bold coffee, but equally as important for me is the texture. I push for heavy body/crema as much as I do for flavor as IMBHO it makes espresso what it is.

I'll also mention that I won't waste time/effort/$ on the lighter/underdeveloped stuff. Most of what I've tried in the past wasn't much more than glorified tea with the insane brightness, delicate notes, etc. So yeah I do appreciate coffee flavored coffee, lmao.
 
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