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How to train your palate

by Luka 30 Mar 2019
Following on from our acids in coffee sensory video we’ve decided to do a double feature: It's not as good as Tarantino and Rodriguez, but in my humble opinion, it's pretty good. There's two videos for you to watch below, one on developing your palate by tasting nuts, and one on developing your palate by tasting vegetables. But first, here's a primer for all of you coffee lovers who are willing to train your palate and do some home palate training.

Clean your palate and reset your senses

Sparkling mineral water is a great way to cleanse your palate. The effervescent bubbles seem to remove any oils, fats and acids from past meals lingering in your mouth. Another great way to cleanse or reset your senses is to take a deep breath and sniff your sleeve, palm or the back of your hand. This resets your olfactory, which is the section between your nostrils and throat. So much of what we taste is affected by our smell. These receptors lie in the back of our throat and nose. And by resetting them we can sense and taste much more. And finally, some Carr’s Water Crackers—a shoutout to my old mate Mr Carr! Or some plain bread with no additives are a solid way to not only reset your palate but it also settles your stomach ready for all that delicious coffee.

Breathe

If you take a moment to take a deep breath before you start tasting it will give your mind, olfactory, senses and brain a chance to reset. It will help you assess and process what you are tasting and be well prepared to record new data on what you’re about to taste and smell. A neat trick is after drinking coffee, while the coffee is still on the tongue, you can slightly breathe back onto the palate and invigorate the flavours resting on your palate. Air gives life to food and drink, and funnily enough over time will also destroy the flavour altogether. Think of a glass of red wine. When you first pour it, often it needs to breathe and open up, oxidize and settle. But leave it overnight and it becomes sour acid. The noisy slurp or aspirate is synonymous at wine tastings and coffee cuppings. Practice slurping and aspirating your palate. A coffee cupping is one of two places that this conduct is accepted! Not only accepted, but encouraged. Take a leaf out of the wine industry, if you slurp you’ll introduce air and experience a deeper flavour.

Clear your mind

Take a moment for the flavours to settle before opening your mouth and express what you’re tasting. Have a chat with yourself about what you are tasting. Question your palate. Was that acid? Was it dry? Taniny? Clean? Bright and bubbly? Was the body light, creamy, bold or rough? Did the flavour fade or linger? After forming a solid opinion yourself, talk to a friend about it, write it down or just have another coffee like I do! I sincerely hope this blog can help you learn to appreciate tasting, not just for coffee but for everything you do—but mostly coffee :)

Video: Train your palate at home with nuts


Video: Train your palate at home with vegetables


Thanks for reading and watching Dom
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