The Perfect Espresso: how to taste coffee in a professional way

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The Perfect Espresso: how to taste coffee in a professional way

coffee tasting

Goes around and around, the most important in the espresso is the degustation. The degustation moment contains those instants, that sensations flowing that decides the choice of the choices: purchase it again or not, taste again that particular coffee or not. A big little choice that could change your day in better or worse.

Avoiding sheets or too complicated paths, together I would like to search for a tool that could be as incentive also for the final consumer: a kind of interaction/training among client, espresso and barman.

Visual approach to the espresso
When an espresso cup is served us, the first impact is certainly the visual one: the cream has to be:

  • compact,
  • uniform colour,
  • possibly with streaks of darker colour, the so called “tiger-like skin”.

Dark cream
In the case the cream will result very dark, maybe with a kind of white button in conjunction with the coffee percolation, we could think of an over-extracted espresso.

Light cream
On the contrary, a cream basically lighter and evanescent could lead back to a under-extracted coffee.

Olfactory approach to the espresso
Immediately after the visual description it is good smell the espresso, also quite quickly, given that flavours are very volatile. This operation makes the mind travel, reminding you that soft warmth so familiar, that coffee flavor which slowly cover houses and streets.

  • But in reality, which one is the coffee flavor?
  • How is it identified?
  • What can and have we to recognize?

To every taster is sent back the answer. The fundamental aspect is that it has to be a positive aroma, cause very often, the aroma, identifies flavours we find after in the mouth.

The true essence of the espresso
At the taste time we find out the true essence of the espresso told by tastes and flavours. The tastes are determined by a tongue stimulation:

  • starting from the tip of the tongue we’ll find the sweetness,
  • following the salty,
  • then the acidity in the central part of the tongue,
  • and finally the bitter in the final part, almost close to the throat.

On the basis of stimulation intensity we can define the intensity related to the taste:

  • unlikely a coffee will be very sweet (obviously you have not to consider the sweetness related to the possible addition of sugar or sweeteners);
  • it is desirable a certain acidity, maybe not excessive, anyway pleasant;
  • it is very difficult to find the salty, especially in the blends;
  • the bitter is very common, significantly tied to the roasting level and to the flaws present in the green coffee.

The tastes are combined with the espresso aromas which are released in the mouth, giving life to the true and proper flavour of the coffee.

I’ll give you some examples

  • If I recognize a chocolate aroma and I have a pleasant stimulation of the acidity and bitter, I could think of dark chocolate;
  • if I recognize a honey aroma, or anyway sweet and I have a stimulation of sweetness and bitter; I could think then of caramel;
  • if I recognize instead some orange taste combined with sweetness and low acidity, it reminds me of a candy with orange flavour and so on…

Ma not always you can be so lucky!

The negative hints of the espresso
You have to learn to recognize the flaws of the espresso. Hints like:

  • ash
  • smoke
  • soil
  • skin

These are negative hints which descend from significant flaws of the raw material, therefore useless to say, avoid that coffee!

The body and aftertaste of the espresso
A special mention to the body and aftertaste.

The body
It is represented by the density of the espresso: that means how much the espresso results mellow in the mouth.
We Italians love this characteristic in our espresso to the point that often we place it before the pleasantness of the flavour!

The aftertaste
No less important is the aftertaste that, in this case, we mean as the flavour which remains in the mouth after having swallowed the espresso.
The “Italian standard” requires a long aftertaste, persistent and intense.

Well, now you have the basic tools to interact with your clients, have fun and enjoy your coffee!
If you are interested to analyze the issue, have a look at the tutorial video for a professional degustation of the espresso.

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