Barista Magazine

APR-MAY 2019

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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(Want more specifi cs? You'll just have to try for yourself—or else reach out to Probat for their data!) From roasting coffee we went straight into a session about the ef- fects of roast profi ling in cacao in chocolate making, led by Karen Co- gan from the two-ingredient-bar chocolate company Dandelion from the Bay Area. Karen gave us a rundown on the basics of chocolate making, from harvesting to fermentation, drying, roasting, and even processing; then she presented us with several squares of chocolate made from the same single-origin cacao, roasted different ways (and even one unroasted!) to present the impact roasting has on the fl avor of the fi nished bar. For someone who feels intimidated by doing close sensory tastings of anything other than coffee, I was amazed at how many nuanced distinct and various tastes I could detect as I let each tiny square melt across my tongue. I think it's safe to say most of us in the room felt a sudden kind of kinship with the chocolate makers of the world: Their job ain't easy, either! After a lunch break, we got straight back into the deep thinky stuff with "Applied Sensory Science and Consumer Research Principles," co-presented by sensory scientist Olivia Auell and UC Davis professor Jean Xavier Guinard. They discussed the ways our sensory descrip- tors and cupping protocol do and don't work within the context of the contemporary coffee market, and in the understanding of the contem- porary specialty-coffee consumer. Prof. Guinard said, "Quality is not one thing, but a composite of many things," therefore it can't truly be measured mathematically in any way or along any scale that logically and consistently makes sense: How can it be that two coffees can score 85 points but taste wildly different, for example? Olivia and Prof. Guinard allowed us to chew on our limitations a little bit with that one, and at the end of the session I found myself still trying to work out that faulty math in my mind. Lastly, we were in for a real … treat? … as we had the opportunity to taste through 12 simulated coffee defects in order to not only begin to calibrate and recognize them, but also to discuss the signifi cance of standards, consistency, green grading, and deeper knowledge of evaluative and qualitative sensory analysis in coffee. "Flavor Science: Exploring Flavor Chemistry in Coffee Defects and Comparing Tastes Between Coffee and Other Beverages" not only had the longest name of any workshop, but also left the most lingering taste as we experi- enced solutions fashioned to mimic the fl avors of common taints and faults like mold, phenol, ferment, even "cheesy" off-fl avors. As I headed home to the -65°F wind-chills of Minneapolis, I found myself feeling wrapped in the warmth of heightened brain activity and tingling taste receptors. In my experience attending coffee profes- sional-development events, I don't think I've encountered anything as nutritionally dense or as delicious—OK, and also sometimes not at all delicious, but by design—as Sensory Summit was. Though the price tag is defi nitely steep (more than $1,400 for SCA members, but discounted further for CRG members), I absolutely think the pro- gramming is worthwhile for any sensory scientist, fl avor professional, and any roaster with the means who wants to really grow a deeper understanding of the craft of profi le and production. I can't wait to go back—I'm going to start doing Rocky-style multisensory training now. [Cue "Eye of the Tiger," please.] The only thing that makes coff ee people happier than brewing or drinking coff ee is probably learning about it—which is why there were so many smiling faces at Sensory Summit this year. 44 barista magazine

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