Saturday, November 12, 2011

Battle of the (Coffee) Beans

I've previously made note of Dan's coffee habit and my opinion that everyone should make their coffee at home. The theory is that homemade is no more time consuming than stopping at your favorite coffee shop, cheaper (even accounting for high quality and fair trade beans), and far better tasting. To confirm the "better tasting" notion, A Peaceful Plate has conducted a blind taste test with six coffees intended to represent a broad spectrum of what folks out there may drink.

The Players
Myself and Dan along with Nescafe Instant, a Chock Full O' Nuts can, a medium roast blend brewed in a Flavia machine (for those of you with single-serving machines like Keurig), a regular coffee from Starbucks, Dan's fair trade Peruvian beans ground a week prior and stored in a plastic baggie, and Dan's fair trade Peruvian beans ground just before the tasting.

All coffees were tasted black, without added cream or sugar.

The Method
Dan and I served each other small pours of each type of coffee in random order; the drinker never had knowledge of which type they were given. The server took notes as the drinker reacted to each coffee and described it's aroma and flavor.

The Hypothesis
As with any good scientific study, we had a hypothesis.  You can probably guess what it was: the fresh ground Peruvian beans will taste the best.

The Results

Katy's Reaction Dan's Reaction
Nescafe Instant bad small - terrible!!!!!!; too strong; could barely drink it fruity smell; interesting; doesn't taste as good as it smells; doesn't make me want to drink more
Chock Full O' Nuts can it's pretty and frothy; some smoothness but a bitter flavor deep burnt smell; good round flavor in front; way too bitter at the end
Flavia (Medium Roast) good smell; some sweetness; makes my mouth feel very dry and is too bold sweet smell; disappointing; not bold or as strong as expected; tasted like it's been sitting in a paper cup
Starbucks (Regular Black Coffee) watery texture; not a lot of flavor; like warm water with some bitterness no real smell; finishes clean; good but not flavorful - middle of the road
Fair Trade Peruvian Ground 1 Week Ago And Stored In A Plastic Baggie no scent; not bad; just ho-hum very little smell, nutty?; some bitterness and some dryness; stale
Fair Trade Peruvian Ground On The Spot burnt stinky smell; taste is SMOOTH; rich flavor; VERY GOOD decent smell, richness; "aaaahhhh this is delicious"; good taste; very little bitterness

I must confess my biggest worry as a participant was that my novice coffee tastebuds would betray me and prefer Nescafe Instant just as a novice wine drinker might be over the moon about a White Zinfandel. I can recall drinking exactly five cups of real coffee in my life: four cappuccinos and one espresso during a trip to Italy in 2009. Tall, skim, no-whip lattes and mochas from Starbucks don't count as "real". While I did not enjoy the smell of the freshly ground Peruvian beans, it is clear that Dan and I both found the taste to be superior. I want to emphasize that word again, because it truly was superior - none of the others even came close.

Hypothesis: Proven.

1 comment:

  1. Absence of dunkin' is unforgivable.
    -- Victor


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