If you work in coffee, it won’t be news to you that the SCAA recently updated their official flavour wheel for the first time in over 20 years.
Touted as the largest & most collaborative piece of research on coffee flavours ever completed, it provides the foundation for a more scientific approach & common language with which to talk about the flavours we find in coffee, and has been received with mucho excitement & elements of scandal (“But where’s apricot?!”).
We invited our clients & peers out to Botany to explore the new wheel with us, with a mega-cupping. A big undertaking, but we had the tools to make it happen; the updated wheel is accompanied by a 50-page Lexicon which provides specific instructions on preparation of reference samples.
Ed & Will hustled them all out over two days, adding new elements as they tasted their way through the breadth of coffees & samples we have in the roastworks at this moment.
Set up over four separate stations, with 192 bowls of 16 different coffees & as many food, solution & aroma samples, we had all hands on deck.
There were some beautiful coffees on the table – favourites from the past (Esmeralda Geisha anyone?), current inventory & a sneak preview of coffees that are on their way to us. All paired with invigorating reference samples, from chocolate, peach & jasmine extract to rubbery, peapod & smokey.
The flavour references were powerful & in some cases almost unbelievable. The cry of “what have you done to these coffees?” could be heard when some flavours were so strong they seemed unreal.
One of the strangest references was floral – not floral aroma, but floral taste. The Lexicon instructed us to taste 100% white grape juice for this comparison, which was definitely one of the trickiest to understand.
We asked Ed what he got out of the evening? “A greater respect for people that put it [the flavour wheel] together. For it to be the meaningful & concise tool that it is, they’ve had to make some concessions (that apricot!) but rather than criticising it, it challenges other coffee professionals to make a case for the flavours they experience.”
Great to see so many of our extended Single O family rock up & get involved with the session & looking forward to figuring out how to make it all happen again in a room 1/6th the size in our Brisbane training & education space in a few weeks!