Finding your own Tastes

Last weekend I put out a question on Twitter asking if anyone knew of a quiet burr grinder. I was getting annoyed with having to trek downstairs to grind my morning coffee so as to not wake up my kids. I am a relatively recent convert to making fussy coffee, where I grind whole beans and manually press them to create awesome flavor. I read a ton of articles that said it was absolutely essential that I grind my beans immediately before brewing, anything else would ruin the flavor.

After I got a bunch of feedback that there really isn’t a quiet way to grind I needed to find an alternative approach. The obvious choice was to try grinding the beans the night before. There was only one way to find out if this would impact flavor, I setup a blind taste test. I ground some beans the night before and stored them in an airtight container. The following morning I ground a batch fresh. I then had my wife brew two identical cups. I tried them both and tried to see if I could tell a difference. I couldn’t. When I forced myself to try and pick a favorite I ended up choosing the one that had been ground the night before.

I have continued this experiment all week with a larger batch of grinding. The coffee I had this morning was ground 5 days ago and still tastes the same to me. I’m sure if I spent years developing a more finely tuned palate for coffee flavors I could detect the subtle differences but right now the reality is I can’t. So I’ll be continuing to get good beans, grind them in batches and still have delicious coffee.

This experience has made me think about the degree to which I let others determine my tastes and habits. Reading reviews and opinions certainly serves a purpose. It allows me to filter through a wider range of options and narrow in on the things worth trying. However, if I let the experiences and preferences of others dictate my preferences I’m missing out. My tastes are my own and I should embrace the process of refining and developing them.

You won’t know if you like it until you try it.

David Smith