Originally Posted by kfoote
Since this got bumped, I have a random question. Do you pull the descriptions from somewhere, or is your palate really that refined that you can distinguish things like the flavor of Concord grapes and, say, Swenson Red grapes? I'm not doubting your coffee palate, and mine is nowhere near as refined, but some of the descriptions of the flavors I see I couldn't tell you what they were if given a blind taste of the actual food.
Sometimes I initially post the cuppers notes from the broker, if I buy without tasting myself, then change them when I roast it, as needed. But most of the time it's all me, and yes, these are things that pop to me. Some are more subtle, many times I struggle to place the flavor; I'll taste *something* unusual or good, but WTF is it? Sometimes it'll hit me later: ah, yeah, green tomato! Sometimes there are flavors in there that I won't add to the description, like teriyaki, or bullion, because I don't want to scare people away.
Not a single person has ever commented negatively on those coffees, quite the opposite; but I guarantee few people will buy 'sweet and syrupy, with maraschino cherry, nougat, and hints of French Onion', when the reality is it simply tastes freakin good.
Anyway, not everyone will get every flavor, and some people will get stuff I'm missing. The more easily identifiable flavors are the blueberry notes in the Ethiopia Wote Konga, nearly everyone 'WTFWOW!'s. The new Kenya is wild, a citrus uppercut to the mouth, but balanced by massive sweetness; no one will miss the strong lemon essence/fruit basket notes there.
Does that answer your question? Cupping coffees is one of the most challenging aspects of what I do, with writing tasting notes being a close second.