Le Nez Du Vin – learning flavor

in Buying Coffee

  At a coffee tasting at London, Canada’s Fire Roasted Coffee Company, head roaster Patrick Dunham introduced me to a boxed set of individual coffee essences known as Le Nez De Cafe, or translated from French, the “smell of coffee”.

Read: The 36 Tastes of Coffee

I know I love coffee, but I don’t always know how to describe it.  There are so many unique flavor characteristics of coffee, Le Nez de Cafe is meant to isolate them so that you can experience each one in an overpowering way.  This boxed set captures each of these essenses in a small vial.

One day, I’ll probably invest in it, but since it can cost up to $400, I decided to invest instead in a “starter kit” that the same company has devised for wine flavors, known as Le Nez Du Vin.

  As you see in the image, this condensed version of the larger Nez Du Vin includes six of the 54 flavor essences of wine.  The thinking is that as you become familiar with each one on its own, you can begin to pick up on that flavor accent in the wine that you drink.  The six that came in this set are:

#2: Grapefruit
#10: Pear
#13: Raspberry
#15: Blackcurrant
#39: Violet
#48: Toast

The manual that comes with the set explains more on the ability and potential of the sense of smell, as well as how to train it to pick up flavor accents.  It also includes some light science on our sense of olfactory, and how through practice, you can build up an olfactory “memory” of individual flavor essences detected only by the sense of smell.  With this new memory, you begin to detect the essences in the wine you drink, giving you a foundation to identify them, and also identify the extent of their quality.

Wine and coffee are very similar for their complex variety of flavors and accents.  I will practice identifying wine flavors with this kit, and see how it translates to actual wine-tasting.  I’m confident this will, if nothing else, be a fun experiment, after which I will likely shell out the $400 for the full-size Nez de Cafe

Worst case scenario: I end up drinking a bunch of wine!


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