Barista Trainer, NZ
It all started with a conversation with a Master Sommelier about a wine that tasted like apples. “What kind of apples? Is it granny smith, red delicious, crab apple? How ripe is the apple? Is it apple peel, apple flesh, apple core? Are the apples raw or cooked? How are they cooked, stewed, poached, baked in a pie?” I delved my nose back into the glass of white wine and found the courage to pipe up, “It’s like Fresh Up Old Fashioned Apple Juice concentrate.” He chuckled lightly, “that’s almost a perfect descriptor for this Chenin Blanc.”
Of all of the advice I gleaned from my time with professional tasters there’s one phrase that’s stuck with me – “go to the markets, smell the produce.” It’s something that can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it. Personally, I take my time. I find out exactly what variety, I think about previous encounters with this fruit and I build a prediction of what I’m about to experience. Bringing it close to my face I inhale deeply, assessing the intensity, diversity and similarities of the aroma. Give each and every fruit the chance to be the best I’ve ever tried. Digest the information and file it away into my flavour database.
It takes time and diligence to build up a robust flavour database, but it makes every bite an adventure.