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Flavor Analogs a Crutch?

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Recent forum discussions have me thinking about describing coffee with flavor analogs such as blueberry, chocolate, bergamot, etc. and when I picked up some fresh starfruit and was struggling to find flavor analogs for the fruit (celery, grapefruit) but missing the mark.

Further reflection leads me to believe that people who know starfruit probably just say it tastes like starfruit.  Are flavor analogs a crutch holding us back from knowing what a wet process caturra or a natural bourbon tastes like and really knowing the factors that affect the cup?

I know I’ve got a long way to go myself in this.

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One response to “Flavor Analogs a Crutch?

  1. Christo October 5, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    Hey that’s interesting.

    I think the point is communication. We use words that have the intended effect on the listener. Hmm, that sounds disturbingly obvious, but I guess the consequence is that the main thing is what words and meanings the listener knows.

    If, like me, the listener has no idea what “a wet process caturra” or “a natural bourbon” tastes like then these words aren’t useful in that situation.

    Do you think it’s similar when describing music? Some people describe modern music with genre names (dubstep, bangra, bebop) but others find it more useful to say the music sounds “like The Beatles” or “her voice is like Leslie Feist”.

    And after all, people use metaphors and analogies all the time. So why not with flavours?

    Thanks for really making me think about this!

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