This one goes out to our Fresh Crop Subscribers, for whom we created the Tasting Notes cards especially. That said, I wouldn't blame you if you wanted to play along at home as well.
Because you'll receive a range of lovely coffees in your Fresh Crop Subscription, you might find that your standard brewing recipe benefits from a little tweak now and then to better suit the specifics of the fortnight's coffee (if you're asking "what recipe?" read on.)
Coffee is among the most complex of the products we consume, and much in the same way that terroir influences the character of a wine or varietal that of an apple, the characteristics of an individual coffee are the product of many factors, from origin through processing to roast and finally, preparation.
The conditions that create a coffee are so many and complex, we've found that the best way to manage them is through meticulous record keeping of our brews and our results - the Tasting Notes card is based on the logs we keep, and designed to help you do the same.
How to use it.
To start with, whatever your device, you'll need a basic recipe for brewing.
If you don't have one yet, borrow one from our Brew Guides, ask a coffee-savvy mate or, in desperate times, refer to the box your brewer came in - your recipe is just a jumping off point so you can get started.
Your recipe, including dose, grind, water quantity and brew time, is what you'll pull out every time you receive a new coffee. After a brew, you might decide to revisit it and adjust one variable, or more, to influence the coffee's character in the cup.
If you're not sure how to do that, start by choosing one of the above variables and changing it slightly for a new brew, while keeping the rest the same. Tasting them side by side, you'll quickly build up an idea of what you prefer (and how to get it!)
Once you've got a recipe you love for a given coffee, record the information on the card. This will hopefully serve as a useful starting point next time you receive a coffee that's similar, from the same region, the same varietal or processed in the same way.
Have a look at the flavour web on the right hand side of the card.
Think of each of the flavours listed and whether you identify that flavour in the coffee as soft, intense, or somewhere in between and mark the web at that level. Once you've marked them all, join up the dots to create a shape that represents the overall flavour of the coffee - yum!
On the scales beneath, mark how much body, acidity and aftertaste you notice in the coffee. Keep in mind that there's no right or wrong - the notes are just a tool to help you improve your palate and your brewing.
Hang on to the card once it's complete, and when you fill out a new one compare it to the previous. Over time, you might see patterns developing that tell you more about your own tastes as well the way that brewing variables effect outcomes.