Specialty Coffee & the Beauty of Breathing
Breath is the link between mind and body – Dan Brulé, world-renowned pioneer in Breathwork
Breathing is in our basic human nature. We need oxygen to nourish our bodies. With each breath, we also inhale various aromas from our environment. Aromas affect our thoughts and emotions in everyday life. Mindful breathing brings peace. Our sense of smell has a powerful effect on our brain’s many functions.
Smell of green coffee beans
Ideally, we should breathe slowly and deeply, while using our abdomen – just like babies do. In reality, often times, we breathe unconsciously and very shallowly, without effort or direction. Many people rarely take deep breaths to really smell the flowers.
Therefore, let’s take time to focus our mind and attention on the way we breath.
Let’s close our eyes, breath in and out to be fully aware of the coffee’s complex aromas and flavors.
The retronasal coffee tasting technique
What we call the taste of food is mostly smell, and it’s done by breathing out. – Dr. Gordon Shepherd, neuroscientist at Yale, the university in New Haven, Connecticut, USA
Use “Retronasal Tasting” to fully discover what a coffee has to offer! Many coffee professionals take advantage of this breathing technique to perceive coffee aromas and flavors more intense and powerful.
Inhaling enables us to notice aromas. But it doesn’t help us to experience flavors.
Also, some of the coffee aromas cann;t be easily identified if we try to smell them ‘normally’ by breathing in (known as the orthonasal process).
The retronasal tasting technique allows for a more distinct profile and full experience of the coffee’s flavor. It’s the process of exhaling that pushes molecules of coffee from the back of our mouth up to our nasal passage. During exhalation we smell the aromas that originate from the mouth. In doing so, we use both: our sense of smell and taste. We discover the actual flavors of the coffee.
When you inhale, you can smell food, of course. But it’s exhaling that actually helps you taste it. – Dr. Gordon Shepherd
The retronasal tasting technique – Step by step:
Take a sip of the coffee and inhale (you may also forcefully slurp the coffee into your mouth)
Move the coffee around your mouth so it covers all taste buds on your tongue
Let the coffee sit in your mouth
Swallow the coffee
Exhale the air powerfully up through your throat and out of your nose while keeping your mouth closed.
In doing so, the air from your lungs is forced through your retronasal passage (the channel that connects your nose and mouth).
Smell and enjoy the aromas 🙂 !
The retronasal tasting technique has important purposes:
It cools down the liquid so that you can taste it at the proper temperature
The oxygen interacts with the aromatic oils on your palette
The air goes from your lungs to your olfactory bulb in your brain which detects taste
Do not eat for an hour before tasting.
A smaller cup is better than a bigger cup