sOCIETY: can you taste differences in cafe?

I must be a freak, because to me coffee is just a drug, and methods of preparation are just discussions of a delivery system.

A cuppa has to be pretty awful before I’ll discern any loss of quality from an optimal cuppa, and I’ve never had coffee that tasted especially good. Well, rarely: when I was in Jamaica, I noticed that Blue Mountain joe had a nice flavor, and I think when I lived in France I was pleased by the quality of the coffee (and super-pissed about the quantity!), but generally coffee’s coffee to me.

But in particular, this topic came up in Chefguy’s cold brewing method, wherein the subject of heating cold-brewed coffee in a microwave was raised. I couldn’t tell the difference between a cup reheated in the nuker and a cup of the same coffee brewed fresh, and I was wondering how many of you think you could pass a blind taste test of microwaved coffee and fresh-brewed, assuming such a test could be properly designed. I know I couldn’t, and in fact, I make a French Pressful and then when it cools off I just reheat it, a cup at a time, all day long, and never notice nothing. Would you be doing a Danny Thomas if I served you a cup of nuked four-hour old coffee instead of the fresh French-pressed stuff you were expecting?

I’m pretty sure I’d be able to tell the difference between regular hot coffee and nuked hot coffee. It tastes slightly more bitter and somehow “thinner” to me - the flavor is sort of tinny. Now, I don’t do any fancy-schmancy coffee things - good ol’ “whatever’s cheapest” brand whole-bean Colombian and I’m good to go.

French Roast tastes like ass. Well, like I think coffee would taste if it were made of ass. And not Civet ass, either.

We tried Chefguy’s recipe yesterday, and I was worried it would have that “nuked” taste. Nope. Tasted fine - pretty good in fact. I’ll keep that method on file for those days when (as Mr. Athena said), I have no coffee machine but I have a microwave. :smiley: For daily use, I still like the coffee maker - the coffee is just as good (though different), it makes the house smell like coffee, I don’t have to wait next to the microwave every time I want a cup, and it’s fewer dirty dishes.

(I just need to mention here that I have a pretty high end Capresso drip machine. Chefguy’s coldbrew recipe beats the crap off your average Mr. Coffee machine, and even many higher end drip machines. My experience in drip machines is that 90% of them suck, so take that into account when I say the drip coffee out of the Capresso is as good as Chefguy’s recipe.)

However, I can tell when normal drip coffee is nuked. I’m thinking after having the cold-brewed turn out fine that perhaps it’s more than the microwave coming into play. Maybe it’s just old coffee that’s been sitting around being reheated. Who knows? I know that I can use coffee that’s been sitting in the thermos for several hours in iced coffee drinks and it tastes fine, but if you nuke it, it’s got a strange taste to it.

Could be that it’s all in my head, but that doesn’t explain the cold-brewed being fine after nuking.

My WAG is that the taste difference has to do with the oils in the coffee changing or evaporating when coffee sits a while and is reheated.

WAG aside, yes, I can tell the difference in coffee roasts; there are some I can’t stand to drink just because of the smell of the cup, and even those I like have subtle differences. Microwaved coffee is usually fine if it’s not too long since brewing, but it does take on some different flavours after a few hours.

I get a lot of “oils” from my foodie friends. Don’t have a clue what they’re talking about. Does this happen with all coffees, even the best ones, or just cheap junk? Does it happen only when it’s nuked, or in all types of re-heating, or even if the best brewed coffee is turned into iced? Please elaborate–as I said, it’s all a drug-delivery system to me.

I’ll tell you, I have no taste. I drink Gallo wine, Budweiser beer, tap water, and Folger’s coffee. But I could pass your taste test. I don’t know what’s going on in the coffee, but there’s something really volatile that evaporates or changes. And it starts when you brew the coffee. Even my plain-Jane Folgers tastes best right after brewing; even after holding it in a thermal carafe with no reheating it doesn’t taste as good. When I have a cup of coffee made by someone who knows what they’re doing, I can tell right away I have something way better than the stuff I can make.