"Pine" in coffee?

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"Pine" in coffee?

Postby SL28ave on Sun Jul 29, 2007 5:57 pm

What coffees do you taste "pine" or its variations in? Let's start a list!

I think I find it most in Pacamaras and some Colombians, to be general :D .... I believe it's elsewhere to varying extents, but I'm absolutely not sure.
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Re: "Pine" in coffee?

Postby deCadmus on Mon Jul 30, 2007 6:52 am

SL28ave wrote:What coffees do you taste "pine" or its variations in? Let's start a list!

I think I find it most in Pacamaras and some Colombians, to be general :D .... I believe it's elsewhere to varying extents, but I'm absolutely not sure.


I find piney notes in some southern Colombian coffees (Huila region) but I especially find it in Kona. Couple years back, Smith Farms Kona was an especially piney lot... good stuff, that.
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Postby jmc on Mon Jul 30, 2007 8:05 am

I've tasted a lot of piney Sumatras, sometimes I think it is kind of nice, sometimes it is a bit cloying...
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Postby R Miguel Meza on Mon Jul 30, 2007 8:15 am

I most destinctly remember Pine in a couple lots of Kona 4-5 years ago. I know I have tasted it in other coffees sporadically. I will have to go look through my cupping notes to see where else I have found it.
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Postby Aleco on Mon Jul 30, 2007 8:44 am

We've been tasting plenty-o-pine in the Narino samples this year. Peter, I assume this has something to do with the thread? I've gotten hints of it in extremely high altitude coffees from Costa Rica and Honduras as well. Could it be a density thing?
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Postby SL28ave on Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:43 pm

Aleco wrote:We've been tasting plenty-o-pine in the Narino samples this year. Peter, I assume this has something to do with the thread? I've gotten hints of it in extremely high altitude coffees from Costa Rica and Honduras as well. Could it be a density thing?


Yup, Narino samples are my impetus. Tasted it strong the other week in a Huila, too, Doug. I wonder if this flavor-thread is running through Cauca's lots this year?

George showed me a photo of a Eucalyptus farm near the coffee farms in Narino or Cauca. I very often hear that Eucalyptus trees in Australia waft a Eucalyptus flavor onto the wines, in addition to feeding the cute Koalas. I asked George if something like this may be the cause, to which he replied, "not with coffee". I guess density would be easier to believe anyways. Another one of those mysteries.
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Postby rob mcdonough on Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:53 pm

I thought I was crazy, or that my palette was off when I cupped the El Salvador Los Planes a few times, earlier this year. Undoubtedly some pine in there...
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Postby SL28ave on Mon Jul 30, 2007 4:14 pm

rob mcdonough wrote:I thought I was crazy, or that my palette was off when I cupped the El Salvador Los Planes a few times, earlier this year. Undoubtedly some pine in there...


There was a strong "beeswax" variation of the pine flavor in the 2006 Los Planes.
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Postby R Miguel Meza on Mon Jul 30, 2007 6:27 pm

peter funny you should mention eucalyptus. I remember catching a waft of this in a couple of very fresh Sidamo samples in ethiopia a while back. At first i thought I was crazy and thought it must have been coming from elsewhere in the room or I was imagining it. it was very faint. but low and Behold a week later driving through Sidamo the road was covered in eucalyptus trees. I'm a strong believer that the other aromatic elements in the surrounding area present themselves in the best coffees. the last couple of days I've been cupping a coffee that has distinct notes of orchid. Again almost didn't believe it so I cupped it 3 more times and had someone else check it out to. And surprise Surprise where this coffee comes from has lots of Orchids in the area.
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Postby barry on Tue Jul 31, 2007 8:14 am

R Miguel Meza wrote: I'm a strong believer that the other aromatic elements in the surrounding area present themselves in the best coffees.



i know that lots of folks think this kind of thing happens, but i've never been able to sort out the mechanism by which a volatile aromatic compound emitted by one plant is absorbed into another plant and deposited in its seed in sufficient quantities to survive, completely intact, exposure to roasting temperatures well above vaporization point and still be present in enough quantities to overcome the detection threshold of the human olfactory system.

does the green smell of eucalyptus or orchids? if not, i strongly doubt the roasted coffee picked it up from the neighboring flora.
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Postby Christopher Schooley on Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:50 pm

I have had some Colombias that were very clearly dried at some stage in large drums over wood fires. This was obvious as the aroma was strong on the beans. Since tasting that I have noticed similar piney flavors (without so much of the smokiness though) and attributed it to that practice.
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Postby Sean Starke on Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:10 am

gosh, barry, don't you believe in romance? :)
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Postby barry on Wed Aug 01, 2007 10:48 am

Sean Starke wrote:gosh, barry, don't you believe in romance? :)


i do. i just don't believe in fairy tales.
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Postby Aleco on Fri Aug 03, 2007 11:45 am

Christopher Schooley wrote:I have had some Colombias that were very clearly dried at some stage in large drums over wood fires. This was obvious as the aroma was strong on the beans. Since tasting that I have noticed similar piney flavors (without so much of the smokiness though) and attributed it to that practice.


Chris, have you seen this type of drying at origin? It seems crazy to me but I'll beleive it if you say so.

All of the producers we work with in Colombia, which could amount to 50+ this year, are drying on patios or parabolic beds. Their/our coffee is always dried in the sun as mechanical dryers are not only not warranted quantity-wise but, definitely not afforded either.

So this wouldn't be the case for the piney, evergreen notes in our Colombian coffees.
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Postby Edwin Martinez on Sat Aug 04, 2007 6:39 am

pine is used in mechanical dryers in Hon... usually not pleasant result. You can smell piney smokeyness in green.
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Postby Christopher Schooley on Sat Aug 04, 2007 11:25 am

I've seen mech. driers in Honduras that used wood (coffee trees though). I had a Colombia last year that had powerful smokey/piney aroma on the green and when I asked the importer about it, saying that it seemed to me to be the result of mech. drying, they concured. Could there be some wood burning in the viscinity (not being used for drying purposes) whose smoke might be insinuating itself?
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Postby SL28ave on Sun Aug 05, 2007 9:27 am

Christopher Schooley wrote:I've seen mech. driers in Honduras that used wood (coffee trees though). I had a Colombia last year that had powerful smokey/piney aroma on the green and when I asked the importer about it, saying that it seemed to me to be the result of mech. drying, they concured. Could there be some wood burning in the viscinity (not being used for drying purposes) whose smoke might be insinuating itself?


This won't prove or disprove any proposition, but these Colombian samples aren't "smokey" at all... but rather they tend to have a "bubblegum" and "wintergreen" flavor entwined with the "pine"; weird and mindblowing at moments. It was actually the exporter who I first heard use the actual word "pine" when cupping, and he didn't approach it as a flaw, but I'll ask him about it when I next see him. This flavor may be coming out in some Colombian CoE samples, too, but I'm not sure yet.

The green looks super-super clean, and I'm usually giving about 7 out of 8 points under the "Clean Cup" tasting category. So my instincts are saying that this "pine" is an intrinsic flavor of the seed. Time will tell. Coffee fanatics will naturally seek the answer.
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Postby Jim Saborio on Sun Aug 05, 2007 1:30 pm

barry wrote:i know that lots of folks think this kind of thing happens, but i've never been able to sort out the mechanism by which a volatile aromatic compound emitted by one plant is absorbed into another plant and deposited in its seed in sufficient quantities to survive, completely intact, exposure to roasting temperatures well above vaporization point and still be present in enough quantities to overcome the detection threshold of the human olfactory system.

does the green smell of eucalyptus or orchids? if not, i strongly doubt the roasted coffee picked it up from the neighboring flora.


I worked at a "fancy" food emporium years ago that stored its green beans among the scented candles and potpourri.

Perhaps I was being romantic, but I swear their coffee tasted like an 80's bathroom.

Considering most greens are stored a month or so at the mill before shipping to port, could this really be that big of a stretch? My wife and I used to live by a bunch of eucalyptus trees... they're pretty stinky.

By Barry's argument, it's surprising that coffee tastes like anything at all.
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Postby barry on Sun Aug 05, 2007 7:03 pm

Jim Saborio wrote:By Barry's argument, it's surprising that coffee tastes like anything at all.



huh? where on earth did you get that?
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Postby Beth Dominick on Mon Aug 06, 2007 11:39 am

I was getting some pine in a Papua New Guinea Kunjun Estate sample we cupped last week.

I didn't particularly care for it

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Postby Jim Saborio on Mon Aug 06, 2007 12:19 pm

barry wrote:where on earth did you get that?


Mostly, I was being an antagonistic jerk and was out of my depth.

I just imagined that coffee would be totally sterilized by the destructive roasting process you described. Are these volatile aromatic compounds the result of changes in the bean during roasting? They must come from somewhere. Are they in there while green?

Someone with resources could try this:

Expose some beans to onions (or something similar) for a week. I dunno, put them in a box together. See if your staff can consistently identify the 'onion-ized' coffee.

If there is a taint, is it oniony?
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Postby barry on Mon Aug 06, 2007 3:40 pm

Jim Saborio wrote:I just imagined that coffee would be totally sterilized by the destructive roasting process you described. Are these volatile aromatic compounds the result of changes in the bean during roasting? They must come from somewhere. Are they in there while green?



Well, coffee *is* sterilized by roasting, but obviously not devoid of flavor or aroma. The flavors and aromas are the result of complex chemical reactions which occur during roasting (and, almost certainly, are the reason for roasting in the first place).
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Postby Sean Starke on Tue Aug 07, 2007 6:36 am

Green coffee is very absorbtive (?) of what ever odors are around it. If you've never cupped coffee that was shipped in a non-food grade container I can assure you it's not a pretty thing.

Unless of course you like the taste of pesticide.

I've had cardamom-tainted coffee, pepper tainted coffee, smoke, diesel oil; you name it.

Blech.
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Postby Christopher Schooley on Tue Aug 07, 2007 7:20 am

Thinking somewhere along these lines, could this piney phenomena be happening during reposo? Are they resting in silos made of pine and possibly an extremely humid or hot day caused the beans to "open up" as it were and absorb some of their surroundings? Or maybe it has nothing to do with wood at all and it's something to do with moisture levels during rest as sometimes "green" or vegetal flavors show in young coffees and in this case present themselves in a sharper piney note.

Also, not to speak for Barry so much, but I'm pretty sure he was refering to coffee on the tree absorbing aromatics from nearby flora and what have you and not prepared green coffee absorbing agressive aromatics such as petrol exhaust or smoke or water damaged jute.
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Postby Peter G on Tue Aug 07, 2007 8:47 am

I think there is an important distinction to be made here; one that might clarify the discussion a bit:

When I think of "pine" smell, I think of two different things: the first, the smell of the aromatic sap of the pine tree, which is what you smell when taking a walk in a pine forest. The other is the smell of pine wood, which is familiar to anyone who has ever visited a Home Depot or assembled an Ikea bookshelf.

The second aroma is really more about woodiness than pine specifically- frequently I get "toothpick" flavors from past croppish or poorly stored coffee. Toothpicks are made of pine....

Remember, coffee seeds are made up mainly of cellulose, which is the main component of all woody plants. It is not suprising that we taste wood in coffee often. It is that much more of a miracle when the beautiful aromatics overwhelm the coffee's inherent woodiness!

Now then, as for the "pine sap" aroma, well, it's similar to camphor, cedar, wintergreen, etc. These are all aromas, many found in the "dry distillation" group on your flavor wheel. Spicy, woody aromatics are found in this area. Piny is right next to Cineolic, Camphoric, and Blackcurrant (!). These aromatics are byproducts of the destruction of plant material (including cellulose) during roasting and probably during the fermentation and drying phase as well. Lots of pleasant aromatics (ginger, pepper, herb) and unpleasant ones (parchment, toothpic, tar) are in this group. And, of course, one man's pleasantly piny is another man's wickedly woody.

For what it's worth, the flavor scientists tell us that pine aroma comes from the following chemicals: α-p-dimethylstyrene, β-pinene, bornyl benzoate, δ-terpinene, dihydroterpinyl acetate, and α-pinene. So put that in your mass spectrometer.

I consistently get pleasant pine sap from a coffee I buy from a farmer named Roberto Salazar's farm, Finca Bahasa in Honduras. And yes, there are pines on the farm.

Although I share Barry's suspicions about how pine flavor would somehow enter a coffee seed on the farm; I will say that the romantic in me finds pine or eucalyptus on farms that have those trees, and sometimes I find smoke in coffees grown on volcanoes, and I often find cocoa in coffees grown in Oaxaca, indigenous home of the cacao tree. Blackcurrant soda is very popular in Kenya, home of the only blackcurranty coffees in the world. Coincidence? Fantasy? Perhaps, but that's what loving coffee is all about.

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