what the he — is jasmine?

At 11:44 AM -0400 8/25/07, George wrote:
>Okay girls and guys, what the he– does jasmine smell and taste like???????? I have searched both SM’s site for about 10 minutes or more and the Internet for probably over 45 minutes on jasmine, jasmine flavor, jasmine taste, etc, etc. All I get are listings of dozens of pages on it’s use as a flower in weddings, what properties it has for women in Japan, pages and pages on jasmine in tea, and the list goes on and on. Even went to Websters dictionary, online encyclopedias, etc, etc and nothing but uses, NOT A THING ON TASTE. I did visit over a hundred sites that listed jasmine and no results for the smell or taste of it. Tom seems to mention jasmine with sage and other herbs/spices. For all I know it could taste like baby kaka.
>So, what is the taste and smell of jasmine.
>George

Its a very good question: I try to distinguish between jasmine tea and jasmine flower sometimes, but fail to do it often enough. Those are the 2 most meaningful definitions to me. But in fact, at my house i have pink jasmine and a white jasmine and they are different (my night-blooming jasmine failed to grow but that too is a bit different). All offer strong, permeating floral notes. Yirgacheffes often have the most clear-cut jasmine notes of any coffee, but sometimes I refer to it when it is a very mild floral note, not based on the intensity or amount of it, but the quality – i tried to clarify that issue in my Flavor Quality Analysis spider-graphs. I’ll also use honeysuckle, and sometimes hibiscus, but don’t often use rose anymore since that’s a huge variation in aromas, and I don’t know enough to specify WHAT rose. Frankly, sometimes getting too specific in descriptions can hinder what i am trying to communicate, and just doesn’t work — i.e. it’s the wet aroma of the flowers from recently dried coriander at 3pm on Sunday. Okay, that’s a bad example, but there is a LOT left yet-to-be-described in the coffee reviews so you, the taster, can fill in the blanks. I like to (usually) go beyond saying something is simply ‘floral’ but don’t want to kill all the fun of discovery by being overly specific (if I am even able to). I hope, at some point, you might notice that I try to keep it real, to keep descriptors firmly attached to things that you smell and taste, and avoid analogies like “this is the little black dress of coffees,” or this is “coffee for the x-games”, or “this is the honda accord of coffee”. I have heard all these used before, and i guess they DO describe something most people understand, but when you start down that path there is no return … it becomes an easy escape from really trying to attach coffee experiences to other true sensory experiences. – Tom

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2 Responses to “what the he — is jasmine?”


  1. 1 Rick

    If you go to the Mad River Hospital in Arcata, CA, there is a courtyard in the middle of the place that has a huge night blooming jasmine plant. The smell of it fills the air with one of the most beautiful scents I have ever had the pleasure to sense. It is, however, mighty hard to translate into a description. I guess if you ever find yourself on the northern California coast, stop in and grab a whiff. There is a nice little coffee shop down the road too.

  2. 2 Pablo

    I was out on a trail here in Virginia one cool, misty morning back in May & thought, by the fragrance hanging in the air all around, that I must be in a jasmine forest. The trail was lined with trees whose smallish white blossoms reinforced this impression. Turns out, on the strength of a plant expert friend’s later testimony, that it was honeysuckle. To me, there are distinct similarities.

    I enjoy jasmine tea occasionally, and thought it was particularly nice when I was recuperating from surgery recently. Not sure if it’s supposed to help healing, but I believe that, at the very least, it imparted a strong placebo benefit!

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