London Gastronomy Seminars – Wine & Coffee

January 22nd, 2010

This evening I had a lot of fun presenting at the London Gastronomy Seminars.  The topic was flavour in wine and coffee, and I was up after Jamie Goode, which is a hard act to follow!  Our topic was “Flavour – from plant to cup”

Jamie’s presentation was full of information and topics that could have become a presentation in their own right.  Talking to him before, and thinking about what he said during, I suspect I am going to get sucked into flavour perception all over again.  Not so much the mechanics of taste reception and gustation – but more what our brains choose to do with this information.  Perception rather than detection.

I should also add that the wine Jamie used for his talk was fascinating.  The best description I could have was it was like tasting a natural process, having only drunk washed coffees.  Jamie’s rather more eloquent notes on it can be found here.

I really do enjoy giving talks and a room full of 150+ people certainly delivers a little adrenaline rush.  (I shall make no secret of the fact that I would kill to talk at TED one day, so thoroughly jealous of Intelligentsia being involved this year! If you need a barista at all…..) That said – suddenly having to brew 16+ litres of coffee with a single filter brewer was a little challenging!

I talked a bit about coffee’s journey, dividing the narrative into four stages:  creation (growing)/processing/roasting/brewing.  I then served two coffees and tried to relate the flavours in the cup back through those four stages.  The Q&A from the audience at the end was inevitably my favourite bit, the range of questions was wonderful.  Unfortunately they were unable to film tonight’s event, and I don’t think putting the slides up would be very interesting.

I think the London Gastronomy Seminars are going to continue to grow and grow – there already seems to be a community forming of diverse and interesting people with a shared passion.  I look forward to the next one, and hopefully I’ll see you there!

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