Is coffee a sensorial experience?
The 5 senses of coffee
For a real coffee lover, this could really become an obsession. The consume of coffee is increasing day after day and, often, you find yourself drinking it without even thinking about it; coffee has become a moment to think about something, a chance to have a break. Sometimes we have a coffee in a hurry, just because it is a habit, sometimes we look for specialities, for exclusive tastes. So, coffee occupies a very important place in coffee lovers’ minds from any point of view. It has become a sensorial experience. Have we ever wondered why?
Probably, behind these mechanisms there are scientific reasons: a cup of coffee can give us energy, can help us to wake up, thanks to the effects of caffeine. They say that this effect doesn’ t last for long time, probably from 10 up to 30 minutes, and that, it also causes an increasing of blood pressure and a pleasant feeling of wellness.
Now, without going too much into the deep of scientific discussions, why does the idea of a hot coffee generate such nice feelings though its effect doesn’t last? Since I am a coffee lover I often think about it.
I think that coffee involves all senses. It is a real physical experience.
Above all, it involves the olfaction. Either we have an American coffee or an Italian espresso, it really doesn’t make any difference, in fact, our olfaction will be stimulated before the consume of it and the smell of it will send our brain a message of waiting, an emotional feeling: we are going to taste something that we surely like, that will make us feel good and we are aware of it.
In my opinion, also the sight is stimulated. Staring in front of the moka, observing the brown liquid which slowly comes out from the espresso machine of a bar, or, for American coffee lovers, the sight of large coffee pots full of black hot coffee (as seen in Hollywoodian movies) definitely give us a beautiful feeling.
Feeling the heat with our own fingers. Again, even if we are tasting any kind of coffee, in a small or large cup, it doesn’t matter because our fingertips are telling us, thanks to the heat we are perceiving, what we will soon taste in our mouth. This time is the sense of touch to give us pleasure.
And what about the gurgling of the moka? What about the vapour that comes out from the kettle or from the espresso coffee machine of a coffee shop? It is just a familiar sound that takes us to emotions rooted in our being; it takes us to our favourite café, to our home, to those specific moments in which we recognized this familiar sound while we were far away from home so as to give us comfort and tranquillity. Here the hearing makes an ordinary coffee special.
Least but not last the sense of taste, in fact all senses definitely send us messages which can be considered as an emotional anticipation, which, more or less at the same way, prepares us to that moment when coffee will reach our lips. Here the total sublimation of this particular experience that, though it is a very simple, ordinary and daily one, becomes really special thanks to our five senses.
We are finally tasting our coffee.
Summing up, if all our senses get us ready to have our coffee so as to make it a similar but always different experience, can we assert that this experience is absolutely involving and, in some ways, it is a sensorial experience? We can probably answer positively: all our body is involved in the moment we are tasting our coffee. So coffee, for people who love it and are always looking for the best flavours and aromas, is and will always be a sensorial experience!