Flavour profiling at 35,000 feet

Ross Eden, Jacobs Douwe Egberts

The range of coffee products available affords catering professionals the opportunity to premiumise and vary their offer to, in theory, meet consumer needs and expectations. Consumer awareness combined with the evolution of the high street coffee shop market has resulted in two growing consumer expectations – a quality hot beverage offering no matter the location and an increasingly varied range, with flavour always king.

For travel and onboard catering professionals, it is not just the food offering that must be given due care and attention. Passengers now expect airlines to deliver a hot beverage offering that meets their discerning tastes and expectations – with many disillusioned when their favourite hot beverage results in disappointment at 35,000 feet.

Unfortunately, today coffee is still largely commoditised by airlines unlike the high street where the growth of popular brands have successfully decommoditised the marketplace. To challenge this and transform the onboard offering, catering professionals must understand the distinct flavour profiles of a cup of coffee on the ground and how science is enabling these to be recreated in the air.

How? By using flavour mapping. When it comes to coffee, documenting sensory attributes and their intensity for both flavour and aroma are key to understanding what’s unique to each cup – whether it’s an Americano, latte or flat white. That’s why Jacobs Douwe Egberts utilised a team of over 600 global R&D professionals and four Master Brewers – trained and knowledgeable coffee professionals – to benchmark these distinct flavour profiles.

Establishing a flavour map of each cup has not only enabled the team to understand the ‘DNA’ of the drink but create totally new product formats specific to the travel catering industry – a cup of our coffee that tastes exactly the same onboard as it does on the ground.

With airlines increasingly looking to provide their passengers with the best experience – transforming hot beverages onboard is the next step. By ensuring the quality and consistency of each drink we can not only satisfy passengers discerning taste buds, but deliver an exceptional coffee for every cup.

Ross Eden and Stuart Haden, Coffee Specialists at Jacobs Douwe Egberts will present a session entitled ‘Coffee can taste good in the air’ on the Taste of Travel Theatre on 5 April 2016 from 11.00 at the World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo in Hamburg. Visitors attending the session can learn more about the global project started by JDE to recreate their popular coffee ranges onboard, while enjoying a free cup of coffee and fresh pastries.

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