Ever wonder why drinks that are meant to be consumed at a certain temperature taste worse when they are not? I was thinking that to myself the other day when I left a cup of coffee on my desk because it was initially too hot to drink. I didn’t know the answer, so I did some googling. Today I learned that temperature can drastically affect the way a drink tastes.
If a drink is too hot or cold, the taste receptors in your tongue don’t work as well as they’re supposed to. This means, at extreme temperatures, you don’t taste the full flavor of whatever you’re putting into your mouth. You don’t taste the full bitterness of coffee or beer, which makes the drink more pleasant.
When your drink cools down or warms up to a more acceptable temperature, you can taste more of the flavors that make up the drink, making it more bitter or sweeter, and amplifying what it truly tastes like.
For coffee, this isn’t too bad. I enjoy the bitterness of a strong coffee even if it’s warm, but when it comes to beer, it always tastes terrible to me.
Turns out, I’ve been doing it wrong (or drinking the wrong beers). Apparently, bad beer is served cold so that it tastes palatable when you’re chugging it down. When it has warmed up, you can experience all of its flavors, which often brings up the comparison to piss. Good beer is supposed to be consumed at close to room temperature so that you can taste all of its flavors.
I haven’t had many beers at room temperature (not a thing here in Malaysia), but the next time I have something more premium or some craft, I’ll give it a shot warm. Won’t be anytime soon, but for now, I’ll make do with cold diet sodas and instant coffee until this Movement Control Order has been lifted.