So I got few of my friends to join the brotherhood of coffee. And they asked me about the flavor notes that are marked on the beans packages, the ones that provide a few hints about the taste. Can someone share a method to train the tongue to taste the flavor notes faster?
Sensory skills are one of the most important skills any barista and coffee lover could have. But, just like with any other skill, it takes time to develop. The first and easiest thing you can do is to drink as much coffee as you can and explore the vast world of flavor profiles and complexities of different coffees around the world have to offer. Maybe one day go find a shop selling a Yergacheve or a Genji from Ethiopia and next go find a Sumatra or Papua New Guinea. Recognizing this kind of dichotomy will help you to find major differences in coffee and eventually sharpen your palate.
There is, in fact, a science behind tasting coffee. It's been said in studies that when we taste things we associate them with a color. If you taste butter, you might see yellow. If you taste kale, you might see green, etc. The SCA has a great visual representation of this. You can find it on google or on their website. I would use that as guide.
Also, eat more food and fruits. Get more familiar with food. When you look at the color wheel, you'll probably notice a lot of flavors or fruits that you've never even heard of. Eating more food can help you train your palate for tasting coffee.
Lastly, there is both a subjective and objective aspect to tasting coffee. If you were drinking a Kenyan coffee and said, "I taste green apple," then objectively speaking, you're tasting what is known as Malic Acid. If you tasted grape, tartaric acid, and so on. This does not come easily or quickly, but keep with it. Don't, out of potential discouragement, start saying you taste things just to say that you taste them. Allow your brain to adjust and sooner than later you'll be a whole lot better at being able to distinguish flavors in coffee.
Hope this helps!