Our group decided to tackle the experience of flavor through attempting to discover the perfect dining hall coffee. We broke this task down into 3 components: coffee, milk, and sugar. We assumed that if we could find the “best” of each component, putting these best components together would also combine to create the perfect dhall coffee.

Below, I’ve presented the results of my parallel tastings for Step 3: Sugar.

I tasted three types of sugar from the dining hall: 1) Shape (artificial sugar/sweetener), 2) Indulge (artificial sugar/sweetener), and 3) standard dining hall sugar.

In my parallel tastings, I tried to use all five senses:

SIGHT – Opacity and granularity of sugar grains

SMELL – Any odors/aromas

TASTE – Strength, endurance, and peak of flavor

SOUND & TOUCH – When I rub the sugar between my fingers, are there any differences in sound and feelings among the sugars?

However, the tastings primarily relied on sight and taste, as the sugars were fairly odorless (they all smelled faintly like hot cocoa/vanilla extract) and didn’t differ significantly in sound (best described as soft crackling) and feeling (crumbled grains) when rubbed between the fingers.

The jury is out, and the best sugar was Shape sweetener. Its appearance of powdered sugar/snow also reveals that it’s not too grainy, which can be annoying to find at the bottom of your coffee cup. In addition, it has a medium sweetness out of the three sugar, which could be described as an instant peak in sweetness that quickly dissolves and leaves no aftertaste (kind of reminiscent of cotton candy). I think it would be the best sugar for the perfect dhall coffee, without being too sweet (Indulge) or too grainy (standard sugar).