pointless descriptor #2

Balance

noun

  • 1 [mass noun] an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady:she lost her balance and fell
  • Sailing the ability of a boat to stay on course without adjustment of the rudder.
  • 2 [mass noun] a situation in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions:the obligations of political balance in broadcasting

Balance is not a bad word, it communicates well what we often strive to achieve when presenting delicious coffee, it in fact helps define what delicious is (i think this is delicious because it is not unbalanced), but it doesn’t communicate much beyond ‘we think this is quite nice’ - unbalanced is easier, unbalanced suggests over the top or extreme flavour, and we often assume that must therefore be bad, but some products and flavours are unbalanced and delicious – Lambic beer is not balanced in comparison to most session beer (though balance is a huge part of it’s blending) but it’s extreme sourness is what excites many of its lovers

espresso scoring in barista competition asks for a harmonious balance of sweet, acidic and/or bitter flavours, but doesn’t define what this balance is – it’s certainly never suggested that balance is equal amounts of each flavour group

I argue that balance is a less effective taste communicator than most, whilst being the most often used

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