The Sensory Characteristics of Spices

30-Jun-15, Tuesday

Here are the 15 most commonly used sensory characteristics when describing the flavor and aroma profiles of spices. I do not include salty as a taste characteristic for spices, as while this is indeed a flavor profile in foods the salt flavor doesn’t come from individual spices.

Bitter – ajwain, bay leaf, celery, clove, cumin, epazote, fenugreek seeds, horseradish, juniper, lavender, mace, marjoram, oregano, savory, Sichuan peppercorns, star anise, turmeric and thyme

Cooling – anise, fennel, and sweet basil

Earthy – achiote, cumin, saffron and turmeric

Floral – coriander, lemongrass, rose petals, saffron, sweet basil and thyme

Fruity – anise, fennel, nigella, savory, star anise, tamarind

Herbaceous – dill weed, lavender, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, savory, tarragon and thyme

Hot – black pepper, chiles, horseradish, mustard, wasabi and white pepper

Nutty – ajwain, black cardamom, coriander seed, cumin seed, fenugreek seeds, mustard seed,poppy seed and sesame seed

Piney – bay leaf, rosemary and thyme

Pungent – allspice, epazote, garlic, ginger, grains of paradise, horseradish, marjoram,mustard, onion, paprika, spearmint, star anise and wasabi

Sour – amchur, pomegranate, sumac and tamarind

Spicy – bay leaf, cassia cinnamon, clove, coriander, cumin, curry leaf, ginger, marjoram and nutmeg

Sulfury – asafoetida, chives, garlic and onion

Sweet – allspice, anise, caraway, cassia cinnamo, chervil, clove, dill seed, fennel, green cardamom, nutmeg, poppy seed, sesame seed and star anise

Woody – cardamom, Ceylon cinnamon, clove, juniper, lavender, rosemary and Sichuan peppercorns