What is the meaning of Umami?

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Umami is a word of Japanese origin, composed of two terms, “umai” which means delicious, and “mi” which translates to flavor. Umami is considered a mild and prolonged flavor caused by monosodium glutamate in coffee tastings. It is part of the group of basic flavors, bitter, salty, acid, and sweet. Below we give you more details about this particular flavor and its taste sensations. 

Umami Origins

Umami was discovered by Japanese researcher Kikunae Ikeda when he was a professor at Tokyo Imperial University. Ikeda got this compound in 1908 in a kombu seaweed broth called dashi; the scientist soon realized that it was a different flavor, tasty to the palate, and prolonged. 

But umami is not only present when you taste kombu algae. It is found in many other foods, like cheeses, soy sauce, meats, breast milk, mushrooms, fish, ham, asparagus, seafood, and tomato, to name a few.

Umami is used in processed and concentrated products: soups, pizzas, appetizers, fries, and Asian dishes.

Does not appear on the flavor wheel

Teg Lingle, the creator of the flavor wheel, states that umami can not appear as a flavor since it is a version of salt, and therefore, it is considered a salty flavor.

Umami does not appear on the taste wheels used in coffee tastings. There is also a discussion about the harmful effects of monosodium glutamate on consumers’ health.  

Monosodium glutamate is integrated into the proteins of natural products and is also added to processed foods to enhance flavor. However, it has been shown that excessive consumption of processed products can be harmful to the body.

Now that you know the meaning of umami, follow us on our social networks to learn new terms related to coffee tasting.


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