What do Simba Chips and coffee have in common?

Thursday, 8 April, 2021

This rather large and strange box appeared in the Coffee Magazine offices last week….

Choose me or Lose me?

We were intrigued!  Obviously we chose to open it and in doing so we entered into a fun and wonderful experience all about flavour, through one of SA’s most iconic and most loved products - Simba Chips!

As coffee drinkers, baristas, roasters and green coffee hunters, we are obsessed with flavour. It is the essence of so many things related to coffee, to food, to our emotions, our childhood memories and ultimately to our decision making.  And as the TV campaigns from the 80’s drummed into us…”SIMBA Roaaaaars with Flavour!”

Why all this? Simba are on a massive national campaign to create more space in their product lineup, but this means eliminating a few of the old Simba Flavours. To our horror, Salt & vinegar , Tomato Sauce and Cheese & Onion are on the chopping block!  We’ll talk more about the marketing objectives later where you have to vote to save your favourite flavour, but the part we found really interesting from a coffee point of view, is how the team at Simba went about educating the many journalists about flavour.

Each of those little droppers had 1 of the 5 flavour components. It was fun to try and identify them!

First up was “Taste Basics” - this was a pretty cool way to introduce everyone to the 5 components of flavour and where you find them on your tongue:

Sour and

Did you know the 5 components of flavour?

We then moved onto the Jelly Bean test  - this was really interesting! Try and block your nose while you chew a jelly bean. Then unblock your nose! It’s a rush of flavour!! This differentiated how we experience flavour on our tongue and through our olfaction system. Anyone who has ever cupped coffee, or competed in a cup tasters event will testify how significant this is when slurping the coffee to spread it all across your tongue and right up the back of your throat, taking a deep breath to wash the flavour through your olfaction system. Try it. It’s amazing :)

Finally, we did a texture test. This was basic, but drove the point home. One bag of chips we had to spray water on and seal in a bag. Them after 20 minutes, we took a chip from an airtight bag and a soggy chip from the wet bag and compared them side by side. Yuck! Soggy chips and stale chips will ruin the entire experience, even though the flavour was identical!

The physiology of flavour!

So the next time you sip a cup of coffee at your local cafe, or in your home - think about the flavour. Use the 5 tools above to try and identify what you are experiencing. Next, take a sip and then a deep breath in. Finally, think about the body (texture) of your coffee - is it thick and luxurious, is it thin and weak?  Have fun talking to your roaster, your barista or your coffee friends about flavour and why  they love the coffee they choose.

Tomato Sauce!!!

P.S  Mel and I are both voting for Tomato Sauce, because, we agreed that it is one of those nostalgic flavours that takes us straight back to break-time at primary school! Who are you going to vote for?

Got something to say? Then leave a comment!