It's no secret that our taste changes when we fly. Altitude alters our perception of taste, reducing the effectiveness of olfactory and taste receptors.
And that’s not all. Dry cabin air and pressurisation also play a role in diminishing flavours.
Scientists estimate that taste is altered by 15% to 30% in this environment. According to tests conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany, salt is perceived as 20-30% less intense and sugar as 15-20% less intense.
As for coffee, all is not lost, as ways are being found to improve the in-flight taste experience. Alaska Airlines, for example, has been working on the matter, in association with an Oregon roastery, for no less than a year. The aim was to develop a coffee that would satisfy travellers’ taste buds, so that they could enjoy a flavourful experience even in the skies.
More than 200 pots of coffee were brewed as part of the tests, with the aim of creating a custom coffee blend based on a roast balancing acidity and toasty aromas.
“We tested over 20 variables, including changes in grind, dose, filter paper and filter-pack dimensions to make sure the in-flight experience will wow our guests,” the airline explains.
An added challenge was that the resulting coffee also needed to be suitable for drinking with creamer or oat milk. The resulting blend promises “aromatic notes of toasted marshmallows, browned butter and toffee with delicate hints of citrus and cherry”. It will be served on board all Alaska Airlines flights in the United States from Dec 1.
This project follows in the wake of numerous efforts by various airlines to improve the quality of food and drink served on board.
Air France, for example, has long worked with French Michelin-starred chefs such as Régis Marcon and Anne-Sophie Pic to craft menus worthy of the finest restaurants. For its part, Corsair enlisted the French Top Chef winner Mohammed Cheikh to regale its business class customers as of Sept 1.
And while it’s often first and business class passengers who benefit from the finest culinary delights, since September, El Al Airlines has been serving a culinary offer valid in all cabins, developed in collaboration with the Israeli chef Assaf Granit, who holds a Michelin star for his Parisian restaurant, Shabour. – AFP Relaxnews