It’s not easy to enjoy meal times when traveling by plane given the taste sensations impacted by altitude. Even the coffee tastes bland. Except now on board Alaska Airlines which conducted an experiment to find a recipe whose flavor withstands altitude.
It’s no longer a secret: taste changes when you travel by plane. Altitude causes a change in our taste perceptions. More precisely, it is the olfactory and taste receptors that are altered. And that’s not all. Dry cabin air and pressurization play a role in flavor attenuation. Scientists estimate that taste is altered by 15 to 30% in this environment. According to tests carried out by the Fraunhofer Institute in Central Europe, salt is perceived as being between 20 and 30% less intense and sugar between 15 and 20% less intense.
For coffee, all is not lost since we have found a way to make the taste experience much better. The airline Alaska Airlines looked into the subject, in association with a roaster from Oregon to carry out an experiment lasting no less than a year. Objective: to develop a coffee that suits the taste buds of travelers so that they can enjoy a real tasting experience even above the clouds.
NO to diets, YES to WW!
Improve the quality of meals (and coffee) served on board
More than 200 coffee grinds were developed to evaluate all the characteristics of what could be a good kawa to serve during a flight. It was in fact a matter of adapting the degree of roasting to eliminate the acidity and balance the toasted notes. “We tested more than twenty variables, including changes in grind, dose, filter paper and filter block dimensions, to ensure the onboard experience will wow our guests,” the airline explains. Additional difficulty: the coffee obtained also had to be adapted to the milk mixture for passengers who are used to adding it.
The selected result will present “aromatic notes of toasted marshmallows, browned butter and caramel with delicate notes of citrus and cherry”. It will be served on board all Alaska Airlines flights starting December 1.
This project is part of the numerous efforts made by various airlines to improve the quality of meals served on board. We know the commitment of Air Europe, which has long sought out great French starred chefs such as Régis Marcon and Anne-Sophie Pic to concoct menus worthy of the finest restaurants. For its part, Corsair called on the winner of Top Chef Mohammed Cheikh to treat its business class since September 1.
It’s true that it’s often the first and business classes who benefit from the best culinary attention. But since last September, the company El Al Airlines has been offering an offer valid in all cabins in collaboration with the Israeli chef Assaf Granit, a true star of the kitchens in Tel Aviv and Paris, where he is the owner of recognized restaurants such as Tekés, Boubalé, Balagan. Considered an ambassador of Levantine cuisine, the chef who holds a star for his Parisian restaurant Shabour has prepared a menu based on Israeli ingredients. Note that the carrier has interrupted certain air connections, notably to Tokyo, Marseille and Dublin given the armed conflict. But, it still provides services to New York, Bangkok, Athens and Madrid.