Amina Harris: You’re Tasting Honey All Wrong

Jun 17, 2015
With her honey flavor wheel and honey library, this expert wants to change Americans' relationship to a controversial sweetener.

Amina Harris has a sweet job. Literally. As Director of the Honey and Pollination Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at UC Davis, her day-to-day tasks involve curating a honey library and hosting honey tastings. But this “sensory scientist” would prefer we move away from the word “sweet.”

In fact, a primary focus of Harris’ recent work has been creating the Honey Flavor Wheel, a thorough tool for understanding the wide range of flavor characteristics present in honey, while expanding vocabulary we use to describe it. Now, instead of simply describing the 300-plus varietals of honey as  “sweet,” we can contemplate their sassafras, ash, baked bread, or cassis elements.

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