Deja-vu is a common happenstance over the holidays. Seeing the same Christmas lights, or tasting that same homey pumpkin pie flavor, can make you think of past holiday seasons. Has the same thing ever happened to you while drinking coffee?
Here at Mandela, we do our best to make sure that every cup of coffee brings you a unique flavor. We try to break up the humdrum of a morning routine with a perfect roast. But some mornings do seem just like any other. And often, the taste of a certain flavor can bring back specific memories. Why is that? Sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s dive into exploring the flavors of memory.
Taste and Memory
Our taste and our memories are tied together, just like coffee beans and morning happiness. The parts of our brain that process those two things are linked. There’s a connection between the gustatory cortex, where we record specific flavors, and the hippocampus, where we record memory. No wonder we can’t remember Thanksgiving without thinking of mashed potatoes!
But why are our brains wired this way? Well, the answer might be an evolutionary one. Linking taste and memory may have helped our ancestors avoid poisonous food. The effects still linger with us- we remember eating anything that makes us sick, and have a persisting aversion to it. Falling ill from one bad catch of shellfish could keep you from eating any more shellfish later.
But we don’t have to think of tying taste and memory only in poisonous terms. Our taste buds can also help us remember things we’ve forgotten about. When we form memories, we form them by using all of our senses. This happens constantly, even over your morning brew. When you’re forming the memory of a conversation with a friend over coffee, you’re forming a memory of not only what you were hearing, but also where you were, what you were feeling, and what you were tasting. All that information can help you remember that conversation in the future. You could recall it by hearing that friend’s voice again, by returning to that coffee place, or by tasting that same flavor of coffee. Our memories are tied to everything around us.
So how can coffee help us remember things? Well, since memories are tied to all of our senses, we can best remember things by retracing our steps. Or, we can put ourselves back in our own shoes. An example could come with the morning newspaper. Let’s say you drink coffee every morning while browsing the latest headlines. The flavor of coffee will be tied in with your memory of those morning news stories. Now, if you want to remember those headlines later, you will do so better with another cup of coffee!
Memories and the Holidays
Do you have a special holiday memory, or any coffee-inspired tales? We would love to hear from you. Share your stories with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Mandela Coffee Team