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The Art and Science of Tasting Wagyu Beef

  • Oct 01, 2018

It began as an exploration into the possibility of engaging in more nuanced discussions around the subject of craft beef. Certainly, the elevated experience of eating Mishima Reserve American Wagyu Beef warranted conversations akin to those typically reserved for fine wine and cheese, ones replete with evocative description, rich with organoleptic detail and subtlety. What we discovered from our research was that, frankly, people do not want to talk about such things as terroir and other factors when it came to their beef. Fair enough.

This was important information to know as we gathered the team for a formal steak tasting in the run-up to the launch of Drafted to endure this hardship was our CEO, our Founder, our lead food scientist, our e-commerce team, and several individuals supporting the launch—a dozen people in total. Collectively, our goal was to develop a common vocabulary to describe the many traits that make our American-bred, wagyu beef so incredibly delicious. 

Just another organoleptic day at the office

In calling the meeting (meating?) to order, our CEO proposed a toast (Yes, there was wine, an essential palette cleanser, and Spicy Green Gazpacho, too.): “How great are our jobs that we get to do this? I hope you’re hungry.” And with that, the grill master worked his magic, cut-by-cut, grade-by-grade, presenting us with a cavalcade of perfectly prepared beef the likes of which none of us had experienced before.

We evaluated over a dozen cuts of Mishima Reserve Wagyu Beef, representing each of our three grades—4-Star, 5-Star, Ultra. We tasted the beef medium rare, and in three ways: unseasoned, lightly salted, and with The Butcher’s Table seasoning. Between bites, we recorded our impressions on a proprietary rating sheet that captured five distinct characteristics:  Tooth, Tenderness, Juiciness, Beefiness, and Richness. These traits would become the equivalent of the wine and cheese worlds’ terroir, nose, cream, and tang. 


New York Strip

We each had our favorites and even the most knowledgeable among us were surprised by the sometimes obvious, sometimes nuanced, differences between individual cuts and grades. The aggregated results, represented on the 5-pointed spider graph pictured here, are featured on most product pages of the website. This cut profile is designed to help our guests distinguish between cuts and grades, and to help them discern the various flavors and textures of each cut of Mishima Reserve. 

Click here to learn more about the contextual meaning and intention behind each characteristic and how to use the cut profile in your own selection process.