Again, can't stop looking at the World Coffee Research Sensory Lexicon, a universal language of coffee’s sensory qualities. Why? Because they have a category for Stale/Papery. And you might ask, why would I want my coffee to taste like an old paper cup? Well, I'm not sure if it's supposed to be an aroma in the coffee, or a thing to avoid, to look for in an effort to make better coffee, or to make for a more discriminating palate.
But that's not it. World Coffee Research also gives a real world example of the aromas listed in their lexicon. Open a can of Bush's Pinto beans and smell it, microwave a frozen banana and mash it up and put it in a glass dish. Or, in this case of conveying the sensation of Stale, i.e, "the aroma characterized by a lack of freshness," they suggest Mama Mary’s Gourmet Original Pizza Crust. That's right, cut a 2-inch square of crust and serve in a medium snifter. Poor Mama Mary.
Just for context, "Papery," as in paper cups, is best represented by Pure Brew coffee filters, where you submerge a stack of coffee filters boiling water overnight. Better yet? Cardboard. Best represented by - cardboard. Put it in some water and sniff it up.
World Coffee Research Sensory Lexicon, 2016
World Coffee Research
5728 John Kimbrough Blvd., Suite 201
College Station, TX 77843-2477
Gotta have some Limbic Signal links to the old folks posts (because yes we all smell like old cardboard eventually)