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I suppose it could also be considered "earthy".

There is an ingredient that is often added to "authentic" salsas that often ends up making it taste too "earthy".

Which ingredient is it? Is it cilantro?

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People who don't like cilantro usually describe it as soapy, not earthy. – Jefromi Mar 14 '14 at 19:02
When I think of ingredients that taste like dirt, I think of baby corn ... but that wouldn't likely be in salsa. – Joe Mar 14 '14 at 19:05
What ever it is, it's not found in many commercial salsas. This has just been a question I've never found a direct answer to. – Squish Mar 14 '14 at 19:06
I think that non-commercial salsas usually taste "brighter" if anything. Where are you getting these salsas? – SourDoh Mar 14 '14 at 19:39
@sourd'oh : Every place doea their salsa different. Various 'Mexican' cafes and restaurants. It seems like the more tradional restaurants make their salsa that way. Newer restaurants and cafes tend to have 'brighter' tasting salsa, to steal a term from an above comment. :) – Squish Mar 14 '14 at 19:47
up vote 7 down vote accepted

My partner has a very sensitive "dirt-flavor" sense... One of the ingredients that may be found in salsa that often triggers it for her is cumin.

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My dad has the same thing - hates anything with cumin in it because it tastes like dirt to him. – Kogitsune Mar 17 '14 at 14:54
I love cumin, but my wife thinks it tastes like mud. – barbecue Sep 6 '15 at 2:19
So weird, cumin has such a wonderful perfume and flavor. The only way it could taste like dirt is if you were using a tin that had been sitting in your spice rack too long, imho. – haakon319 Jan 25 at 21:29

As the comments pointed out, everyone does Salsa differently, but if you add chioptle pepper you will get a heated dark flavor. Also, depending on how you are charring your veggies, tomatillos can also do this - especially if roasted with their skins still on.

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