What is coffee? An obvious question, but let’s tackle it from the beginning. We buy lots of coffee, coffee equipment as well as beans. Let’s understand and appreciate coffee, its origins, how, why it brings about different tastes. In the world of coffee appreciation, the story of coffee begins in Ethiopia dating back to the 10th century and since caught on to the rest of the world by 16th century. On the contrary, coffee is not a ‘bean’. It’s the seed from the coffee cherry of the coffee plant. The cup of coffee you drink today is dependent on numerous complex factors.
Know the coffee beans
A myriad of processes come into play before coffee reaches your cup. But before they are ripe and ready for harvest, they are planted and take up to three years for a single coffee plant to bear coffee cherries.
There are around 25 species of coffee but only three are commercially utilized; Arabica, Robusta and liberica. Coffee Cherries are harvested when ripe and the beans inside are fermented, dried and milled.
The Arabica beans are grown on high elevation and handpicked to produce high quality coffee beans. They are lower in caffeine and produce a mild, fine and aromatic coffee. It is flatter and elongated than Robusta.
Robusta beans are higher in caffeine, bitter but lower in acidity. They are highly effective and used as blends. The bean itself is rounder and smaller than Arabica.
Liberica beans are not commonly known as they serve a very small percentage of the world market. It has an extremely woody flavor that only caters for a small percentage of people with a specific taste.
The Type of Roast
Aroma and taste are unlocked on the roasting process. High temperatures bring changes that define the bean as Light, Medium, Medium Dark and Dark. The length of the roasting changes what you taste as coffee. Don’t be duped, lighter roast does not mean they contain lesser caffeine. On the contrary, darker roasts contain what is the roast flavor.
Light Roast. It brings out the natural flavor of the bean. It has an underdeveloped sweetness, sharp acidity and grassy flavor. Emphasis is on the bean origin flavor. It creates a mild coffee but acidic and light body.
Medium Roasts. The heat is increased to bring a coffee that is balanced in acidity and the original flavor. The body of the bean develops in roast flavor but the origin character can still be tasted. It has lower acidity and medium bitterness.
Dark Roast. The beans are exposed to high temperature. From brown they become dark in color. The bean now is enveloped in roast flavor. All the original flavors are now lost. They have now lost moisture component and are light. Dark does not mean they lose caffeine, they are just smoky. They are minimal acidity and strong roast flavor.
A community of passionate coffee hobbyists, baristas and travellers who research, test and share knowledge in the home barista market. We strive to simplify home coffee brewing so that you can make better decisions about buying and brewing quality coffee, without having to be an expert.
The Brewing Methods
Brewing involves infusion of three components; water, heat and coffee roasts. Brewing methods have changed over the years around the world to incorporate changes in the advances in the field of coffee making.
Those methods range from Drip, Press, and instant coffee. These methods define the way coffee tastes, the flavor as well as the grip. Exploring further on the brewing you can accommodate will enhance your taste profile of coffee and exercise what you will be comfortable with.
Knowing the character of coffee
It’s better to understand and appreciate coffee out of what you perceive it to do for you. Coffee has been traditionally branded a social drink. You drink it for that boost in energy. However, to better evaluate how people like their drink, we focused on flavor, aroma, body and acidity.
Flavor: the feel in your mouth; the taste. Do you feel the taste like nuts? Is it earthy? Or have hints of honey or vanilla? The flavor notes are as varied as their descriptions.
Acidity: this is the tanginess when coffee first hits the palate. It doesn’t necessarily relate to the PH of coffee. The origin of coffee may increase or decrease the acidity of coffee and so does the roast level of coffee beans.
Aroma: the first association of coffee as being good is smell. Descriptions of coffee aromas as smoky, fruity or caramel are what we describe as aroma. Many compounds affect the aroma as the mixture is often volatile.
Body: we can describe body as the weight felt under the tongue when pressed against the palate. Body is either thin, light, or heavy resulting from the fat content in the coffee.
All coffees are described using the above traits. They are variable that will go into making your favorite cup of coffee.
Know Coffee Equipments
This is the last stage on knowledge about coffee. By equipments we mean the means about how you turn that well roasted coffee into the drink that you visualized. Bear in mind that the deals here are as enormous as the aromas in coffee.
Your knowledge in this area will turn you into a home barista. Technology has not been left behind in making the best so that the customer can only have the best. Careful selection here is key to getting a good cup of coffee.
Coffee is brewed from electric kettles, traditional pot brewers, pour over brewers, to more sophisticated automatic coffee brewers.
‘Great coffee comes from a good machine’.
Know coffee around the world
The ideal coffee grown around the world comes from the tropical regions. These regions have enough moisture temperatures and rich soils to grow. Coffee is enjoyed differently around the world. Each coffee producing region has its unique variable when it comes to the taste of the final product
Coffee is grown many countries and regions including;
North America and the Caribbean – Hawaii, Mexico and Puerto Rico
Central America- Guatemala, Costa Rica,
South America- Colombia and Brazil
East Africa- Ethiopia and Kenya
West Africa- Ivory Coast
Asia- Indonesia and Vietnam
But that’s not all there is; there are many other small scale producers not on the list who also produce premium wonderful coffee.