Every coffee drinker is different – some of us enjoy the smooth richness of our cuppa while others crave a caffeine buzz, and with so many different types of beans and blends flooding the market, 0,*2-how do you choose the right one for your tastes? There are several key proponents to your cup of coffee that are worth considering, and we’ve rounded them up for you below. Creating your perfect cup of joe is just around the corner!
How You Make Your Coffee
How you brew your coffee is an important aspect of the bean selection process, as different methods suit different beans. Different types of brewing can also drastically affect the caffeine content in your cup, as this recent survey by Crema Coffee Garage has revealed. Here’s a quick overview:
- Espresso: regular barista-made coffee
- Pour Over: coffee poured through a metal/paper filter
- French Press: coffee made in a plunger/coffee press
- Stovetop Espresso: boiled on a home stove
- Cold Brew: typically brewed overnight (8-12 hours), with cold water
How You Take Your Coffee
It may not appear to be important, but how you take your coffee, or your coffee order, can impact your drinking experience. Whether you drink long blacks; or you prefer creamer and sugar; or milk and a little froth, the quality of your drink can depend on the beans you use. Some beans come alive when brewed alone, others complement milk and sugar – but it’s something to consider when pursuing your perfect cup.
Which Roast You Prefer
The roast is an essential element to consider when making your cup and choosing your beans. The roast refers to the process of roasting the coffee beans to turn them from green to brown, basically bringing out their aromas and flavour, and preparing them to be ground and brewed.
The roast of a bean can range from light to dark, and it is generally accepted that the darker the roast, the better the quality. However, some of the darkest variants cater to drinkers who enjoy an extremely rich taste, but these will generally be labelled as such.
The “roast date” of the coffee is also important. Most quality coffee brands/blends will include the date the beans were roasted on. This is important to consider as coffee generally peaks in flavour approximately 7-10 days after roasting.
A comprehensive guide to the subtle differences between the roasts can be found here.
What’s Your Flavour?
At its core, coffee tastes like coffee, but thanks to skilful farmers, roasters, and baristas, coffees also have flavour profiles. Most coffees have underlying tastes, whether they be nutty, fruity or salty; yet different flavours can enhance your cup of coffee, and greatly affect its overall taste.
Breaking Down The Bean Basics
For further reading, Consumer Reports have an excellent and extensive coffee buying guide available. They’ve helped identify some popular coffee jargon that may be confusing, so here’s some helpful de-coding:
The notes of a brew are the subtle flavours and aromas. Top/base notes are regarded as the good, flavourful ones; off notes are bad.
Astringent: Dry, puckering feel of unripe fruit or over-brewed tea.
Balanced: an Ideal blend of sour and bitter; not dull or flat.
Body: Feeling of fullness and weight in the mouth.
Cereal or Grainy: Like a cooked wheat cereal.
Cooked: Like coffee that has been heated too long.
Earthy: Hints of aromas and flavors similar to potato skins or root vegetables. (But dirty is a harsh off-note.)
Green: Has two meanings. A green/sharp or bright coffee is clean and light, with pleasing acidity. A green/under-ripe coffee suggests unripe beans.
Nutty: Like fresh toasted nuts.
Papery: Like damp cardboard.
Woody: Like damp popsicle sticks.
Hopefully, by now you’re feeling more well-versed in the coffee basics, and you’re ready to decide which beans are right for you. Experiment and have fun with your coffee making and don’t be afraid to explore new flavours. Happy Brewing!