Drinking coffee is a part of our morning routine. Over a billion of people drink this beverage every day from all over the world. Coffee is something that brings people together, sometimes even non coffee drinkers go to coffee shops and enjoy that coffee vibe. What is most interesting is that there is no human in this world who loves the taste of black coffee when they try it for the first time. They probably like it because of added sugar or milk and of its social benefits. By social benefits we mean all the conversations made with a cup of coffee by your side or all the work and projects that people are discussing while drinking coffee.
We have started noticing that people sometimes forget that they want to buy and drink good coffee. There is no shame in asking a barista (a person who works in a coffee shop) what kind of coffee you should buy. Most people encounter a problem when they are trying to decide what coffee to buy in the store. Usually you have one hundred options and no idea what certain words on the package mean. Should you buy light or dark roasted? Coffee grown in Ethiopia or Indonesia? X or Y brand? Probably you will grab one middle priced, not knowing if it’s good or not. If you have just a little knowledge about coffee you can make these decisions easier.
Firstly you need to know that coffee beans are not grown in such shape as you are familiar with. Coffee is made from a cherry, and farmers have a tough job getting coffee beans out of a cherry. There are two options. One is washing the cherries with water to get beans out and later dry them. This gives you a taste strictly of a bean, no fruit nor cherry aroma. Second method is very natural. The cherries are simply put out in the sun for 10 – 30 days. These coffee beans have almost the same taste as the washed ones, but at the same time also quite different due to the fermentation process. If you would like to have a little sweeter taste of the coffee then you definitely go with the last mentioned method, natural one.
Secondly, would you like to buy coffee from Java, Sumatra, Ethiopia, Guatemala, South America … ? Even though it is the same plant, there are huge differences in taste in regard to where the plant was grown. Mainly it has to do with the altitude at which the plant was grown. In low altitude areas there is a lot of oxygen and carbon dioxide, the air is very dense. Meaning coffee turnover is high, the coffee production in these areas is high. Meanwhile in higher altitude areas the coffee plants grow slower due to a lack of oxygen. The plant needs a lot of energy to grow. Because of the lack of oxygen and carbon dioxide the plant needs to do anaerobic respiration, without oxygen. This condition gives brightness to coffee and a creamy / sweet taste.
The next thing we will take a look at is the process of roasting the coffee. Very dark roasted beans are far away from the original taste of the bean. We are all quite familiar with that taste, it is a little bitter. If you want to be a bit more fancy and experience the real taste of coffee beans, try light roasted coffee.
One misconception that most people have is that coffee gives you energy. Caffeine is an imposter, it just gives you a feeling of being more energized. Adenosine helps your body with a couple of chemical reactions, one of which is that it helps your body to go to sleep by reducing the production of adrenaline. Caffeine does the opposite and keeps you awake by increasing the production of adrenaline.
Now you have some basic knowledge that will help you decide what kind of coffee to buy the next time you will be doing your shopping. But do you know how to brew a cup of coffee? There are a lot of different methods of making it. Let us take a look at two methods that are complete opposites. Pour over coffee / chemex means pouring hot water over ground coffee which is then immediately poured into a cup. Coffee and water do not have a lot of time to mingle, only for a couple of seconds. Because of that there are not a lot of coffee particles in the drink and this gives the drink it’s name, clear coffee. The second method is French press. Here you allow coffee and water to mingle for a longer period of time and as a result you get an oily and textured coffee.
Next time you go to the store you will have some idea on what to buy. Or if you are in a coffee shop you will be more aware of what you are drinking. Do not get confused with the special names for coffee drinks, they are usually just mixtures of espresso and milk in different quantities with added flavors. Also do not be scared of the baristas, they are your friends. If you are not sure what you want, feel free to ask them for advice.