How many people can’t get through their morning, or their whole day, for that matter, without at least one cup of coffee? Most of the people who’ll ever read this, if the social media has anything to say about it. But one thing many caffeine fiends agree on is that not all cups of joe are created equal.
There’s nothing wrong with trying to figure out your ideal cup of coffee, but it might be hard to figure out what you’re looking for if you’re a newbie. Never fear, we’re here to help. Let’s talk about some of the most commonly examined factors which go into great coffee. For an unparalleled selection of upscale flavors, Glasshouse Mountains Coffee is highly recommended.
The scent of coffee is one of if not the first things you detect about it, and it sets the stage for the experience of drinking it. It also ties into the flavor, since any food or beverage junkie understands that smell and taste are linked together by our nervous system. Ideally, a good brew will draw you in with its inviting aroma. If it has no odor, or, even worse, a nasty, burnt smell, it can instantly turn you off from drinking it.
#2. Roast Quality
Another important thing to pay attention to is the quality of the roast itself. Expert growers have a simple trick for determining the quality of a roast. All you have to do is take a glass and fill it up with ice water. Take a tablespoon of the coffee and dump it onto the water. If the coffee remains at the top of the glass and doesn’t seep into the water at all, it’s a top-notch roast.
The reasoning behind this technique is that if the coffee thoroughly diffuses into the water, it’s been over-roasted. If the beans haven’t been roasted properly, there will be an inappropriate amount of fructose present, which will leak into the water. The only way for the fructose to linger at the top of the glass is if the beans have been roasted well.
When coffee beans haven’t spent enough time being roasted, they don’t caramelize enough. This results in a higher level of fructose present. Fructose that hasn’t been caramelized tastes noticeably sweeter. On the other hand, in beans that have been roasted too much, there is excessive breakdown of the amino acids and sugars present inside. Either way, over/under-roasted, there will be too much fructose.
#3. Quality of the Coffee Beans
We understand now that the roasting process is very important, but before that, you can get an idea of the quality of the coffee by educating yourself about the quality of the beans.
Different places around the world are known for different qualities and flavors. Northern European countries like the Netherlands produce beans that are famously acidic and bitter, which is certainly an acquired taste. In Central America, the beans are typically balanced, mild, and medium-bodied. There’s a degree of acidity, but it’s not overbearing.
South American coffee is also mild, but it’s much creamier and boasts a nice chocolate aftertaste.
#4. Taste it.
The most obvious test is… the taste-test! Examining the flavor of the coffee is the most surefire way to determine your compatibility with the brew. Avoid any undesirable tastes, such as a burnt taste, an abundance of sweetness, acidity, or bitterness. The blend should be smooth and demonstrate a combination of complementary flavors. Use wine for an example. The blend could be fruity, flowery, and/or robust. It should be subtle, it shouldn’t jump out at you the moment the coffee touches your tongue.
Coffee develops its flavor during the roasting process. The beans expand outward and the balance of chemicals within changes due to chemical and physical reactions, resulting in varied fragrance, taste, density, and appearance.
In the case of a lighter roast, the beans hold onto more of their original flavor, highlighting the species of bean, the soil from which it grew, and the altitude and climate in question. A darker roast, by contrast, will result in all of those unique flavoring becoming muddled and overpowered.
Don’t be afraid to try different roasts and beans until you find the combination of flavors that gets you through the day like no other.