All About Coffee

I worship at the feet of the coffee gods.

from brauncoffeemakers

Without my morning coffee, I am a terror to behold. Not a raging, monstrous terror–but the kind that you don’t want to be driving the car next to you because without coffee, I am inept.

from marktraffic

I began drinking coffee around the age of 12. I remember my first dreadful sip of this delicious brew–

I was at my grandparents’ house and everybody was drinking coffee,

alisongarwoodjones

so I causally poured myself a cup. Took a sip–

from zissle

–and hated it.

Took another sip.

Still hated it.

Added some cream–

from livestrong

–bearable.

I recently spent a weekend with my grandparents and realized why that cup of coffee was so heinous. I believe the coffee industry calls the type of coffee they brew “singles.”

from foodservicedirect

I call it “teabag coffee.”

And… my grandmother reuses the coffee “singles” so that they can be “doubles” and “triples”.

Gack.

So what makes good coffee good?

First you need good coffee beans.

from allposters

The coffee bean sets the tone for the entire experience. Like wine, different coffees from different regions have different flavor profiles.

from coffeebeans

Handy, General, & Not Exhaustive ( but speedy) List of Coffee Regions and Taste Profiles

  • Central & South America: light body, sharply acidic, bright flavors, crisp and clean finish
  • Africa & Arabia: medium body, dry, wine-like acidity, rustic flavors, intensely aromatic
  • Indonesia & Guinea: full body, soft acidity, earthy taste, rich, long finish
This is by no means a complete list and each coffee’s flavor profile will vary within the country of origin.  I prefer South American coffees, then Africans, then Indonesians. I think that some Indonesian coffees taste like sweaty construction workers–but that could just be me.

Next, the beans need to be roasted properly.

from moisttech

Each particular region/country requires careful and different roasting. Improperly roasted beans taste like… something you don’t want to drink.

It’s not your job to figure out the in’s and out’s of this–it’s a complicated process.

Your job is to find a coffee shop with a relationship with a good roaster. Then your job is to patronize that coffee shop to insure that they stay in business. Support your local businesses, folks. They work harder and provide better products and services than chains do–let’s keep them around a little while longer.

graysharbordeals

Okay…stepping off soap box…

Next–when to grind.

No–not on the dance floor. That’s tacky all the time.

from newsodrome

We’re still talking about coffee.

from coffeebeangrinderblog

The best coffee is the freshest. From this statement, one can correctly infer that the freshest coffee is made from the most freshly ground coffee.

There are 2 main types of grinders–blade and burr.

Blade Grinders

from sodahead

Your typical home coffee or spice grinder. Very inexpensive ($20-30 range), and uses a blade like this

from gallacoffee

to grind up your coffee beans to the desired coarseness (or fineness). However, this grinder does not grind the beans to a consistent texture, which can cause under- or over-extraction of the beans. It also emits heat when grinding which can zap some of the flavor of the bean.

Adequate, but not the ultimate in coffee grinding.

Burr Grinder

from consumerguide

The burr grinder is the ultimate. Because it uses burrs like these

from cuttingtoolsite

to grind the coffee beans, they are ground more consistently and evenly which prevents under- or 0ver-extraction of the bean.

Burr grinders also emit less heat on the bean when grinding, which helps the bean retain more flavor, which in turn gives you a better cup of coffee.

Not terribly expensive–around $100 for a home grinder.

Lastly–brew method.

There are 2 main types of coffee-making that you’re likely to run into–drip and French press.

Drip

from coffeemakerreview

and French Press

from onecuptitan

Typically, drip coffee is the most common. It’s how you make it at home. It’s probably what your coffee shop serves you. And Waffle House.

Drip coffee is made by forcing hot water through ground coffee. The coffee is usually nestled in a filter of some sort (to keep the grounds out of your mouth–handy things, filters).

from coffeetea15

If you’re not sure if your local coffee shop serves you drip coffee–then it probably does.

Drip coffee is not bad.

But it’s no French pressed coffee.

from demandstudios

French pressed coffee is made by allowing the coffee grinds to mingle with hot water in the French press for about 4 minutes before pushing down a metal filter (called a “plunger”)

from frieling

to trap the grinds at the bottom of the French press. This method allows the water to mingle with the coffee grinds and extract the oils and flavors. French pressed coffee is typically smoother and more flavorful than drip coffee.

from bodum

If you’ve never tried a cup of French pressed coffee, you should. You may never go back.

Some good news: French presses are (relatively) inexpensive–you can have one at home! And they come in different styles and shapes, too.

from bodum

Okay, let’s review.

Good coffee is comprised of:

  • good beans
  • good roasting
  • good grinding
  • good brewing
Not hard, huh?

from coffeechief

Now don’t ever let me catch you getting gas station coffee, okay?

suck it, martha.


Tags: ,

Categories: Food & Drink

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One Comment on “All About Coffee”

  1. Wonder Woman
    July 5, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    Oh coffee! It doesn’t clear up my headaches, but it does make my day brighter. I don’t ever need coffee, even if I say I do. I just want it. Next purchase, a burr grinder.

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