Everyone likes a good coffee. For many people, their first cup or two is just as important (if not more so) as picking out clothes or feeding their children. But what is good coffee, anyway? It is crucial to understand that not all coffee is created equal, even when the bag proclaims it as such.
There is much that goes into producing good coffee, but ultimately, it all boils down to individual taste. The first step in selecting a good coffee brand is finding a good coffee roaster. Roasters vary greatly in both quality and price. It is best to ask around at coffee shops and cafes for recommendations about which roasters are the best. A word of caution, however: While many popular names like Starbucks and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf are well-loved, many specialty coffee shops use lower quality, less expensive roasters.
Roasting is also an important factor in good coffee. Not all coffee can be made delicious by simply grinding the beans and brewing a pot. Many people prefer the rich flavor of whole beans because the real flavor of the coffee is able to burst when they are ground. Whole beans require more care when brewing, but the result is usually worth it. For those who want a smoother consistency with their coffee, grinding is the way to go.
Another important factor in coffee making is the type of water used to brew the coffee. All coffees contain a small amount of caffeine, so increasing the amount of caffeine in the coffee will significantly increase the amount of taste you’ll experience. Water plays an important role in how the coffee will react with the beans, so it is important to find a water filtration system that is certified by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The certified systems remove chlorine, lead, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), mercury, cysts, lindane, and benzene. The larger the water filter, the more robust the coffee will taste. For even more taste enhancement, look for multi-stage filtration devices.
Another factor that affects the taste of the finished coffee beans is the way they are harvested. Generally, farmers are allowed to pick the beans in the morning, dry them out, and then send them through a press. This forces the beans to be compressed and dried into something that has a uniform consistency and flavor. Harvesting in this way makes the beans smoother and allows the individual bean cells to have more air space. The result is a more flavorful, smooth cup of Joe. However, some prefer the crunchier taste of dried coffee beans, which is achieved by either grinding the beans or using a water filter to remove any sediment that is present in the final blend.
A Much Ado
Coffee companies will often use a method called wet roasting to give their blends a certain degree of caffeine. In wet roasting, coffee is heated to a specific temperature and then turned on the pot to brew. As it brews, the water vapor that the coffee brews contain tiny amounts of caffeine, which makes the coffee slightly bitter. People who appreciate a good cup of Joe appreciate the slightly bitter taste. Coffee companies are able to control the amount of caffeine in the final blend by determining when the hot water boils and when it stays hot enough to release the small amount of caffeine through the steam wand. By carefully controlling when the temperature and duration of brewing are adjusted, these companies are able to control the caffeine content in their blends.
If you are looking for a good, fresh cup of Joe, there are two options for you: drip coffee makers or regular brewing machines. A drip coffee maker includes a special glass carafe and a coffee filter attached to the basket. Coldwater passes through the filter, where it gathers coffee grinds and other debris. A motor moves the coffee through the basket and then to your cup. This method of brewing preserves the natural flavor of fresh ground beans, without adding any additional caffeine.
If you prefer a richer, darker cup of Joe, then a regular machine may not be what you want. Robusta is an expensive type of bean compared to Arabica beans, but it is even more rare and flavorful. If you really desire a rich, dark blend, then consider buying a robusta-style coffee maker, which has a small burr grinder built into the machine. This type of machine uses a different brewing process than the drip coffee maker and produces a much fuller, bolder taste in each brew.