3 Things You Need to Know About COFFEE
In the world of coffee, there is much misinformation regarding which characteristics constitute a “good” or “bad” cup of joe. At the end of the day, it is really left up to personal preference, however, there are some important topics which beg discussion when in pursuit of the perfect cup.
In today’s post, I will enlighten you on 3 of these topics. Most of you coffee “purists” will already know most if not all of this information, however, the majority of daily coffee drinkers have not yet been so fortunate as to stumble upon something I like to refer to as “coffee done right”, or as my wife so delicately puts it, “coffee snobbery”.
So here we go…just sit tight and enjoy the ride, and in no time at all, you too can be prepared for a better experience with your warm and comforting friend-in-a-cup on a cold fall/winter morning!
1) Not All Coffee Is Created Equal
I hate to blow your mind right out of the gate here, but yes its true, not all coffee is “good” coffee. In fact, MOST coffee you can purchase at the grocery store, and even at large chain coffee shops, is just plain terrible. Now before you simply stop reading and cross off this post as hate speech, please allow me to elaborate.
What was once a delicacy in America, soon became a necessity. Due to the rising demand for this morning necessity, commercialization has skyrocketed in the last several decades. As a result, quality has taken a backseat to quantity in order to satisfy the demand.
You might be shocked to discover that the coffee you have been drinking from the large red or blue canister which you purchased at the grocery store yesterday, was roasted and ground upwards of 6 months ago. It has been sitting in a warehouse awaiting shipment for even longer than that. In fact, there is a high probability that your coffee is at least 12-18 months old.
However, because coffee does not mold like a loaf of bread, we tend to think that simply because we broke that shiny foil seal only yesterday, it must be fresh! Not so much…that coffee is just as stale as a bag of chips left opened in the cupboard for a year. Can you say “EWWWWWW”?!
And yes, even your most beloved chain of celestial/male-deer-named commercial coffee shops, are serving you coffee that was roasted 6-8 months ago…can you say “EWWWWWW”?!
So here’s the tip: look for coffee that has a “Roast Date” (just like the selections you can find here), rather than an “Expiration” date on the packaging . See example below.
***The above photo is from a previous roast. For peak freshness, coffee should be consumed within 14 days after the roast date (30 days is the max, any time beyond this, the coffee is much to stale, much like that loaf of bread sitting on the counter, but without the mold of course.)
2) More Bold = More Burnt
Let’s talk roast level for a minute here. There is a misconception that “Bold” coffee is the way to go, that is has more caffeine, its richer in flavor, etc. So what exactly makes one coffee more bold than another? The answer is very simple: leave it in the roaster longer. Its as easy as that. Its not the type of coffee, its origin, the particular farm it came from; none of that matters. Bold coffee is burnt coffee. Plain and simple.
Think of roast level in terms of grilling a steak. There’s rare, medium-rare, medium, medium-well, well-done, and “whooooaaaa-is it supposed to smoke like that?!” Choosing the level of “doneness” for your steak comes down to personal preference. However, as a general rule, if you wish to achieve a successful balance of both flavor and juiciness, the ideal range is somewhere in the middle, medium-rare to medium-well.
We can apply this same concept to the roast level of your coffee. On one end of the spectrum, if the roast is to light, it tastes grassy and green, quite unpleasant on the palate. But going to far to the other end of the roast, it begins to take on characteristics of charcoal, and that’s no joke, it really starts tasting like charcoal. The reason? Because it is charred! Bold roasted coffee is simply “whooooaaa-is it supposed to smoke like that?!” coffee.
So why do commercial roasters burn their coffee beans? Because they purchase low quality, bad tasting beans for the lowest price possible, and roast it so dark, it covers up any poor taste you might be able to detect, then sell it to the consumer as “Bold Roasted” coffee.
Here is an example of what “bold” roasted coffee looks like, and yes it pained me greatly to ruin a batch of good coffee just for this example :-|
Notice the shiny oily surface. These are the bean’s natural oils that were once on the inside of the bean, but have boiled to the surface of the coffee because it got to hot.
Your coffee should look more like this:
The surface is dry with a dull satin-like sheen.
These are the same beans (from Peru), the first batch was just pulled from the roaster several minutes later than the second batch.
So here’s the tip: search for coffee beans where little to no oil is present on the surface of the bean, that have been roasted to a balanced medium roast level (just like the selections you can find here)
3) H2O MATTERS!!!
Plain. And. Simple. The water you choose for brew matters! Think with me for a moment about drinking water. Very few places in the United States provide great tasting tap water. Of the few counties across this great nation that have good tap water, it is still filled with chemicals that react negatively when heated.
Let me blow your mind once more – coffee is 98% WATER! Why then would we take that same less-than-desirable water straight from the tap, and run it through those precious life-giving grounds of brown gold?! One word – INSANITY!
So here’s the tip: use filtered or bottled water. It’s as easy as throwing a couple extra gallon jugs of water in your grocery cart.
It will change your life, I promise!