Coffee beans must be learned: basic knowledge
What is the key to a good cup of coffee? Good brewing skills and equipment are indispensable, but high-quality coffee beans are the most important element. Have no idea about coffee beans, or are you often confused by a bunch of coffee terms? It doesn’t matter. In the following article, we will introduce important knowledge about coffee beans in the most simple and understandable way.
Good coffee is only with high-quality coffee beans
Drinking coffee is already an indispensable enjoyment. More and more people choose to make coffee at home, not only for interest but also for better coffee quality. If you have already or are planning to do this, the first thing you must know is: good coffee comes from high-quality coffee beans.
This principle is the same as most food. A stale fish, no matter how gorgeous it is cooked, is certainly not very delicious, but a fresh fish steamed with ginger is very delicious. Coffee is the same. Poor quality coffee beans can’t be saved even with the best brewing skills or equipment. They are destined to only make bad coffee.
So, what are high-quality coffee beans? Recall that you have drunk coffee that you found to be good. It probably has two characteristics. The first is the charming aroma and the second is the good taste. Different types of coffee beans have different tastes. Of course, different people have different personal preferences, but the so-called high-quality coffee beans are to retain the aroma and taste of the coffee as much as possible and emit them in the final brewing.
The aroma of coffee comes from coffee roasting
The aroma and taste of coffee are produced after roasting. During the roasting process, the moisture of the green coffee beans is slowly released, the weight is reduced, the color is darkened, the volume expands, and the aroma-containing oil is slowly released. In addition, the large amount of chlorogenic acid originally contained in green beans will gradually disappear with the baking process, releasing good-smelling fruit acid, and its taste varies with the length of baking time. In the picture below, you can see the change in the shape of the coffee beans during roasting.
The details of roasting will be detailed later. What you have to know is that the special flavor of coffee is roasted, which is related to how to choose good coffee beans next.
Coffee beans V.S. coffee powder
After deciding to make your own coffee, the first choice you face when buying coffee is whether to buy whole coffee beans or ground coffee beans. Excluding other personal equipment and time factors, our recommendation is only one: buy coffee beans, just buy coffee beans.
Of course, there are reasons for such a firm recommendation. Remember what we said earlier? The aroma of coffee comes from the roasted oil, which is sealed in the pores in the coffee beans. After grinding, the aroma and oil begin to volatilize, and the flavor of the final brewed coffee is naturally greatly reduced.
In addition, the area of the powder in contact with the air increases, and it is prone to moisture or deterioration. Under the same conditions, coffee beans can be stored nearly twice as long as coffee powder.
The only advantage of coffee powder is its convenience, especially if you always oversleep in the morning and don’t have time to grind coffee slowly, or you haven’t bought a tool for grinding beans, coffee powder can let you quickly enjoy a good cup of coffee. If you decide to buy a coffee powder, then we have the following two suggestions: (1) buy the amount for about two weeks at a time, preserve the flavor as much as possible, and (2) store the coffee powder in a good airtight jar.
Is it troublesome to grind beans by yourself? It’s actually fun and can maintain the flavor!
Coffee beans are the most complete form of coffee flavor preservation and ensure the freshness and original flavor of the coffee. Some manufacturers mix coffee from different sources in the same packet of coffee powder, and it is difficult for consumers to ensure the source of coffee.
Although grinding beans is also a great knowledge, believe us, once you start grinding beans by yourself, you will never go back to the days of coffee powder. It is definitely a great pleasure of self-made coffee to try the different flavors of different powder thicknesses after brewing.
The best taste period of coffee
Do you still read the shelf life on the package before buying coffee? We want to tell you another important thing: the best taste period of coffee is not equal to the shelf life, you should pay attention to the roasting time.
The roasting date of coffee beans represents the freshness. Usually, fresh coffee beans roasted within 2-3 days are a good choice. However, fresh roasting and buying is not actually the best time for beans to taste the best. In addition to the smoke and the smell of the beans during roasting, coffee beans will continue to spit out nitrogen dioxide for about 48 hours after they are roasted. (Exhaust), so the coffee beans are brewed immediately after roasting, but the flavor is not good.
It is recommended to buy coffee beans for about 2 weeks at a time. The coffee beans stored indoors are also recommended to be used after 2 weeks when the flavor is the best and most fragrant.
Types of coffee beans
Arabica (Arabica): expensive, soft taste, low caffeine
Coffee advertisements often emphasize that they use 100% Arabica coffee. Yes, if you look at the price alone, Arabica is indeed more advanced. Generally, the price of Arabica coffee beans is twice that of Robusta.
In terms of ingredients, Arabica has a low caffeine content (0.9-1.2%), a fat content of 60% more than Robusta, and a sugar content that is twice. Therefore, in combination, the taste of Arabica is relatively sweet. , Soft, with a plum-like sour taste.
In addition, the chlorogenic acid of Arabica is lower (5.5-8%), and chlorogenic acid is not only an antioxidant but also an important component to resist pests. Therefore, Arabica is more susceptible to pests and climate. , Generally planted at higher altitudes, the fruit is less and slower. The fruit is oval.
Currently, the largest growing country of Arabica is Brazil, and Colombia only produces Arabica coffee.
Robusta: cheap, bitter taste, high caffeine
In contrast, Robusta, which has higher caffeine (1.6-2.4%) and lower fat and sugar content, has a bitter and stronger taste, and some people even say that it has a rubbery taste.
Robusta has a high content of chlorogenic acid (7-10%) and is not easily affected by pests and climate. Generally, it is planted at a low altitude and produces many fruits, and is fast. The fruit is round.
At present, the largest growing country of Robusta is Vietnam, and Africa and India also have production.
Price is not equal to the quality
Because of its low price, Robusta is often mixed with commercially available coffee powder to reduce costs. At present, most of the cheap instant coffees on the market are Robusta, but the price is not equal to the quality. Good quality Robusta beans It is often used in espressos because of its richer crema. Good Robusta tastes even better than poor-quality Arabica beans.
Therefore, the choice between the two coffee beans is mainly based on personal preference. Some people may think that the aroma of Arabica is too strong, while some people like the mellow bitterness of Robusta. The only thing we have to remind is that if you are sensitive to caffeine, you must pay special attention to the caffeine content. Robusta’s caffeine content is twice that of Arabica.
Of course, coffee is not limited to these two varieties. You can also try Java (Java), Kona (Kona), Sumatra (Sumatra), and other varieties to add new flavors to your coffee experience.
What is recommended for coffee beans?
The flavor of coffee beans is affected by the production area, planting, processing, packaging, roasting, and other processes. How to choose good quality coffee beans and how to distinguish the flavor you might like? You have to start with understanding coffee beans.
Before getting into the topic, let’s first know a few proper nouns that describe the flavor of coffee:
Acidity: The irritation felt on the edge of the tongue when drinking coffee. It’s not the same as the lemon acid, but the refreshing and hearty feeling that coffee boosts the taste sometimes called brightness. Acidity is a very important characteristic of coffee. Coffee without acidity will taste very flat.
Aroma: The aroma of coffee after brewing is more diverse than the taste that can be felt on the tongue. Adjectives commonly used to describe the aroma of coffee include fruit-like, earthy, smoky, flowery, berries, nuts, etc.
Body: The taste of coffee in the mouth, ranging from light as water or skim milk to thick as milk or cream and syrup.
Aftertaste: Similar to the concept of wine tasting, it refers to the remaining taste in the mouth after the coffee is drunk. Some coffees have an aftertaste of cocoa or chocolate, while others have fruits, berries, nuts, etc.
Balance: This is an evaluation of the overall taste of the coffee. Good coffee beans have a balanced, layered, and soft aroma; bad coffee beans usually only present a single taste.
In addition to the above proper nouns, there are several common adjectives used to describe high-quality coffee:
Mellow: refers to coffee with low to medium acidity and good balance.
Mild: It means that coffee has a harmonious and delicate flavor. It usually refers to high-end South American coffee grown at high altitudes.
Soft: refers to coffee with low acidity and a little sweetness, usually Indonesian coffee.
After knowing the terms that describe the flavor of coffee, let’s take a look at what factors affect the taste of the coffee.
Origin of coffee beans
Coffee veterans know: drinking depends on the year, drinking coffee depends on the origin. The soil, climate, and altitude of the production area are the most fundamental elements that shape the taste of the coffee. Coffee has grown from different origins naturally tastes very different. Below we have compiled for you the coffee flavor characteristics of several major producing areas:
Brazil: Most Robusta is produced, with a strong taste and a chocolate aftertaste. Coffee products in hypermarkets usually come from Brazil.
Central America and Colombia: relatively light taste, good balance, low acidity, fruity aftertaste. More popular in the United States.
Indonesia: There is an earthy aroma of smoky flavor, bitter cocoa aftertaste, and full body.
Ethiopia: The origin of coffee, with high variety. Many are described as syrupy, with a strawberry or blueberry aftertaste.
Kenya: The taste is thick, with a bit of tomato sourness.
Hawaii: sweet, mild, mellow, and soft.
Coffee bean planting and processing process
In addition to the place of origin, the method of coffee bean cultivation (whether it is planted in the shade, organic cultivation, fertilization), and the coffee bean picking process (whether the working conditions of the farmworkers allow them to have good working quality) also affect the taste of the coffee. A good coffee plant may also produce bad beans.
The post-harvest processing of coffee beans is also very important. There are three common post-processing methods: sun exposure, water washing, and honey processing. The sun-dried coffee beans have a rich fruit aroma, sweet aftertaste, and high mellowness. The washed coffee beans have fruity or floral aromas, moderate acidity, and low mellowness. The aftertaste of honey-treated coffee beans is sweeter, fruity, and full-bodied.
At present, there are various classification methods in the world according to the size of coffee beans, the quality of post-processing, and the elevation of planting, which can also be used to judge the quality of coffee beans. In addition, some coffee packages have certification labels such as fair trade, sustainable management, organic cultivation, and high altitude. The quality of most coffee beans with these labels is not bad. Although some proofs may not be directly related to quality, they indicate that these coffee beans have been carefully processed.
Preservation of green coffee beans
Green coffee beans are very stable before roasting and can be stored for one year under good conditions. But if it is placed in a place with high humidity, bacteria may be produced, and the coffee beans will also be contaminated with a bad taste in the air.
It is worth mentioning that the so-called “aged” refers to coffee beans that are stored in the low-humidity and high-altitude environment of the place of origin, and are regularly kept fresh to cultivate a particularly fragrant taste. The coffee beans taste good, but they are also expensive. The coffee beans stocked in general warehouses are not old beans, don’t be fooled.
The roasting time of the beans will affect the appearance and taste. The simplest way of judging is that the longer the beans are roasted, the less sour and the less caffeine. Below we briefly list the coffee flavors produced by different roasting times for your reference.
Light roast: It has a strong green grass flavor and lacks an aroma, so it is rarely used for tasting.
Cinnamon roast: High acidity, slightly aromatic, often used to brew American coffee.
Medium roast: The taste is sour and bitter, the aroma is moderate, and the original flavor of coffee beans is retained. It is often used to make American coffee or blended coffee.
High roast: rich taste, balanced acidity, and bitterness, slightly sweet, with good aroma and flavor.
City roast: The acidity is lower than that of the medium-deep roast. It perfectly shows the flavor of the coffee. It is the standard roasting level and is most popular with the general public.
Full city roast: The bitterness is stronger than the sour taste, the aftertaste is sweet, and the aroma is full. It is mostly used to make iced coffee or black coffee.
French roast: strong bitterness, strong taste, no sour taste, with a smoky aroma.
Italian roast: The beans have a shiny surface, a strong bitterness, and a burnt taste. They are mainly used to make espresso.
From the above introduction, you can get the basic knowledge of identifying coffee beans and find out the taste you like by actually tasting different coffee bean flavors. After reading this article, congratulations on stepping into the world of coffee. Let us repeat it again, good coffee beans are the beginning of a good cup of coffee.