COFFEE 101 - THE BASICS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOUR COFFEE

Coffee is a brewed beverage made from roasted seeds of coffee plants.

Coffee was originally grown in subtropical regions of Africa and Asia, although now it is grown throughout Central and South America as well.

Once coffee berries are harvested, only seeds are kept while the outer flesh of the berry is tossed away. There are different processes of extracting the beans out of the berries, these different processes and how they are done determine how the coffee tastes in the end.

COFFEE EXTRACTION

The two primary extraction methods used are:  Washed and Natural.

Washed: Here the berries are placed on the beds where they will be washed with water, removing the pulp, removing the fruit, the skin of the berries and then the coffee beans will be laid out in the field to dry for 30-40 days.

In this process we are isolating the coffee beans hence the taste in the coffee is unhindered by anything else, it is just the coffee bean.

Natural: As the name suggests, human involvement in this process is very little. Here the coffee berries are kept out in the sun for 20-30 days. The berries would start to ferment after a while which metabolizes sugars in the berry and produce by-products that influence the taste of the beans. After 20-30 days of drying, the fruit, skin of the berries will be removed and what is left is the bean whose characteristics are very similar to the beans which were extracted using the washed method. The coffee that you get from this method has some sweetness that rounds out the bitterness, there’s a kind of creaminess to it. If you are looking for a sweet or less intense coffee then natural processed coffee is recommended for you.

TYPES OF COFFEE BEANS:

There are, basically, two types of coffee, one is Arabica and the other one is Robusta.

The major difference between the two is that Arabica coffee usually has a better taste compared to Robusta. Robusta has that bitter taste that people don’t really like very much.

But Robusta has almost double the caffeine than Arabica does, so if you are looking for a nice taste, go for Arabica, if you are looking for more caffeine, go for Robusta.

When it comes to price, Arabica is more expensive than Robusta as the Arabica plants are more delicate and are more prone to diseases while Robusta plants survive longer and provide coffee the whole year long.

ROAST:

The coffees have different roasts, they go from light to medium, to dark to very dark.

The difference between the light and the dark roast is mostly the flavor. The amount of caffeine on the light roast and the dark roast is pretty much the same.

HOW TO BREW COFFEE AT HOME

As a general rule, it is one tablespoon of coffee for one cup of coffee. You can make changes by adding more or less coffee depending on how strong you want your coffee to be.

Although there are multiple ways of brewing coffee, we will be talking about two easy and important methods here:

1) Pour over

2) French press

Pour over:

This is probably one of the best methods for a delicious, aromatic cup of coffee.

  1. Boil water in a kettle.
  2. If you are using whole beans, grind the beans consistently as fine as possible.
  3. Now, put a filter in the brewer and rinse with hot water. This removes the paper residue on the filter and warms up the brewer, keeping your coffee hot for a longer time. Get rid of the water used for rinsing.
  4. Add the finely ground beans to the filter, slowly and steadily pour just enough water to soak them completely, starting from the middle and working your way outwards. Stop pouring before the coffee begins to drip through.
  5. Slowly pour in the remaining water, keeping the water in the dripper between half and three-quarters full. This should take about 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully remove the filter. Your coffee is ready to be served.

FRENCH PRESS:

1. Disassemble the French press and unscrew the mesh.
2. Ensure that no old coffee is present.
3. Clean and rebuild before use.
4. It is ideal to preheat your French press and the cup just like you did for your filter coffee.
5. Grind your beans as fine as possible without allowing any coffee to pass through the filter
6. To achieve this, adjust your hand mill grinder to make the blades touch, then screw back five clicks
7. Remove hot water from the French press and add in ground coffee
8. Using a scale weigh out the appropriate amount of water (refer to the chart above)
9. Set a timer for 5 minutes and start the timer
10. Pour water into the French press to saturate coffee grounds
11. Place lid on the French press
12. When the timer sounds, press the plunger down carefully
13. After plunging, pour and serve immediately
14. Any leftover coffee in the plunger will continue to brew after you plunge. If you are not serving it immediately, you can pour the coffee into a preheated carafe. This decanting will eliminate over-extraction and maximize enjoyment.
15. Weighing heated water is a great way to achieve accurate brewing ratios. 100g of heated water is approximately 100ml.
16. A heated water temperature of 95ºC is best for brewing French press. If the water temperature is too low, the coffee will taste weak and sour. If the water temperature is too high, the coffee will taste harsh, bland and even bitter.’
If you compare the coffee made using a filter and coffee made using a French press you see that coffee from the French press is thicker and has some oils on top of it. Now just add sugar to it and enjoy your coffee with a good book.

So what do you think of this brief history of coffee?
Hopefully, we can explore more on different types of coffee and different brewing methods next time.

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About Author

Karthik Ravikumar

Hi, I'm Karthik. I'm a fun-loving, free-spirited soul. I try to connect with my surroundings and love to explore. I have a degree in both science and marketing. My view on travel and lifestyle has a positive, hopeful spin, that is a necessity in today's world.

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