We all want coffee that best suits our needs.
Choosing the right coffee has so many factors to consider, some of which might be totally off your radar. You can rest easy, we’re here to help!
Here’s a few things to consider when you’re choosing your next beans:
Origin matters. If you drink your coffee with milk (especially espresso drinks like cappuccinos or lattes) you’ll likely prefer a coffee from Central or South America, as opposed to one from East Africa. East African coffee like ours from Gedeb Ethiopia, while delightful by itself, tastes floral and fruity and may not be the flavor you’re looking to combine with milk. South and Central American coffees however, tend to offer a rich nutty or chocolatey flavor, perfect for pairing with milk.
Notice the roast date. Depending on how you brew your coffee, you’ll want to know how recently it was roasted. This is because of an effect called “degassing” wherein carbon dioxide introduced in the roasting process slowly escapes the bean. If you use a pressure-based brew method like an espresso machine, it’s best to let the coffee settle for a while. Waiting at least a week after roasting will make for the best-timed espresso. On the other hand, if you brew with a percolating or immersion method, like pour-over or French press, just a couple days is best.
Be careful with assumptions about roast profile. It’s often believed that darker roast equals stronger flavor, or that lighter roasts have more caffeine, but neither is true. The difference really comes down to taste. With lighter roasts, the natural flavor of the coffee’s origin shines through. Light roasts are brighter, often more acidic, and always more unique. The darker you roast, the more you cook off that distinct flavor. Instead you end up tasting the roast itself. Dark roasted coffee can be less acidic, but also more bitter and more homogenous, hiding any traces of geographic charm. Don’t get us wrong, it has its place for sure, but if you’re hoping to experience the best that specialty coffee has to offer you’re not going to find it in a dark roast.
Coffee isn’t that acidic. Yes, a lighter roasted coffee will tend to have a more acidic flavor, but it’s still one of the least acidic things in your kitchen. Almost any fruit in your pantry, and even many vegetables, will fall further on the acidic end of the charts than your morning cup, and that’s measuring against the most acidic brew methods like espresso. So when considering acidity, think of it as a flavor preference. East African coffees tend to have a bit more acidic taste, while South and Central American coffees tend to have a mellow sweetness and be lower in acidity.
Of course, the best guide is your tongue! Drink lots of coffees of varying origins and roasts and find what hits the spot for you. There’s a never-ending list of coffee topics we can nerd out about, so stay tuned!