Beans start out as seeds inside the cherries of the coffee plant. These seeds are the green coffee beans which are processed by workers before finding their way to a coffee roaster. Coffee beans can be broken up into two main groups; Robusta and Arabica. Arabica beans have around 50% more oils than Robutsa which contributes to differences in flavour and aroma. Arabica beans have a higher sugar content while Robusta are likely to have more caffeine. Coffee beans from different regions have distinct flavour profiles and come in different shapes and sizes. Central American varieties such as those from Costa Rica often have notes of chocolate and stone fruit and be mildly acidic. From Africa, Ethiopian coffee beans can sport flavours such as tea, citrus and jasmine. Although there are ongoing debates regarding origin and quality, the best coffee beans can hail from any part of the world.
There are over 1,000 aroma and chemical compounds in a typical cup of coffee, all contributing to variations in taste, colour and texture. The coffee roaster is a scientist of sorts!
Some of these compounds include;
Caffeine: There is little doubt that caffeine is one of the most popular stimulants worldwide. In terms of its short term effects, many of us have experienced the extent to which caffeine enhances perception and reduces fatigue. Research also reveals that caffeine aids in trying to achieve a faster metabolism. Furthermore, studies suggest a link to long-term memory benefits and dieticians suggest that up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day can be part of a healthy diet. Don’t feel guilty about that 3rd espresso!
Trigonelline: A bitter alkaloid with therapeutic potential, Trigonelline aids in counteracting diabetes and Central nervous system disease.
Dimethyl Disulphides: This compound contains oils inside the coffee bean that are essential to taste and smell. The best roasts will heat oils to the perfect temperature in order to reveal their unique characteristics.
Heat applied to coffee beans cause chemical reactions that surface their individual flavour profiles. This includes the caramelisation of sugars and the process of exposing the flavors of acids and other elements present. From light to dark roasts, beans are generally roasted between 180 and 250 degrees Celsius from 2 to 25 minutes. The bests roasts have been fine-tuned with temperature and time changing for different beans. When purchasing coffee beans online, freshness is paramount. It is recommended to buy beans with a roast date of within five days of their roast date for optimal results. After this, even beans from the best coffee roaster will lose their freshness and flavour.
The grind particle size as well as amount affects characteristics such as the strength, caffeine content and flavour of coffee. The general consensus is that a finer grind with smaller particles will extract more flavour while larger particles will produce a higher caffeine content with less flavour. Although it is convenient to buy coffee beans pre ground, most coffee roasters will tell you that pre ground beans are inferior as they have lost the gasses that hold much of their flavour and smell.
There is some debate across coffee lovers regarding the water used for brewing coffee. Some advise that like tea, water for coffee brewing is best when filtered and pure. Others claim that ions such as calcium and magnesium help capture the unique flavour compounds in coffee. These are some of the ions are found in tap water. There are various brewing methods for coffee which achieve different end products. Espresso coffee is a popular method which involves pressing ground beans before forcing pressurised, near-boiling water through a filter and into the cup. Espresso generally has a heavy body, rich texture, and a bittersweet taste.
When buying beans, keep in mind the various components that have culminated in their journey from harvester to coffee roaster. Whether its a creamy expresso or a fruity, acidic cold brew, we hope this article aids you in buying the best coffee beans!
If you are game to try something new and different you should definitely try the KaapiKaapi RIO or the 100% Arabica. If you are into single origin the KaapiKaapi Costa Rican will surely delight.
Blog by Urban Roaster, www.KaapiKaapi.com.au
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