What’s the Difference Between Coffee Blends?

If you’ve ever walked by the coffee aisle or visited a coffee shop, you’ll see a huge variety of coffee and different blends and flavors. It can easily be overwhelming but there’s no need to settle for whatever coffee you see first. To truly know what coffee you’ll enjoy and like the best, it’s helpful to know the difference between coffee blends.

The blend of the coffee is in simple terms how long it’s been roasted. Green or unroasted coffee beans are placed in heat and roasted until the bean cracks, releasing its flavors and aroma. The longer a coffee bean is roasted determines how dark the bean becomes, losing its green color and turning brown, and how strong the coffee will be.

Breakfast Blends are “light” roasted coffee beans that don’t have a particular overwhelming coffee flavor. Although they don’t necessarily taste like strong coffee, that doesn’t mean breakfast blends don’t pack a punch. These lightly roasted breakfast blends are generally full of caffeine, making them a perfect start to your day.

Dark Blends are coffee beans have been roasted for a long period of time. Although this makes the coffee flavor more powerful, the actual caffeine content is lower because of the high levels of heat it’s been exposed to.   

House Blends are unique depending on the coffee shop and/or brand but generally fall somewhere in between light and dark roasted coffee. They’re specially made and there are no real criteria as to what makes a “house blend”.

So how do you know which one you’ll enjoy?

Having an idea if you prefer strong, bold flavors or mild, even-toned flavors can certainly help. Be aware that how you prepare your coffee can have an effect on the taste as well.

If you prefer creamer and sweetener, note that those will affect how the coffee taste. A splash of cream will make a breakfast blend taste different from a dark roast. There will also be a difference between coffee prepared with a Keurig will also taste different from coffee prepared using a french press.

However you decide to prepare it however, it’s important to make sure you purchase high-quality coffee which can make all the difference in the flavor of your coffee.

And by far, the best way to find out what you prefer is to try different coffee!

 

 

Factors That Influence Coffee Quality And Flavor

As coffee lovers, we know that there is a really broad range of characteristics that you can find in coffee. From earthy tones to sweet fruit flavours, to floral and tea-like aromatics, but what determines which of these characteristics will be found in your cup?Today we shall highlight ten important factors that determine what you’ll taste in your carefully brewed cup of coffee.

  1. VARIETY

For the best tasting coffee, always buy 100% arabica beans. Arabica beans are usually flavor rich, while robusta beans have more caffeine and less flavor and are cheaper to produce. The exception to this rule is that some very good espresso coffees will have small amounts of the highest quality robusta beans on the market.

  1. CLIMATE

Coffee demands the perfect balance of sunlight, rain and temperature to produce the highest-quality beans. The climate of a region controls the length of the growing season and whether cherries ripen at optimal times. Even small variations in temperature and rainfall can make a big difference in the quality of the harvest. Soil provides many of the minerals and nutrients that the coffee plant absorbs, and these in turn affect flavor, body and acidity. Cooler temperatures allow cherries to ripen more slowly, developing fuller flavor.

  1. TERROIR

Terroir is the influence of where the coffee is grown. We all know that coffees from Kenya generally taste pretty different to coffees from Brazil. We also know that coffees from nearby areas can have similarities. These are the results of the influences of terroir. Of course the specific elements of a terroir that are responsible for the impact on coffee flavour are numerous and complex, but altitude, climate, soil type, soil micro-biome and topography are some of the important factors. Paying attention to where your coffee comes from, and what some of the defining characteristics of that terroir are is helpful if you want to understand your coffee better.

  1. FARMING PRACTICES

The best coffees come from regions where farmers have implemented farming practices and techniques that coax the best flavors from the bean. Proper fertilization, irrigation, pruning and care encourage the development of high-quality coffee. These practices have a huge impact on the taste of the coffee you drink. Everything from the use of chemicals to planting patterns ultimately affect the nature of the crop. One particularly important practice is picking. Coffee is best when it is picked at optimal ripeness, but since coffee cherries don’t ripen at a uniform rate, for the best results, cherries must be picked by hand, by labourers who are trained to pay attention to the ripeness of the fruit they are harvesting. Once coffee cherries are harvested, they must be processed immediately to avoid mold or rotting.

  1. PROCESSING

There are three main ways of processing coffee cherries, and each contributes very different qualities to the finished coffee.

Dry or natural processing: The coffee cherries are spread out to dry on rooftops or platforms in the sun for seven to ten days. During the drying phase, the cherries must be raked and turned regularly to prevent the development of mould, which would contribute “off” flavors. Once the skin and fruit have become brittle, they are removed from the bean, usually by hand. These coffees tend to have fuller body, thicker viscosity and more restrained acidity with an earthy taste. They also exhibit wild, rich fruit flavors that are seldom found in washed coffees.

Washed or wet-processed coffees: This more modern style of processing involves briefly fermenting the coffee cherries and then removing the seeds from the fruit or pulp. This method has an advantage in that with the outer, fruity layer, some of the risk of spoilage is removed. Wet-processed coffees generally have a cleaner profile with brighter acidity and light to medium body.

Pulp natural or semi-washed/honey-prep processingis a hybrid method where the coffee cherries go through the first step of the washing process to remove the outer skin, but are allowed to dry with the fruit pulp clinging to the parchment layer covering the bean instead of immediately undergoing fermentation and washing . Pulp natural coffees tend to taste cleaner than dry-processed coffees but are perceived to have more body and muted acidity than fully washed coffees. They frequently exhibit sweetness, especially honey, brown sugar and caramel flavors, and a level of fruitiness that falls between that of wet- and dry-processed coffees.

  1. SORTING

Coffee cherries are sorted immediately after harvest to remove unripe and substandard berries. During wet processing, beans that float are removed and discarded, adding a second layer of sorting. Regardless of the processing method used, beans may be sorted again for size, shape and color before milling and packaging. Each sort removes coffee beans that don’t meet particular standards, leaving only the highest-quality beans to make it into your cup.

  1. STORAGE

While green coffee beans don’t stale as quickly as roasted coffee beans, they will lose flavor over time. The way they are stored before, during and after shipping can significantly affect cup quality many importers prefer coffee shipped in alternative containers which protect the beans from moisture, odors and other outside factors that can affect the flavor. Coffee stored in a warehouse for months or, in some cases, a year or more, will not be as flavorful as coffee that is fresh from harvest. With proper packaging, whole bean coffee can be stored up to 4 weeks in valve-seal bags and still be full flavored, though aiming for drinking within 2 weeks is ideal. For freshness it is better to buy vacuum packaged containers with expiration date and valves that allow CO2 to escape while keeping oxygen out of the bag to ensure freshness.

  1. ROASTING

Roasting affects coffee flavor profoundly. Heat causes chemical changes within the coffee bean, caramelizing the sugars and bringing out the flavors of the acids and other elements present. The same coffee will taste completely different at a light roast level than it does at a medium or dark roast level.  After sourcing and selection, the roaster helps to realise the full potential of the coffee by carefully crafting a roast profile that will suit that set of beans. The roaster has to fine tune variables like roast time, charge temperature, rate of rise, drum speed, air flow & cooling speed, while responding to data like temperature logs, first and second crack timing, and most importantly sensory experience.

  1. BLENDING

Single origins are becoming increasingly popular, probably because they allow the drinker to experience the fruits of the coffee farmer’s labour quite literally. Even so blending can be a masterful craft in its own right. In its basic forms, it can ensure a more consistent flavour experience throughout the year as the inputs to that blend change with the season. At its best, a blend can be a unique taste experience, whose flavour is more than just a sum of those of its component parts.

  1. BREWING

One mistake that new coffee lovers make is assuming that the exact same brewing parameters will bring out the best in every coffee. Your brewing variables need to match the coffee your brewing as well as the brew method. The method may even need to be tweaked to respond to ambient conditions like heat, humidity and altitude. Even in a simple manual brew method, changes in brewing variables can be the difference between a decent and a delicious cup. Some important variables are:

Grind size and uniformity

The finer a coffee is ground, the more surface area there is and the larger the grind, the smaller the surface area.  The optimum grind (coarseness) is somewhere between the two extremes. If you get a cup of coffee produced from a quality bean but it is too weak and insipid, the coffee may have been ground too coarsely. If the coffee is unacceptably bitter, perhaps the grind is too fine, with too-high levels of organic acids being extracted.

Water Temperature

Temperature strongly influences solubility and rates of extraction. The solubility of caffeine is moderately affected by temperature and the solubility of the organic acids is strongly affected by temperature.

Extraction Time

The ideal cup of coffee is one that has maximum caffeine and maximum volatile oils while limiting the bitter organic acids, 4 minutes should be just about perfect for the perfect brew. If extraction takes only two minutes you will have a coffee high in caffeine but weak in flavour, aroma and bitterness. If extracted for too long, say to 8 minutes, the coffee will contain high amounts of organic acids, which can make it unacceptably bitter.

Coffee-to-water ratio

This is perhaps the most subjective of all tests. Too little coffee even with all variables optimised the coffee will taste weak. Too much coffee and the resulting brew will be too strong and overpowering. The generally accepted rule of thumb is approximately 10g of coffee to 200ml of hot water. Be sure to use clean, fresh water and equipment free of oil residues from the last brew.

How to Use a French Press

The French Press coffee maker can seem a bit intimidating at first glance, but this method of making coffee has been around long before the Keurig and isn’t nearly as complicated as it might look.

The French Press, also known as a coffee press, has been claimed to be invented by both the French and Italian sometime in the 1800’s, but where ever it was made, it’s popularity has spread through the world and coffee addicts everywhere often tell you, if you want a good cup of coffee, use a French Press.

The French Press can come in different varieties, looking more like a decor item than a coffee maker, or can be simple and unassuming, but generally they all come with the same pieces.

 

  1. The beaker (glass, plastic or sometimes metal)
  2. The Lid
  3. The Plunger
  4. The Filter
  5. And some with come with a stirring spoon

Thankfully, using a French Press is pretty simple. Here are the steps to follow for brewing coffee using a French Press.

  1. Grind your coffee beans of choice until they’re the texture of sea salt. You can make the grinds coarser, but the finer your grounds are, the more likely they’ll pass through the filter and into your coffee. If you prefer you can buy coffee that’s already been grinded as well.
  2. Place the ground coffee into the beaker, typically 2 tps per 8 az of water.
  3. Very slowly pour your hot water over the coffee. Note: you want the water hot but not boiling so you don’t scald the coffee. You can also stir the grounds and water to make sure everything is mixed and help bring out the full flavor.
  4. Let the coffee and water sit for a few seconds and then place the lid back onto your coffee press.
  5. Press the plunger down slowly.
  6. The pour and enjoy your coffee!

It’s important to note that the coffee made in a French Press is best to drink right away, and typically doesn’t taste very good reheated.

Benefits Of Drinking Coffee

With over 400 billion cups of coffee thought to be consumed every year, coffee is one of the world’s most popular drinks. But is it really beneficial? Coffee is increasingly earning scientists’ approval. Studies continue to suggest that the beverage may have some beneficial effects on health.A cup of coffee in the morning may provide more than just an energy boost.Coffee can be pretty amazing for your brain, your skin and your body. Read on to discover why you should wake up and smell the coffee!

  1. Coffee boosts your physical performance. 

Physical performance and endurance is one of the benefits of drinking coffee. A 2009 study published in Sports Medicine shows that coffee increases alertness, improves mental and physical performance in the short run. Coffee allows one to train at a greater speed, power output and train longer. Having a cup of black coffee about an hour before workout will improve your performance by more than 10%. Caffeine increasesadrenaline levels in your blood, which helps your body to prepare for physical exertion.

Caffeine can give a nice boost to endurance and athletic ability. Anyone who works out strenuously is familiar with the aches and pain associated with sore muscles. The Journal of Applied Physiology concluded that trainers that consumed caffeine had a whopping 65% more glycogen which is essential for proper muscle functionality so increasing these levels will help muscles work better and recover much faster. Caffeine is ideal for athletes that work out often and need aide in reducing fatigue and inflammation.

Another study found that ingestion of a moderately high caffeine dose before exercise increases post-exercise energy expenditure or the so-called “afterburn effect.” Two cups of coffee can cut post-workout muscle pain by up to 48%.

  1. Coffee protects your body because of a high presence of Antioxidants

One of the biggest benefits of drinking coffee is it contains massive amounts of antioxidants. Today, we’re exposed to large levels of toxicity, from tap water toxicitytoair pollutionand so many more. Antioxidants fight this toxicity and can really help to slow the aging process. They can also help protect yourself against free radical damage. Coffee is one of the five highest foods in antioxidantsin the world today. Research shows coffee might even contain more polyphenol antioxidantsthan cocoa, green tea, black tea and herbal tea. Coffee supplies as much as 70% of the total amount of important antioxidants in many people’s diets. According to a study, nothing else comes close to providing as many antioxidants as coffee. While fruits and vegetables also have tons of antioxidants, the human body seems to absorb the most from coffee.

Antioxidants play a major role in keeping us healthy and protects our cells from damage. It is also essential in curbing inflammation within the body, which eases the symptoms of many chronic conditions, such as joint pain and arthritis.

  1. Coffee may lower risk of Type II diabetes.

Caffeine decreases insulin sensitivity and impairs glucose tolerance, therefore reducesone’s risk of type II diabetes. A study from The American Chemical Society found thatpeople who drink four or more cups of coffee a day reduce their chances of developing Type II diabetes by 50%.Subsequently, with every additional cup, the risk gets lowered by 7%.

  1. Coffee protects your brainandsupports Cognitive Function

Coffee has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain, which supports cognitive function. In addition, coffee and caffeine consumption works as an Alzheimer’s natural treatmentsince high caffeine levels in the blood reduce the risk of the disease. Moderate coffee consumption doesn’t completely protect people from Alzheimer’s disease, but it can appreciably reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s or delay its onset. Coffee also lowers risk of dementia.

  1. Coffee brightens your mood, helps fight depression and makes you happier.

Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and boosts production of neurotransmitterslike serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline, which elevate your mood. Just smelling coffee could make you less stressed! A study done by the National Institute of Healthfound that those who drink four or more cups of coffee were about 10% less likely to be depressed, not because of caffeine but because of those trusty antioxidants.

  1. Coffee improves Liver Health

Not only does consuming coffee every day reduce cancer in the liver, it also protects it from many forms of damage. Most notably cirrhosis due to over consumption of alcohol. Researchers found an inverse link between those who drank coffee daily and lower levels of harmful enzymes in the liver. But coffee is not a viable solution to alcoholism, nor should it be used to as some sort of crutch to support that habit.

Research published in the journal Hepatologyin April 2014, suggested that drinking coffee is linked to a decreased liver cirrhosis death risk. The researchers suggested that drinking two or more cups of coffee every day can reduce the risk of death from liver cirrhosis by 66%.

  1. Coffee reduces risk of cancer.

One study has shown that coffee may decrease the risk of developing prostate cancer in men by 20 %, and endometrial cancer in women by 25 %. People in the test group drank four cups of coffee a day. Caffeine may also prevent developing of basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer.Another study showed that women who drank a minimum of three cups of coffee a day reduced their risk of endometrial cancer by up to 25% while male coffee lovers lowered their risk for prostate cancer. Additionally, scientists have discovered coffee drinkers had a lower rate of developing rectal, breast, liver, and colon cancer, as well.

 

  1. Coffee Drinkers Have Lower Risk for Heart Disease

Coffee is loaded with many beneficial antioxidants that battles inflammation, the very same that can cause arterial damage. A research conducted in the discovered that drinking a safe, moderate amount of coffee routinely, had up to 25% less risk for heart disease compared to non-coffee drinkers. Also, routine coffee lovers were 20% less likely to have abnormal heart palpitations. Another study conducted in Brazil found that those that consume at least three cups of coffee a day tend to develop less calcification in their coronary arteries.

  1. Coffee reduces risk of Parkinson’s disease.

Studieshave shown that regular coffee drinking decreases risk of Parkinson’s disease by 25 %. There’s evidence that coffee causes activity in the part of the brain affected by Parkinson’s. ScienceDaily reported that drinking coffee may help people with Parkinson’s disease control their movement. The study author, Ronald Postuma, MD, said, “People who use caffeine are less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease, but this is one of the first studies in humans to show that caffeine can help with movement symptoms for people who already have the disease.”

  1. Coffee helps you focus and stay alert. 

Moderate caffeine intake helpsyou focus and improves your mental alertness. It is reported that coffee allows your brain to work in a much more efficient and smarter way. TIME reporter Michael Lemonick said, “When you take caffeine, pretty much anything you measure will improve: reaction time, vigilance, attention, logical reasoning: most of the complex functions associated with intelligence.”

Caffeine has been confirmed to boost short-term memory. Researchers measured brain activity with the aid of MRI, which would show an increase in reaction time and heightened sense of cognition. Test subjects clearly showed improvement in certain areas of the brain in charge of concentration and information retention.

  1. Coffee lowers risk of death.

Studieshave shown that coffee drinker’s overall risk of premature death is 25% lower than of those who don’t drink coffee. Coffee consumption has been linked to lower levels of suicide.A study done by the Harvard School of Public Healthdetermined that drinking between two and four cups of coffee can reduce the risk of suicide in men and women by about 50 percent. The proposed reason is because coffee acts as a mild antidepressant by aiding in the production of neurotransmitterslike serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline Reasonable consumption of coffee is also associatedwith lower risk of stroke.

  1. Coffee may help you lose weight.

Coffee containsmagnesium and potassium, which helps the human body use insulin, regulating blood sugar levels and reducing your craving for sugary treats and snacks.Regular black coffee without milk or cream has a very low-calorie count. A typical cup of black coffee only contains around 2 calories.Caffeine also helpsfat cells break down body fat and use it as fuel for physical activity.

  1. Male Coffee Drinkers More Fertile and Virile

It’s true, men that ingested at least 250mg of caffeine per day had much higher volume of semen, compared to men who abstained from caffeine. They also experienced less cellular damage to DNA within sperm. Another awesome benefit for male coffee addicts is a much lower risk of having or developing erectile dysfunction. Even in-taking a paltry 90 mg of caffeine a day showed reduction in risk, so drink up for your sex life!

  1. Coffee drinkers have stronger DNA.

A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition showed that coffee drinkers have DNA with stronger integrity since the white blood cells of coffee drinkers had far less instance of spontaneous DNA strand breakage.

In conclusion…

The importance of caffeine consumption in moderation cannot be overstated. We should all keep in mind that caffeine is a drug, as it is a mild stimulant. Although there are proven health benefits associated with drinking coffee, the drawback and risks should not be overlooked. The truly great news is that there’s more reasons to enjoy coffee, rather then abstaining from it. This is a beverage that should be enjoyed in moderation of 2-3 cups a day to gain the most benefits, with less risk in building a dependency on caffeine within it.

So what’s the moral of the story?

WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE!!!

 

 

this space for more….

How to make coffee using a pour over

This is a brew guide with step-by-step instructions on how to make pour over coffee using Kahawa Safi premium coffee. The idea is essentially the same across all pour over coffee makers. The brewer holds the coffee grounds in a cone shape filter, you pour water over the coffee grounds, and the water drips through the coffee into a vessel. The most important things when it comes to making pour over coffee are the equipment, the grind size of the coffee, the temperature of the water, the amount of coffee and the timing.

You will need the following:

  • Kahawa Safi Medium ground coffee
  • Pour over coffee brewer
  • Coffee filter papers
  • Scale
  • Timer
  • Hot water, just below boiling point

To make two cups of coffee, you’ll need 3 tablespoons (about 30 g) of Kahawa Safi medium-ground coffee and 17 ounces (500 ml) of water.

Step 1:

Set up your pour over brewer and get out the coffee. Place the pour over brewer over a vessel. You can use a glass, plastic, or ceramic brewer, although plastic brewers can give a slight taste to the coffee.

Step 2:

Pour at least 500ml of fresh water into a kettle and heat it until it boils vigorously. Remove the kettle from the heat and let the water cool for about 30 seconds before you start the pour over process.

The temperature of the water should be around 205 °F (96 °C). The hotter the water, the higher the potential you will over extract the coffee (bitter coffee), and the cooler the water the higher the potential you may under extract the coffee (sour coffee). If you don’t have a kettle that tells you the exact temperature of the water, you can boil water in a kettle and let it settle for a couple minutes.

To make it easier to pour, consider using a kettle with a long, narrow pouring spout.

Step 3:

Put the filter into the brewer. Use a filter designed for your specific pour over. If you’re using one shaped like a cone, you’ll need to fold the filter along the flat bottom and the edge with the seam. Set the filter into the brewer and place it on your vessel.

Pour enough hot water into the filter to wet it. The entire paper filter should be moist. Rinsing the filter will remove any papery residue so your coffee doesn’t have a woodsy taste.

Discard the rinse water and set the brewer on the vessel. Avoid using the rinse water in the bottom of the vessel. Then set the brewer with the wet filter back on the vessel.

Step 4:

Measure out 30g of coffee grounds into the moistened filter. Shake the brewer a little so the coffee grounds are at an even level. Level grounds will make the coffee extract evenly. Then place the vessel with the brewer on a digital scale and set it to zero.

You’ll need to keep track of how much water you’re pouring over the grounds, so the scale comes in handy.

Step 5:

Start your digital timer so you can keep track of how long to brew the coffee.

Starting in the center of the grounds, pour the water in a steady spiral toward the outer edge and then back toward the center. Be sure to pour all the way out to the edge over the ripples in the filter. This helps to keep grounds from being trapped in there and removed from the rest of the extraction. The goal during this pour is to sink all of the grounds on the surface of the bed. This creates a gentle turbulence that “stirs” the coffee, allowing water to more evenly extract the grounds.When the hot water first mixes with the coffee grounds, the coffee will “bloom” and swell up. Wait for the initial swelling to settle (about 20-30 seconds)

Try to maintain the coffee and water level, so that you are steadily pouring more water into the coffee as water drips down through the filter.

Step 6:

Slowly pour hot water into the center of the grounds and move towards the edges in a spiral motion. Fill the brewer 1/2 to 3/4 full again and then let the coffee brew. After you pour all the water, it should take another 30 to 60 seconds for all the water to run though the filter.

The coffee should steadily drip into the vessel below the brewer.

Your scale should read 500 g once you’ve poured enough water into the brewer.[9]

Once the coffee has finished dripping out of the bottom, lift off the pour over brewer. Carefully pour the hot coffee into 2 cups and serve them immediately.

You can discard or compost your coffee grounds then wash out the pour over brewer.

Important to note:

Aim to have the hot water finish running through the coffee in 3 minutes. You may adjust the exact time depending on the coffee and your taste preference.

If you find that the water is running through the coffee too fast, use a finer grind size next time. If you find the water is running through the coffee too slow, use a coarser grind size next time.

The final cup is reminiscent of one from a drip coffeemaker, but noticeably more delicate and complex. Observe the bloom, experience the first trace of coffee-drunk steam, notice how the spiral of the pour alters the final cup. This simple experience gets you in tune with your coffee.

 

Enjoy your fresh brewed cup of coffee!