What is the best coffee?
Most coffee drinkers like to drink coffee non-stop. It’s the caffeine that gets us all going in the morning and helps us stay up when we need a little extra time to do work, hang out with friends, that long drive and so on.
When it comes to coffee a lot of us just grab whatever is on sale at the grocery store. Fair enough… but if you are on a coffee website reading a blog about coffee you probably know there’s a lot more to it than just Folgers or Maxwell House.
Starting out, I quickly discovered coffee roasting is somewhat of an art form. I learned that everything can effect what a cup of coffee tastes like. For example, origins of the coffee bean, the year it was harvested, what temperature the beans are roasted at, what type of beans are best mixed together, even the water used to make the coffee. Sometimes it feels like I’m in a laboratory when I’m roasting and coming up with new flavors and blends!
I’ve always had a knack for distinguishing flavors “you’ve gotta good taster” as my southern mother put it. This has served me well especially now after roasting for a couple years it has helped me fine-tune what my roast and custom blends taste like. I roast batches with all different coffee drinkers in mind. Just tell me a little about what you drink and I can point you to a roast you will really enjoy.
Now let’s get into the different roast.
Let’s start with a light roast coffee.
Through my journey of becoming a roaster one of the things I’ve learned, and was surprised about, is the “stronger“ the coffee taste the less caffeine there is actually in it. Referring back to all that sciencey stuff I talked about earlier, it’s basic chemistry. The flavor comes from the moisture content in the coffee bean so does the caffeine. The longer it is cooked the more moisture leaves the bean equaling less caffeine and less flavor. If you really want a cup of coffee that will wake you up then go for the lightest roast you can get.
Typically a “breakfast blend” is a light roast because it has the most caffeine hints the name, “breakfast” implying the first meal of the day to get you started. Our breakfast blend, “Up Before The Sun” is just what you need to get moving to start the day.
Moving on to medium roast.
This type of roast seems the most common. I personally feel medium roast highlights the flavor profile of the majority of beans and you can really taste the difference between the bean types when you drink a medium roast. And it still offers enough get-up-and-go to start your morning off right.
All of my flavored coffee I mix with a medium roast to make sure the flavor I am adding is pronounced and not overwhelmed like it would be with a dark roast. “No Place Like Home” is our signature house blend that we roast as a medium roast.
Now let’s talk about dark roast.
As I said, a lot of people want “strong“ coffee, conflating the strong, bitter taste of dark roast with a high caffeine content. Some of the most popular coffee places tend to caramelize or over cook their beans. It does give it a distinct flavor but not one I particularly care for. You can tell if coffee beans are “well done“ when they have an oily surface. Don’t get me wrong, I do like a good dark roast every now and then but not burnt. Some beans work well with a dark roast, Sumatra for example naturally has a heavier body which means the flavor will still retain after cooking it at a high temperature. “Midnight Noir” is our darkest roast that we have.
What about decaf?
Don’t worry, I haven’t forgot about all of my decaf drinkers. I know there are people who still appreciate a good cup of coffee but not for the high octane boost that most of us go for.
Occasionally I am asked “how do you make decaf”? Well, short answer is… I don’t. I’m not quite that good yet. I actually source beans that have specifically been decaffeinated.
There are a few processes for removing caffeine from the coffee bean. The most common one is a chemical process where the beans are soaked in water then the water is chemically treated to neutralize the caffeine and the beans are soaked again to absorb the non-caffeinated moisture. I know that’s an oversimplified explanation but that is basically how it works.
This process does not remove 100% of the caffeine however so even if you drink decaf it’s still has a little caffeine in it. Think of it as the near-beer of the coffee world. “Jitter Free” will give you the wonderful coffee taste with the lower caffeine content.
So what coffee should I choose?
Well that ultimately is up to you. Whether you are going for flavor or just drinking for effect, hopefully I’ve given you some things to consider the next time you are picking out coffee.