Looking for the factors that decides the flavor of your coffee cup?
You’ve come to the right place.
Coffee – A liquid hard to say no to.
Be it morning or night, a cup of coffee has always been part of a perfect imagination.
Winters are just around the corner, and it’s going to be cold. But a cup of coffee is always there to keep your hands and heart warm.
Finding the right coffee bean flavor for your taste buds can be a hard nut to crack. But take a chill pill! Today I’m here to educate you on all the factors that affect coffee bean flavor.
Plus, I’ll also throw in a comparison chart – so you will have a clearer picture of the type that works perfect for you.
Enough with the teasing!
Let’s dive in!
What factors affect coffee bean’s flavour?
How many coffee bean flavors have you tried?
Apparently, the list is never-ending.
But have you ever wondered what factors make this variety of flavors possible?
Allow me to spill the (coffee) beans.
There are many different elements that affect the perfect cup of coffee and can be impacted by:
- Where the coffee beans came from (different countries of origin)
- The different variety of the beans (arabica, robust, blends)
- Light, medium, or dark roasts
- Brew time
We all have learned in school how environmental factors like soil, temperature, rainfall, altitude and wind affects the growth of plants and trees.
Coffee beans are no different.
Depending on where you get your beans, the environment they grow in can drastically change their flavor.
Coffee beans are grown and cultivated across the globe in over 75 different countries. Your morning cup of coffee can vary greatly from Costa Rica to Vietnam.
Coffee beans grow best in low temperature and grow best in a wet climate so that the moist soils help the roots grow deep.
Across the world, each coffee plant can grow beans that change in texture, acidity, caffeine content, and flavor.
Starting from Sudan and Ethiopia, your dearest drink has taken off in all directions to be cultivated in over 75 countries currently. To your surprise, they all have a unique taste in some way or other.
The same reason why coffee from Brazil tastes notably different from coffee from Vietnam.
For instance, coffee beans develop bit by bit in low temperatures. They take their time to grow forming a dense-textured beans. Likewise, coffee beans cultivated at high altitudes has lesser caffeine to offer.
To make it simple for you, I have selected 3 major growers of coffee beans and compared them side by side.
|Coffee Bean’s characteristics||Vietnam||Brazil||Ethiopia|
The Type of Beans
A perfect cup of coffee must begin with the beans. There are a variety of different types of roasts, which can completely change the quality and taste of your cup.
It can be fun to experiment with different roasts, different beans, and different tools for making your morning cup of coffee.
There are over 100 types of coffee beans, but the two varieties that produce the most coffee served around the world are Arabica and Robusta beans.
Let’s discuss the several differences that define these types of coffee.
Arabica is one of the most commonly marketed coffee beans in North America because it has a softer, sweeter, and less acidic flavor. Arabica beans are farmed in different elevations in moist environments. Of all the countries, Brazil is the last exporter of Arabica coffee beans.
Robusta beans are in second place for the most popular type of coffee bean.
These beans are most popular in Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Africa.
Robusta beans are often reputable for their strong, harsher taste and high caffeine content.
The Robusta beans are more resilient because of the high caffeine content so they are often much easier to grow than Arabica beans.
Just like how various types of cocoa beans decide the flavor of your chocolate, different types of coffee beans do the same for your favorite beverage.
There are over 100 types of coffee beans in the world, but have you ever heard of anyone except Robusta and Arabica? I’d be surprised if you have.
The reason behind saying that is the fact that these two varieties cater to more than 95% of the total production of coffee. It won’t be wrong to call them the king and queen of the coffee kingdom.
Let’s get back to the point. These varieties of coffee beans substantially affect the flavor of coffee in terms of both taste and aroma.
On one hand, when Arabica offers a sweet and soft taste to your buds, Robusta is strong and harsh as the name itself.
The Processing Methods
Coffee beans undergo processing by means of three mainstream methods.
This is not far from drying clothes in the sun.
Coffee beans are scattered in an open space to dry in the sun for around 8-9 days. This organic method preserves the natural essence of coffee beans word for word. Not to mention the cost it saves for small business owners.
As far as flavor is concerned, it develops a sweet and fruity flavor with low acidity.
This method is over and above for regions with an abundance of water.
Here beans are soaked in water to soften the outer layer of covering which is then removed manually or by using a machine.
You get washed beans with brighter acidity and a lighter texture.
This method was invented to bear the fruits of the first two methods.
What I mean is that the honey-processed coffee beans are first washed with water to partially remove the covering. Then the beans are left to dry with leftover fruit pulp on the layer.
As a result of it, the resulting coffee beans have dampened acidity and superior shape.
The Type of Roast
Roasting is not just about colors.
It is like a key to the treasure box.
The right amount of roasting under optimum temperature, ventilation and time will bring out the best of the coffee beans. Increasing the roasting period will unleash the hidden flavors and scent of the beans.
Most companies compromises on this step as it is costly. But bear in mind, this is the game-changer!
The one tip that can make or break the morning cup, is the freshness of the roast.
Fresh-roasted coffee has a higher quality of flavor, so it is better to buy coffee soon after it has been roasted.
The 3 main types of roasts are:
- Light roast: These beans are slightly roasted and have an acidic flavor, usually lighter brown in color..
- Medium roast: (or regular roast) These beans are roasted right before they crack twice. Medium roasts have a lower caffeine content but higher than a dark roast.
- Dark roast: Dark roasts usually shine from the oil used and are dark brown in color. They have the lowest caffeine content and have a smokier taste.
The Brewing Methods
It all comes down to this.
A common notion is that a single brewing method can work every time for all types of coffee beans.
This is an erroneous assumption.
A common rule of thumb is to experiment varying some common variables like temperature, extraction time and water proportion to find out the best combo for yourself.
Don’t forget to take in account the brewing apparatus you are using. It is important to adjust the parameters of an espresso so that it works best for the current temperature and humidity.
However, in manual brewing method, grind size is the tipping point. Grind size will determine if your cup will taste too strong or too weak depending on the equipment you are using.
The factor of extraction time is all about finding the right balance between flavor and caffeine content. In simpler words, in case of an early extraction, your cup will lack flavor but will be rich in caffeine and vice versa.
I have a method to this madness. Ideally, you will find your perfect balance between 4-5 minutes of brewing.
The amount of time the water is in contact with the grounds plays a big part in the flavor.
If you are using a drip coffee system, the water contact with the beans should be about 5 minutes.
With a French press, the contact time varies between 2-4 minutes.
Espresso is usually in contact for a much shorter time-between 20-30 seconds.
And then the longest brew time is for cold-brew, which typically brews over 12 hours.
“Sometimes simple things are the most difficult things to achieve.”
This can turn into reality if you mess up with the coffee-water ratio.
The equipment you use can drastically change the outcome of your coffee.
If you are using whole beans, it is important to grind your coffee as close to the brew time as possible.
If you live in a small house and have an early wake-up time, this may not be possible for you. You may need to grind your beans the night before in order to not wake up your sleeping roommates.
I recently learned why grinding your coffee matters. According to Perfect Daily Grind, the purpose of grinding your coffee is to increase the area of the beans that mix with water
I know in the United States, when you are buying whole bean coffee, you often have the option of grinding your coffee in-store.
Most of these machines are burr grinders, which are effective for getting an even-grind.
Most home appliance grinders are blade grinders which may result in some beans being more finely ground than others.
Regardless of how you grind your coffee, or when you grind your coffee before the roast, the coarseness of your grind can determine the taste of your coffee.
If you grind your beans pretty coarsely, you allow for more water to get through, and could result in a sour-tasting cup of coffee. If you make your grind quite fine, the result might be an overly-bitter cup.
I hope that by now, you have found what you came here looking for. We looked into each factor and learned ways in which they will affect the flavor of your coffee.
With that being said, the ball is now in your court.
Step up your coffee game!
Use these factors in your own benefit to discover the finest cup of coffee for yourself.
Go make your cup of coffee
Coffee is an ever-changing cup of joy each morning, depending on how you make it.
If you have recently found that you don’t like the flavor of your coffee, you may try to experiment with different beans, coarseness, or brew times.
You may not be brewing your coffee long-enough and not extracting all the flavor of the beans. On the other hand you may be over-extracting the coffee grounds by brewing your coffee too long.
Overall, enjoy your cup of coffee. Try to remember the small details that go into making the perfect cup. Take in the aroma, enjoy the flavor, and sip on the perfect brew to begin your day.
Most days I start with a cup of coffee- as most people do. However, each individual person makes their own cup in a variety of ways.
Some people wake up each day and turn on the tea kettle to make a cup of pour-over coffee, others will fill their carafe of french press.
Others invest into fancy espresso machines with milk frothers. Some use an individual drip-cup machine.
Beyond just the equipment people use, there is also an unlimited style of how you take your coffee.
With sugar or without, cream, half and half, oat milk, whole milk, almond milk, frothed or unfrothed, iced or hot, the list goes on.
How you make and take your coffee can say a lot about you.
For busy morning people, it may not be worth the extra step to grind up your beans. For others, this is a crucial step to fill the cup.
There are many elements that go into the perfect cup.
With each gadget, and each cup, how do you truly know if you’re making your coffee great?
This article should help you better understand the different elements that come into play for that perfect cup of coffee.