How to Pick the Right Coffee for You?
If you are beginning to develop the coffee habit you might be wondering about the different strengths and flavors of coffee. Almost every coffee supplier provides a guide to the strengths of coffee they supply and this can be a good starting point when you’re deciding which coffee is right for you. The only trouble is coffee suppliers use a number of different schemes where the grading starts at one and can go as high as five or 10.
Gauging Coffee Strength
A weak coffee will usually have a strength grade of one while your regular cup of coffee might be two or three. From there it gets more complicated with subsequent strength grades ranging from coffee that will give you a boost when you wake in the morning to coffee that will keep you awake all night. Another way of gauging strength is by how the coffee has been roasted. Your coffee may be available in light to medium roast (a coffee rating of one); medium roast (two); medium to dark roast (three); dark roast (four); or very dark roast (five). The flavor is correspondingly stronger for the higher ratings.
Of note, the strength of a coffee basically refers to the concentration of dissolved coffee solids in a given volume of liquid. As an example, your typical double espresso will have 5 g of coffee solids per 60 ml or roughly 5% strength which is 4x stronger than a regular brewed coffee. However, if you add water to your espresso to turn it into a cafe Americano, the coffee solids will be diluted and the strength of the coffee will be correspondingly weaker.
Myth - Dark Roast Coffee Has More Caffeine?
Most people assume that dark roast coffee has a higher caffeine content than lighter roast coffee when in point of fact, the converse is actually true. Dark roast coffee actually has slightly less caffeine because the roasting process lowers the coffee’s caffeine content.
When you look at the coffee packages, writers wax lyrical about the different coffee flavors. You might be forgiven for thinking that they’re talking about wine. Like wine, coffee can be dry, smooth, full-bodied, fruity, nutty, crisp, rich or mellow — or any combination of those. And depending on the process used for roasting, grinding and brewing, that will also change the taste.
Choosing and Tasting Coffee
So what’s a poor coffee lover to do in order to choose the right blend? The answer is to hold a coffee tasting. Coffee tasters, like wine tasters, don’t exhibit the best table behavior. They tend to slurp, swirl and spit. Luckily for you, you don’t need to behave this way in public. Instead you can hold your coffee tasting at home.
[box type="note"]Get a number of different coffees of different strengths from a supplier and brew them. Check out the aroma and see which one appeals to you, then have a small taste and see how the coffee feels in your mouth at the start and the end of the tasting process. If you are tasting multiple coffee varieties you will have to spit them out so you can get a clear comparison of the different blends on trial. Once you’ve completed your test you should know which blend of coffee most appeals and that’s the one you can stick with.[/box]
Sharon Hurley Hall writes for Eden Springs, the UK’s No.1 water cooler supplier, who now offer coffee machine rental contracts (edensprings.co.uk).