With so many different kinds and styles of coffee, it can be very difficult to choose which and what kind of coffee you would like, especially if you’re not a coffee fanatic.
We spoke to the founder of The Barn Owl Coffee shop, Ryan Solomon just to learn a little more about coffee and the different coffee types.
Q: What are the different coffee types and how are they different?
A: The coffee plant is a broad species with many varietals, the two we most see are the Arabica and Robusta, Arabica is the variety found in most good coffee shops, it’s the more complex, fruity, sweet coffee versus Robusta which is the stronger, more bitter bean. There are a whole host of subspecies and varietals within coffee that all influence the taste that ends up in your cup.
Q: What type of coffee is the sweetest?
A: A whole host of factors influence the sweetness in the cup, the species, growing conditions, processing, roasting profiles and brewing methods all influence the end result. Generally when grown at higher altitudes the coffee cherries ripen slowly they can develop more sugars. So you want to try a naturally sweeter coffee? Ask your coffee shop for higher grown, honey processed medium roasted coffee.
Q: How long does fresh coffee last?
A: Coffee goes through complex chemical reactions during and after roasting, as the bean heats up the sugars and amino acids are reduced and this increases the carbon dioxide which eventually get released, a process we call degassing. For a short period of resting the flavours are still developing but once the coffee is rested oxygen becomes the biggest factor influencing shelf life so correct packaging is critical to retaining the quality of your coffee, make sure the bag you buy has a one way valve and that you store it in an airtight container once its opened.
Q: What can one do to taste the true flavours of his or her coffee?
A: Don’t add sugar! Taste it first, try to pick up the flavours of the coffee before you add sugar, it overpowers the natural sweetness of good coffee
Q: What is the best coffee to water ratio?
A: The only way to know which ratio works best with each coffee or brewing method is to taste!
Q: What is the difference between single-origin beans and blends?
A: Single origin generally refers to the region it’s grown, unlike a blend its taste has characteristics of the specific area, whereas blends are from various locations that are combined to produce a desiredflavour.
Q: What is the difference between light roast and dark roast?
A: This refers to the roasting profile; light roasts are brighter, more complex and higher in acidity whereas dark roasts are bolder, bitter, and less flavourful.
Q: What are the latest coffee inspired trends?
A: Coffee has become all about natural sweetness, Truth Coffee in Cape Town has a slogan “Natural sweetness is the New Acidity”.