Did you know that every day more than two billion cups of coffee are consumed around the world?

GIF of a man in a bath robe drinking coffee straight from the coffee pot in his kitchen with the words Good Morning written.

If you're a coffee lover and want to learn how to make a great-tasting cup of coffee, then the key is to:

  • know how to select good quality coffee beans

  • be aware of different types of roasts and identify their freshness

  • be open to experimenting with various brewing techniques

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Coffee Plant

coffee bean is actually a seed of the coffee cherry fruit that grows on the coffeaplant.

Image of a coffee plant with coffee seeds

There are many factors that affect the growth of the plant and the flavor of its coffee beans including climate, elevation, soil type, and seed varietal.

Most of the world's coffee is grown within the Bean Belt. It include countries in:

  • Central Americasmooth, fruity, slightly nutty, grown in very high-high altitudes

  • South America — slightly sweet, mellow, with hints of caramel and honey, grown in medium-high altitudes

  • Asia — woody, earthy, grown in medium-low altitudes

  • Africa — fruity, floral, hints of wine and berry, grown in very high-high altitudes

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The coffee fruits are processed to remove all the sticky layers. This involves the use of machinery or fermentation techniques and will influence the flavor of the coffee. To learn more about coffee processing methods visit this link.

Types of Coffee Beans

There are 2 types of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta .

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Arabica beans are:

  • large oblong-shaped

  • grown at high altitudes

  • smoother with a sweeter taste

  • known for high-quality flavors and aromas

  • comparatively lower caffeine content compared to Robusta

  • more popular due to their superior flavor

Robusta beans are:

  • small circular-shaped

  • grown at low altitudes

  • stronger, harsher with a more bitter taste

  • higher caffeine content

  • hardier, disease-resistant, and produce better yields

  • used for commercial production of instant coffees and espresso blends

Types of Roast

After coffee beans are harvested, they need to be roasted to reduce moisture and bring out natural flavors and aromas.

An image of different roasted coffee beans: light, medium, medium-dark, and dark Photo by Ochir-Erdene Oyunmedeg on Unsplash

There are 4 general categories of roasted coffee beans :

  1. Light Roast: Light brown color with no oil on the surface, mild flavor, more caffeine and less aroma than darker roasts.

  2. Medium Roast: Medium brown color with no oil on the surface, strong flavor.

  3. Medium Dark Roast: Dark brown color with some oil on the surface, bittersweet flavor.

  4. Dark Roast: Shiny black color with oily surface, bitter flavor.

💡It's time to test your knowledge!

Jules wants to have a cup of coffee that has an earthy aroma with the maximum caffeine impact.

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Quiz

Which type of coffee should Jules choose?

Choice of Grinds and Brews

Coffee beans are ground to different sizes which is important when choosing the brewing method. If too much flavor is extracted because the grind isn't compatible with the brew method, the taste could be bitter. Too little extracted and your coffee could taste sour.

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Here are some suggestions on how to brew coffee according to the grind:

Ground: Brew Method

  • Extra coarse: cold brew

  • Coarse: French press, percolator

  • Medium coarse: drip

  • Medium: pour over (3+ min brew)

  • Medium fine: pour over (2-3 min brew)

  • Fine: espresso

  • Extra fine: Turkish

Cold brew: Coarsely ground beans sit in cold water until the flavor seeps out. The strained concentrate is then served with ice or milk. Use a light roast.

an image of a cup of cold coffee on a cutting board with beans and cold brew press in the back.

French press: Hot water is added to extra coarsely ground beans, and then pressed to the bottom. Use a medium-dark roast.

An image of a french press

Drip: Hot water drips onto medium-coarsely ground coffee beans, through a filter, and into a carafe. Use a medium roast.

Image showing coffee dripping into a carafe. Photo by The Matter of Food on Unsplash

Pour over: Hot water is poured over medium-finely ground beans in a filter. Use a medium roast.

Image showing coffee poured over through a filter into a cup. Photo by Battlecreek Coffee Roasters on Unsplash

Espresso: Hot pressurized water is forced through finely ground coffee beans . Use medium to medium-dark roast.

An image of an espresso machine dripping coffee into a cup

Turkish: Extra finely ground beans are added to hot water and then boiled over an open flame. Use a dark roast.

an image of coffee beans spilled from a bag next to a brass coffee pot

Take Action

Girl drinking coffee, doing cheers and smiling.

Armed with the knowledge from this Byte, you can now make a cup of joe that perfectly suits your tastes!

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This Byte has been authored by

JB

Jennifer Benaggoun

Learning Designer