Category Archives: Coffee Roasting

Tips and Tricks for Brewing Bolder Coffee

Darth Roast CoffeeDark roasted coffee is an acquired taste to be certain, and most coffee lovers either love it or hate it. Starbucks is known for their bold roasts, such as Pike’s Place or Cafe Verona blends, but even they realized not everyone likes the intense, more acidic flavors of dark roast and added a blonde roast to their stock.

If you consume dark roasted coffee, or you want to give it a second chance, here are some tips and tricks to help make that bold coffee less acidic and ashy-tasting, and give it a fuller flavor.

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Are You Drinking Your Coffee Wrong?

wrongcoffeeThat does sound harsh, doesn’t it–to be told that the way you are consuming coffee is wrong? How we drink coffee is all about personal preference and therefore, opinion, right? So how can we be wrong?

Buzzfeed created a nifty little video that shows 5 ways they claim you are drinking your coffee “wrong,” but what they really mean is they have five tips to help you get the most out of your coffee! A few of these tips we’ve gone over before, but a couple were complete news to me.

Watch the video below, or skip to our written summary with other tips if you can’t or don’t want to watch a video. We get it.

Don’t Drink Old Coffee

We’ve gone over the tip for making coffee ice cubes before to help prevent your iced coffee from getting watered down. Using old coffee is a far better idea than brewing a whole new pot of coffee just for the iced cubes. It cuts down on waste, for starters. However, Buzzfeed introduced another idea for the iced coffee cubes–use them to make a quick iced latte. Fill your glass with the iced coffee cubes and pour milk over it.

Don’t Force Yourself to Power Through Bitter Coffee

Does someone in the office like the coffee to slap them in the face in the morning? Did they brew the pot before you got there? It happens. Instead of forcing yourself to burn through it, because my God, you need that jolt today, add a pinch of salt to the coffee! It sounds disgusting, but adding just a pinch, JUST A PINCH, will naturally counteract the bitterness.

Don’t Dump Sweeteners in Your Coffee

You like your coffee to be a little sweet? That’s exactly what the creamers are for. However, if you’re dumping in loads of creamer and sugar, perhaps you need to change how you’re brewing your coffee. When grinding the beans, add some natural flavors into the whole beans before grinding. For example, add some cinnamon stick flakes or orange zest or tear up a few mint leaves. Now your coffee has some natural sweetness ground in, perfect for adding in some cream (but not sugar!).

Don’t Add Cold Milk to Coffee

This tip essentially teaches you how to make a foamy latte without a cappuccino machine. Pour the milk into a mason jar, shake vigorously for 30 seconds, pop it into the microwave for 30 seconds, and then you have “steamed” milk with foam that you can top on your coffee.

Avoid Old Coffee

So we know that you should freeze your old coffee into ice cube trays, but how can you tell if the coffee is old? Obviously, this is simple to tell at your own home, but at the office? That’s a different beast. The video shows how you can use two Styrofoam cups to keep track of the age of the coffee. You’re going to have to watch the video for this one; it’s quite handy and it’s hard to explain without seeing it.

Now the trick here is to get everyone in your office to adhere to the cup timer.

Do you have any other coffee life hacks you want to share? Leave them in the comments below!

How are darker and lighter coffee roasts created?

French Roasted Coffee Beans

French Roasted Coffee Beans

As a coffee connoisseur, you know that there are a wide variety of roasts of coffees, varying in color, from Starbucks’ new Blonde Roast to the very dark Spanish Roast. But how are these darker and lighter coffee roasts created?

It’s actually a simpler process than you might think. All coffee beans start out as “green” coffee beans, and they actually have a slightly green color. When coffee beans are originally shipped to roasters, this is how they are shipped–green. The roasters create the darker colors by the temperatures implemented in the roasting process. The higher the temperature, the darker the roast.

There are specific names for roasts that are determined by the different temperatures used for the roast. For example, the Arabian roast, one of the lightest roasts, comes from roasting the coffee beans between 165 °C (329 °F) and 210 °C (410 °F). French roast, one of the darkest roasts, is roasted at 240 °C (464 °F).

The darker roasts also affect the feel of the beans and the caffeine content as well as the taste. The darker the roast, the more full-bodied and bitter (stronger) the taste is. However, once temperatures go beyond the high temperature for the French roast, like in the Italian and Spanish roasts, the taste actually thins out a little bit since the higher temperatures burn off the acidity.

Darker roasts make coffee beans oilier, which affects the taste, and roasting beans at high temperatures reduces the amount of caffeine contained in the beans. The lighter the roasts, the higher the caffeine content. Note, though, that this reduction isn’t too significant. Light roasts typically contain 1.37% caffeine levels, whereas dark roasts contain 1.31%

What type of roast is your favorite flavor? Do you like the lighter roast of a Breakfast roast, or do you prefer the stronger, dark roast such as a French roast?

How is Coffee Decaffeinated?

Starbucks Decaf CoffeeCoffee beans are naturally full of caffeine, so to sell decaffeinated coffee, the beans have to have the caffeine physically removed from them (at least as much as possible). So how is this not-so-modern marvel accomplished?

There are actually four ways coffee roasters can decaffeinate their blends: a direct method, an indirect method, a water process, and a supercritical process.

Direct Decaffeination

First, roasters soften green coffee beans with steam, and then they apply a solvent that literally bonds to caffeine molecules directly to the beans. They then rinse the beans, effectively washing away both the solvent and the caffeine.

There are different types of FDA-approved solvents for this method, but the only one that can claim the label of “naturally decaffeinated” is ethyl acetate, which occurs naturally in some fruits. Continue reading