January 1, 2013

Resolution: 5 Ways to Learn More About Coffee

There are tons of resolutions out there; most made to be broken. One that might stand a better chance is to learn more about coffee, its origins, roasting techniques and how to be a better brewer.

Your odds of keeping this resolution are probably better than let's say losing those twenty pounds….

Here are a few ideas to kickstart the process:

  1. Learn how to cup coffee - cupping is easy, and fun, we've written about the flavor wheel, and if you have a high quality coffee roaster/cafe near you they might even help you learn. We've been to cupping sessions at Gimme Coffee (Roaster of the Year by Roast Magazine), where they walk you through the process. If you are a regular at a local coffee shop, they might run a session just for you and a few friends for some kind of consideration.
  2. Read About Coffee - might sound boring, but learning the differences between Robusta, and Arabica is important to understand how to get a great cup of coffee, and why Robusta isn't all bad. You might start with a book like: Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee, or simply a magazine like Roast, an industry zine that talks to roasters and conneseurs alike. They have a few articles available each issue for free at the Roast Magazine website
  3. Find a locally Roasted Coffee - a lot of people are happy to drink pre-packaged coffee from the grocery store, or pre-dosed single serve capsules fro single serve brewers, but tasting locally roasted coffees hours or days after roasting is a vastly different experience. Buy a couple of roasts that are of different origin, brew them up and look for the differences. Learn what you like, and what you don't. If the coffee is really fresh, drink it over a week's time and notice how it changes. We have a local roaster who sells at our local farmer's market. Not always my favorite type of coffee, but always fresh and amazing to taste.
  4. Buy Cup of Excellence Coffee - Cup of Excellence is a program to recognize, and auction off some of the best coffees grown in the world. Several roasters sell these highly regarded coffees, and pay dearly for the micro-lots that are truly some of the best in the world. Search the CoE directory for a Roaster, read up on their available coffee and mail order it.
  5. Brew in a new way - Not all of us can buy a new Marzocco espresso maker, but trying a new brew method might just help you learn more about how the brew method changes the coffee flavor. There is a french press, a pour over cone(not only plain cones, but something like a Chemex Drip Coffee Carafe , a pour over cone with a steep time (Clever Coffee Dripper), Espresso (of course), electric or stove-top percolator (yes, this is worth trying to experience the body that develops in this brew method), a Moka Pot espresso type. or even an Ibrik/Turkish Coffee Pot. Lots of methods, each with its own flavor appeal, and a way to appreciate the art of the brew just a little more.

Happy New Year.

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Posted by Scott Martin at January 1, 2013 12:55 PM
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