When people get enthusiastic about coffee, they want to have a lot of information. I am all for sharing information about coffee but some coffee questions just keep coming back, over and over and over. So here is a list of frequently asked coffee questions.
Q: Where do you buy your coffee?
A: I buy my coffee at specialty coffee-shops or at renown webshops. I do not buy my beans in a supermarket because I don’t know when the beans have been roasted. My experience is that coffee sold in supermarkets is of lower quality and already too old. Furthermore there is hardly any background information about the beans available.
Q: You talk about fresh coffee but I buy my coffee vacuum packed. That keeps my coffee fresh, right?
A: I have a rule of thumb: coffee is fresh for 2 weeks, and good to drink for up to 4 or 5 weeks. There are 2 myths about keeping your coffee fresh:
-Vacuum packed coffee: When coffee is roasted it will start to release carbon dioxide and loses it’s freshness quickly. Only after releasing all the Carbon Dioxide (and in the meanwhile losing it’s freshness) can the coffee be vacuum packed. Vacuum packed coffee holds it’s freshness longer, but exactly how fresh was the coffee when packed? See my point?
-Keeping coffee in the freezer/refrigerator: This is really simple. Coffee should not be stored in a refrigerator. Dry coffee will absorb the moist from the air inside the refrigerator and that will deteriorate the quality of the coffee. Freezing your coffee does the same, except when you are able to freeze-dry the coffee. Freeze-drying dehydrates the coffee and thus allows it to maintain it’s freshness. Freeze-drying is probably something your fridge is not capable of doing.
Keep your coffee in a dark, cool and moist-free environment. Don’t buy coffee that has already been grounded. Grounded coffee will start to loose it’s quality after just 15 minutes. Only buy coffee that’s freshly roasted and stored in a package with a one-way-valve. This valve will allow gasses to escape the package, but will not let oxygen in.
Q: How many coffees are there?
A: The most important coffee species are the Coffea Arabica (Arabica bean) and C. Canephora (Robusta bean). The Coffea Arabica produces two main varieties: the Bourbon plant and the Typica plant. Despite the fact that we use only two main species, the coffee plants produce thousands of different tasting coffee’s. The climate, altitude, environment, soil, drying process and roasting process all influence the eventual outcome of the taste of the coffee. Much like wine.
Q: What is your favourite coffee?
A: Asking about a favourite coffee is like asking about a favourite wine, beer or whiskey. Sometimes you want a Merlot, a triple or a Bourbon, sometimes you want a Riesling, a light beer or a Single Malt. Coffee knows a multitude of varieties and thus it’s impossible for me to choose a favourite coffee. A coffee from Brazil tastes vastly different than a coffee from Ethiopia, so much that you cannot compare them to each other. I love the Batak bean as well as the Yirgacheffe but I also love drinking a Gesha for example. All three are favourites on their own.
Q: What do you mean by natural process, washed process etc?
A: This is the process that farms use to prepare a coffee berry for the drying process. If you want to read up on this, click this link to read my article about the different processes.
Q: Can you recommend a coffee-machine?
A: Buying a coffee-machine is something personal. Some people like their fully automatic machines such as Jura, WMF or Miele. Others like to have a Nespresso machine or something like that. There are also people who want semi-automatic machines like Bezzera, Vibiemme, ECM or Isomac for example. If you want to buy a coffee-machine you should read into it. What are the pro’s and con’s of each machine-type? What are the costs for each type of machine? What does a cup of coffee cost me, and how much quality do I want? How much time to I want to spend on making a cup of coffee? There are a million-and-one questions that could pop up when thinking about buying a coffee-machine. I can help with some, but most of them should be decided by you.
Q: Why is a grinder so important?
A: A grinder is the machine that provides you with the end-product of coffee: the grounded bean. The more consistent the size and shape of your grind, the better the water will be able to equally extract coffee from each and every bit of coffee-grind. If your grinder isn’t good, the grind will be uneven in size and shape. This will result in loss of coffee-quality in the end.
Q: What is Nitro Coffee?
A: Nitro Coffee is coffee that is infused with Nitrogen (a odorles and colorles gas). The Nitrogen stimulates the taste-buds and tricks it into thinking something sweet has touched the tongue. The Nitrogen doesn’t mix with the coffee and thus gives it a frothy mouthfeel and the look of a glass of Guinness beer.
Q: What is a pour-over coffee?
A: The name says it all. A pour-over coffee is a coffee made by pouring hot water over ground coffee. The temperature, the amount and the pouring-method of the water influences the taste of the coffee. There are several pour-over methods: Hario V60, Kalita Wave, Chemex, Kone, Bee House, Woodneck and Walkure.
Q: Isn’t coffee bad for your health?
A: There are a lot of myths and truths to coffee out there. Coffee is supposed to dehydrate you, give you high cholesterol, cause cancer and is supposed to be bad for your heart. I will clarify these rumours
- Research indicated that coffee does not dehydrate you at all. It will make you go to the bathroom more often, but it does not drain necessary and essential fluids from your body. Still, keep drinking your daily amount of water!
- Coffee is bad for your cholesterol level…but! The LDL (the bad cholesterol) resides in the oily part of coffee. This can easily be removed by drinking filter coffees. The paper filter will take the LDL cholesterol out of the coffee and make it perfectly safe to drink.
- Coffee could be a risk for your heart when you have high blood-pressure because of the caffeine. Caffeine will rise your blood-pressure for a short period of time, so people who already have a high blood-pressure should take caution. People with normal blood-pressure have nothing to fear from coffee, as long as you don’t drink too much coffee.
- Coffee does NOT give people cancer. As a matter of fact, the American Institute for Cancer Research listed coffee as a cancer-fighting product. The antioxidants in coffee helps repair cell damage.