Ever since we first discovered coffee, people have been questing to find the best coffee in the world. One doesn’t have to be a coffee connoisseur to know what bad coffee tastes like, but there has been much debate around which coffee beans are the best and which are just above average. They say that the difference between good coffee and great coffee lies in the taste of the consumer. But there are some things to consider when deciding whether a particular coffee is bad, good, or outstanding.
Coffee snobs who have educated themselves on coffee are quick to say where the best coffee beans grow. They know the best bean varieties and what roasting perfection requires. An average person, however, only relies on their taste to deliver a verdict. To avoid overcomplicating things, here are some of the ways to determine if the coffee one is used to drinking is worthy of the title “best coffee in the world” or not.
Type of Beans
When it comes to quality, Arabica beans are top-notch. Most of the world’s most prized coffee blends are from Arabica coffee sourced from one location or several different regions. These blends create a unique coffee that’s pleasing to the palate. Arabica coffee can have flavour profiles that range from mild to bold depending on its origin and roasting. Coffee from Arabica beans is often smooth with a very little bitter aftertaste.
Although considered sub-standard by many coffee enthusiasts, the robusta coffee bean has nothing to be embarrassed about because it accounts for most instant coffee blends available in the market today. It is looked down upon because it often leaves a bitter taste in one’s mouth, but that is because it contains almost twice the caffeine as the arabica beans. Even though robusta beans are far from being the best coffee beans the world has ever seen, it has found a place in the hearts of those who like their coffees bold, flavorful, and with an extra-strong kick.
Roasting of Coffee Beans
When roasting coffee, one must wait for the “crack” or the pop of the beans. Aside from bean colour, roasters know when the coffee is made by counting the cracks. There are three main ways to roast coffee beans, and under each of these three categories, one can find at least two different roasting techniques that give the coffee its character.
Light or Blonde Roasts
The beans in this category appear light brown or blonde in colour, hence the name. They are often roasted until right before or right after the first crack, depending on what sub-type of roast one is trying to achieve. These beans may appear light, but they pack the most punch as they retain most of the flavours and caffeine inherent in the coffee beans.
Coffee beans medium roasted are usually kept roasting after the first crack but sometime before the second crack occurs. These beans are very balanced from their colour, all the way to their acidity, aroma, and flavour and are a favourite among regular coffee drinkers.
Many people seem to think that darker roasts have more caffeine in them. On the contrary, they have the least amount of this energy-boosting chemical. Dark roasts are kept on the roaster the longest but are usually removed from heat right after the second crack to prevent infusing a burnt taste into the coffee. Dark roasted coffee is often the most full-bodied of them all. But the roasting process tends to crowd out the natural coffee flavours.
In the end, the only way to ensure the best coffee in the world is in preparation. Homebrewers are often at a disadvantage as they have limited equipment to extract flavours of the coffee. There are, however, more sophisticated coffee machines available to make great coffee at home.