Brewing Coffee Beans – From Bean Basics to Brewing Methods

With the right coffee maker, brewing coffee is a piece of cake. Everyone loves a freshly brewed cup of coffee because it starts the day off right and gives you a little boost when needed. A cup in the morning can ensure you’re ready to roll, but brewing is a little tricky if your knowledge isn’t quite up to par. You might know what good coffee tastes like, but you mightn’t be aware what goes into making it. So, what do you need to know about brewing coffee beans?

The Basics of Coffee

So, it’s time to learn a few facts about coffee, specifically what it is. Coffee isn’t actually a bean, but rather a cherry pit. That might surprise most coffee drinkers, even the ones who were drinking it before it was trendy. Coffee comes from the coffee tree, which has waxy green leaves and coffee cherries. However, when the coffee cherry is picked, it resembles nothing like the beans you’d recognize. That’s because the seed inside the cherry is removed then roasted, thus creating the ‘bean’ effect.

Some cherries have a purple overtone or at times, a red overtone. When these are plucked from the tree, new cherries grow, so the cycle continues. However, the coffee tree can produce green and ripe cherries simultaneously, which is interesting, to say the least. Most trees can produce around two pounds of coffee.

The Different Types of Coffee Beans

If you’ve visited a local supermarket, you know the choices over coffee are endless. You have all sorts of beans and roasts, from whole bean, ground bean, light roast, dark roasts, mocha java, and much more in-between. It’s confusing, to say the least, but with some know-how, you’ll hopefully be able to understand coffee a little more.

While there are four types of coffee bean, Arabica and Robusta remain the two most popular choices. So, where do the beans come from, and what do they have to offer your taste buds?

  • Arabica

One of the least known facts about the Arabica coffee bean is that it offers a lovely aromatic taste. Arabica isn’t bitter and provides a balanced flavor for the coffee drinker. However, a little-known fact about these beans is that they’re grown in high altitudes.

  • Robusta

Robusta is a popular choice among most coffee drinkers. It has nice flavor combos, although some say it isn’t as impressive as Arabica. However, Robusta is often easier to harvest and less expensive too.

  • Excelsa Beans

While the Excelsa bean is less popular in the United States, it’s still an option to consider. These beans are typically grown in Southeast Asia and offer a fruity-like flavor. It’s a popular choice throughout Asia and does offer a lovely, sweet taste.

  • Liberica Beans

The Liberica bean is not easy to find in the U.S., however, is incredibly popular in Asia. Typically grown in the Philippines, Liberica offers a sweet, floral aroma flavor. It mightn’t be as popular in America, but it still is an option available.

Where Do Coffee Plants Grow?

Siphon coffee

Siphon coffee – Credit image;

It’s highly likely you’ll find coffee trees and plants near the equator. The ‘Coffee Belt’ is a known area that runs the length of the equator and stands around three thousand miles wide. Fortunately, bean production is quite diverse since the Coffee Belt stretches across such a vast landscape. It’s impressive, to say the least, and helps to ensure such a wide range of coffee bean.

While the Coffee Belt stretches for miles, there are many spots that produce the highest number of coffee beans. Those include Mexico, Columbia, and the Caribbean. In these areas alone, the beans are produced to be sweet and light. In the Middle East and Africa, the beans tend to be dark roasted with a sweet syrup overtone. These flavors are often delicate but well balanced.

Coffee is also produced in the Pacific Islands and Indonesia, however, in these regions, the bean is roasted quite vigorously and offer earthy flavors. The flavor is quite unique but it helps to show the variety of flavors from the region.

Creating a Perfect Blended Coffee

Brewing coffee is far more than just throwing in the coffee grounds. It’s like a puzzle and each individual coffee drinker has their own puzzle to solve. For instance, creating a good tasting cup of coffee is about finding the right grind, roasts, coffee-water ratio, brewing techniques, and even water temperatures. All are just as important as the others and can create a perfect cup of coffee.

There are a dozen different ways to brew and make coffee. You could use the traditional coffee maker or opt for a more classic approach. One of the great things about coffee brewing is that there are no wrong ways to make coffee, only right ways. Some methods are more effective than others and will offer a better blend. Just remember to find the perfect brewing technique for your enjoyment.

The Different Types of Coffee Roasts

Coffee is unique because each bean can be roasted to perfection. Some can be lightly roasted or heavily roasted. It all depends on your likes and the type of flavors you want. Each stage of roasting alters the flavors slightly, so that’s worth noting. The following are the type of roasts you can get with your coffee beans.

  • A Light Roast

Since the beans are lightly roasted, they have a stronger, richer coffee flavor to them. Light roasts are ideal for those who want strong coffee flavors; they stay true to the natural taste. However, light roasts tend to be acidic since they’ve not roasted for as long as other beans.

Often, the beans will resemble chocolate in shade, that’s because they’ve been roasted for a longer period. As such, there is a sweet taste to them and are less acidic, although, their flavors balance well. Medium roasted coffee tend to be among the popular choices for coffee drinkers everywhere.

  • A Dark Roast

Dark roasted beans often end up black, but that’s because they’ve been roasted the longest. The bean changes because the oil inside has risen and offers a moist texture to the bean. However, dark roasts offer a beautiful smoky flavor and sometimes offer a bitter taste.

  • A Blended Roast

A blended roast is created by two bean types. Each bean is roasted – often to a different level – then combined to create the blended roast. The flavors here can vary considerably but can create an impressive cup of coffee. People often love the blended roast because it offers something different.

The Coffee Grinding Process

Pour-over Coffee

Pour Coffee – Credit image;

A lot of people prefer pre-ground beans as they think it’s a more convenient option. However, brewing coffee at home is easier with fresh ground coffee beans. You can ensure you get the desired results, and sometimes, pre-prepared coffee grounds don’t offer the quality you want. If you want to try coffee grinding at home, you’ll need to invest in a quality coffee grinder.

You have the option of buying a burr or blade grinder. Burr grinders are expensive, more so than blade grinders, but they can offer consistent coffee grounds. On the other hand, burrs are like a pepper grinder and use a disc to grind the beans. Both grinders are useful, but it all depends on the brewing method

It’s easier to choose a grinder once you know your brewing method. If you work out which brewing techniques you’ll use, choosing a grinder suitable for that will be easy. However, with coffee, fewer beans are sometimes better. You don’t often need lots of beans if you’re freshly grinding them yourself. Of course, it takes time to find the right balance for your tastebuds.

Choosing the Water-Coffee Ratio

Espresso coffee

Espresso coffee – Credit image;

This can be a personal choice depending on how strong or weak you like your coffee. It’s difficult to say because some prefer stronger blends, others not so. Sometimes, people opt the 1:14 coffee-water ratio, where it’s one part coffee and the rest water. Others, like a 1:16 ratio so the flavors come through well. It depends on the bean you use and the brewing technique.

For instance, you could start with one tablespoon of coffee and four-to-five ounces of water; or go with two tablespoons and six ounces of water. Again, it’s about finding the right. balance to your likes and requirements. Brewing coffee might seem confusing, but once you’ve sorted the coffee-water ratio, you’re good to go.

Adding the Water

You wouldn’t think there be too many wrong ways to add water to a cup of coffee, but the reality is that it can impact the entire cup. For instance, if the water isn’t the best quality, it may detract from the overall flavor. Sometimes, it’s easier to filter the water before brewing with it. Putting that issue to one side, you want to consider the brewing temperature. This will depend on the type of beans you use and the level of blend you want to achieve.

The New Trend of Cold Brew Coffee

One of the simplest things about cold brew coffee is that you don’t have to focus on brew times, or the temperature of the water used to make it. Cold brew coffee is – as you’ve probably guessed – cold or iced coffee. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of time to make if you use the traditional brewing methods. It’s made ahead of time and takes at least ten hours to fully brew. It’s brewed with room temperature water and coarse beans. After you’ve justify it to brew, it needs to be strained and chilled in the fridge.

Fortunately, you can make larger quantities of the coffee at one time so that it’s ready to go as and when you want it. While it does take a little time to make at home, you could easily spend an hour making a big batch for the rest of the week. It’s a pain but it’s a popular trend for coffee drinkers today. What’s more, there are lots of ways to customize and jazz them up to create ice Frappuccino drinks and all sorts. You could play around with the various flavors and design a cold brewed coffee that hits the spot.

What Coffee Brewing Options Do You Have?

Drip brewing

Drip Brewing – Credit image;

Brewing is an important part of the coffee process, although most people are happy enough to put the kettle on and brew that way. While that is one method to use, it mightn’t be the most effective way to get the rich flavors out of your coffee beans. Different brewing techniques and methods can, on the other hand, be useful to know as they create a totally different coffee experience.

There are several types of brewing methods and devices to consider using, including:

    1. A Cold Brew Bottle
  1. A Drip
  2. Pour Over Brewing
  3. French Press Brewing
  4. Espresso Machines
  5. Siphon Coffee
  6. Bialetti
  7. Aero Press Machines
  8. Chemex Coffee

Nel Drip Coffee

Each brewing method and device varies considerably. For instance, espresso is basically a little coffee shot and espresso machines create a strong blend. Whereas French press creates a thicker coffee blend. That’s the beauty of coffee, there are many techniques and devices to brew and enjoy. When it comes to creating a perfect blend at home, you should think about the type of coffee you like, and whether you want a robust or mild flavor. It’s easy to say one brewing method is better but the reality is that every coffee drinker prefers something different.

The Wonderful World of Coffee Beans and Brewing

Whether you’re searching for newer brewing methods or trying to enhance your current technique, it’s good to learn about coffee. Brewing coffee beans is far more complex than you’d think and yet it’s a crucial part of the coffee making process. You don’t want a blend that’s too weak or too strong, you want something that is well balanced and flavorsome. Understanding the basics of brewing can help make the process less confusing. However, it’s important to know where beans come from, the various roasts, and what goes into creating the perfect coffee. You can try new coffee beans or different roasts and find a flavor you love here:

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