Four virtues to explore to better enjoy your specialty coffee
The world of coffee is vast and surprising!
There's a new way to explain the taste of coffee in our coffee product sheets, and we go into more detail in our impressions.
In this article, I'm going to describe the main key elements that make a coffee shop stand out. First, of course, is the a Saveur, for example: Milk Chocolate - Pinot Noir. This gives the master impression for the coffee taste, but still!
What about its acidity, bitterness, balance or even the tactile sensation in the mouth?
We can easily deduce that the flavor milk chocolate - pinot noir will be a rather sweet coffee, with a silky body, a certain acidity of macerated red fruit reminiscent of the Pinot noir grape variety and finally a structured balance, but with a little fruity and comforting touch.
So, have you thought about all that? 😉
Otherwise, that's why the rest of the article will allow you to better segment the analysis of a coffee.
In fine coffees, there are ways to give more details about the coffee you will be tasting. Let's go!
The acidity, or the attack in the mouth, is the characteristic of the coffee to present its bright or, on the contrary, sweet character. Often, a high altitude coffee (1500m and more) is likely to have a pleasant acidity that you will feel on the sides of your tongue. In filter coffee, it takes on all its splendour! On the contrary, a coffee from low altitudes is going to be milder, which makes it an excellent companion for espressos, since its quality will be more focused on the body or its sweetness.
The roast level also plays an important role, i.e. the acidity will be more pronounced when the coffee is lightly roasted and softer with a dark roast.
It is often the first sensation to be detected in the mouth and it is a quality that opens the palate and gives a feeling of freshness.
In general, African coffees are known to contain pleasant acidity, ranging from floral, fruity, citrine fruit or small berry notes. Kenyan coffees are reputed to be the most acidic! This is why a lighter roast is often applied to coffees from this continent to make their acidity shine.
At the other end of the spectrum, there are coffees from Sumatra, Asian, or even from certain American countries such as Brazil, which have a mild or low acidity . Thus, during roasting, the emphasis will rather be placed on a darker cooking in order to make good sweet and syrupy coffees. A low acid coffee makes it a great candidate for espressos!
It's the tactile sensation in the mouth. Several parameters will affect the roundness of the sip, namely the variety of grains, its drying process or the altitude. A rich body will result in a very silky and velvety, full feel, while a delicate coffee will be crystal clear like green tea.
Types of infusions greatly affect the body. Espressos, moka pots and French presses will greatly accentuate this one, while the Chemex, siphon or V60 will give a more delicate body. Quite simply, filter brews retain the majority of coffee oils. The thicker the filter, the more the coffee will be filtered and will be delicate like the famous Chemex. Espresso, on the other hand, contains all the oils and its very fine grind makes it a concentrated dose of coffee.
Among origins where coffee viscosity is naturally rich, Asian countries often top the charts. We can also add Colombia and the Caribbean countries which generally offer full-textured coffees.
For delicate coffees, African origins and especially Ethiopia will offer coffees that are lighter in body, making them suitable for light roasting focusing on acidity and brightness. Some American countries like Costa Rica and Panama also offer very delicate coffees.
A light roast will provide a lighter body while a dark roast will make the coffee richer.
Finally, the drying process as well as the variety of coffee also affects its body.
The sweet side of a coffee is often highly sought after! And also the bitterness that makes a coffee a real coffee. All tastes are there. A very sweet coffee will stand out with a pronounced taste such as flowers, fruits, honey, caramel or even chocolate. On the contrary, a mild and less sweet coffee will develop a certain bitterness, even notes of pure cocoa, nuts and even earthy in some cases. The altitude where the coffee is harvested is strongly correlated with the sweetness of the coffee.
Indeed, in general, a coffee from high altitude will present powerful sweet notes while a coffee from low altitudes will be more bitter, without prejudice. For more details, check out my blog post on this!
The drying methods also impact the sweetness, for example the natural method will give the coffee a very sweet side due to the pulp of the coffee cherry drying on the beans.
Among the champions of sweet coffees, we often find Mexican coffees and Brazilian coffees, which are sure values for a good espresso! Coffees from Central and South America are often the most popular for having a very sweet cup.
On the contrary, coffees from Asia will generally have more earthy, grassy and bitter notes.
It should be noted that Robusta species will be very bitter while Arabica is naturally sweeter. Among the Arabica varieties are sweet at different levels.
It's the harmony of coffee in the mouth. The balance between flavors, acidity, body and sweetness. We say of a harmonious coffee that it is round in the mouth, because it flows very well from the sip to the end of the mouth.
A complex coffee, orFunky, can be very interesting even if it is less "straight". It will be surprising and unsettling, filled with succinct flavor and fitted with shifting acidity. The best competition coffees are often the most complex!
Among these, one can certainly mention the Gesha variety which is surprising. We can taste a multitude of tropical fruits in a single sip, with a very sweet side and even an acidity that will be fruity at the take of the sip and in the middle of the mouth, then changing towards a refreshing mint finish.
There are also more and more experimental processes, such as carbonic maceration, or the aging of coffee beans in rum barrels, which add a lot of complexity to the coffee.
Otherwise, certain origins are renowned for producing complex coffees due to their terroir, such as Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Kenya or even Guatemala.
As a harmonious, or rather classic coffee, Caribbean coffees are often recognized for their simple, straightforward nutty and sugar profile. Similarly, several countries in the Americas make classic cups.
So much for the four virtues!