(we’re gonna do this in parts, because no one likes reading a novel, no matter how many gifs I use)
At least twice a week, I get asked some variation of the following question:
I like the idea of liking coffee but I’m really new to it and I don’t know where to start and my local coffee shop is too busy/intimidating for me to feel comfortable asking questions.
And so I figured it was high time to write a sort of “Intro to coffee” post for those of you who might like a little guidance. Something that will be a bit more helpful than the wikipedia article on coffee.
So here we go.
Coffee made by roasting the seeds of a shrub and then grinding those seeds up and introducing them to water. Boom. It’s pretty fucking basic.
Think of coffee like you would wine, beer, whisky (side note, whisky is real whisky. whiskey is americanized swill. drink scotch or go home) or any other beverage most people associate with refined taste. Differences in growing regions and weather patterns, local water, brewing methods and even the cup you drink it out of can affect the taste of the brew.
Like anything, you need to develop a taste for coffee. Most people just learn to deal with crap, burned coffee because it’s quick, easy and cheap. That not what I’m talking about.
Coffee isn’t good just by virtue of being coffee.
So where do you start? By shelling out some cash.
Buy a fucking french press. It’s the best way to brew coffee at home without spending an inordinate amount of money on hipster penis pumps like this
Now, find a coffee source that you trust. A local roaster is preferred but if you’re stuck with it, go to Starbucks. You’re going to want to buy a very dark roast and a very light roast. At Starbucks, hit something like Gold Coast or Verona (they’re pretty smooth dark roasts) and then pick up some Veranda. We can scoop half pounds to save you some cash.
Have your beans ground for french press and go home. Follow the brewing recommendations that came with your press and make up a cup of light roast. Quickly rinse the press out and repeat with the dark roast.
Slurp that shit like you’re 6 years old and trying to piss off mom with some super soup slurping action.
This is to cool the coffee down as well as spread it all over your tongue.
Move from one to the other and you’re going to notice mostly how the roast affects the taste. That’s pretty much all you’re going to notice, really. But try to also notice the aroma of the coffee, the body (how thick it feels) and note things like acidity. Try your best. You have a small sample size and your tongue is inexperienced.
(no, not like that.)
(ok, probably like that too)
Once you’ve got this first tasting under your belt, pick up a different dark and light roast. Repeat. Compare them to each other as well as the dark and light roasts you picked up earlier.
Be honest, you won’t notice much of a difference. Don’t pretend like you do. No one likes a liar.
Well, um, try your best. I guess.
All you’re aiming to do is familiarize yourself with the basic ideas of acidity, aroma, body and roast. The language to describe these things is remarkably similar to that of wine and beer. Describe the various tastes to yourself. Write them down if you like.
In part 2 we’re gonna talk about the taste profiles of the various regions. Until then… Party on, Wayne.