For the Perfect Brew, Cherry-pick the Coffee Bean
Coffee is a fruit. Specifically, it’s a cherry. So, picking coffee is as important as handpicking a mango. The perfection of a rich cup of coffee lies in the bean, and its processing which ultimately lends flavour to the brew. The distinct characteristics in the flavour of a cup of coffee are described in terms of acidity, aroma, body, and roast.
- Acidity, is the sharpness felt on the tongue upon taking a sip. It is a positive quality
- The aroma could be smoky, floral, fruity, earthy, or nutty.
- Body, is the sensation of heaviness, or density of the coffee decoction in the mouth.
- Roast, is the duration of time the beans were heated for their finished appearance and taste.
There needs to be a balance among the four characteristics in the taste of coffee. A coffee with one or more characteristics pronounced, is deemed to be off-balance.
Just like wine, the geographical origin of the coffee makes it distinct. Being a tropical fruit, the varying climatic conditions within the growing region, lends coffee its unique taste.
- African coffee has fruity flavours and floral aromas. Ethiopian beans have a complex berry and wine-like aromas.
- South and Central American coffee has a delicate caramelised sweetness with a softer fruity character. Brazilian coffee is well known for its heavier body and peanut character.
- Indian and Indonesian coffee is heavier bodied with earthy – herbal and savoury – flavours.
The altitude of the growing location influences the sweetness and acidity of the cherry.
- Coffee growing on altitude higher than 1500 masl (meters above sea level) as in Kenya, has a refined sweetness and acidity.
- Coffee growing at 1000—1250 masl as in Brazil or India, has a mellow acidity and earthy tones.
A washed or ‘wet processed’ coffee has clarity in flavours and complex acidity. It is prepared by fermenting the berries without their pulp and then washed and dried. Producers prefer this method as the fermentation process is controlled and leads to less defects.
A natural processed coffee or fruit bomb is aromatic with wine-like character. It is prepared by drying the berries with their pulp. The flesh and sugars of the fruit are imparted upon the seed during the process. Then there are also other methods such as Honey-processed and Wet Hulled.
Coffee is best when the roast is fresh – the flavour of beans peaks from the seventh day of the roasted date, until the fourteenth. So, beans that don’t specify the date they were roasted or instead inform ‘best before’ are to be avoided.
While coffee can be used for up to 3—4 weeks, the intensity of roasted coffee’s flavour starts to fade after the peak. And a flat (no acidity) cup of coffee can be a disappointment that no one deserves.
Single or blend
Still talking coffee, and not whiskey or scotch – although, notice the similarities in the rich experience both the beverages lend to the palate.
- Blended coffee is meant for an espresso. Each coffee in the mixture has been selected to provide increased body or the caramelised flavour when mixed with milk.
- A single origin coffee is meant to be brewed with water to relish the distinct flavour from a particular farm or estate of the growing region.
If the coffee bean is meant for use in Havells coffee machines, then an espresso roast coffee is to be used. The beans are roasted longer to increase the caramelisation and body for the machine to extract a delectable decoction.
A filter-roasted coffee is roasted for lesser time to retain its sparkling acidity that lends itself to a filtered cup of brew. If the coffee is to be prepared by hand, then filter-roasted beans are to be used.
Clearly only a bag full of fresh espresso-roasted coffee when added to the Havells coffee maker will elevate the senses of the drinker. And if the preference is for black and strong, then a single-origin from the higher altitudes is the perfect cup or brew to go!