The flavor of the coffee bean starts with the plant and the climate where it is grown. But what happens to the bean from picking until it is poured into your cup also has a lot to do with the flavor and the extent that you enjoy the end result or experience disappointment.
Roasting - What it Does
Roasting the coffee beans brings out the vibrant flavor of the beans. The heat from the process causes the coffee bean's carbohydrates and fats to transform into aromatic oils. Roasting changes the flavor of the beans from something that is unpleasant into the wonderful coffee flavor that millions of people around the world enjoy every day.
There are also different roasting times that coffee beans experience. Each produces a different type of coffee. Light roast produces a light flavor, medium roast is sweeter and more full-bodied, and dark roast produces a deep taste that is fairly spicy and sweet.
The longest roasting time produces the really dark coffee. In those beans the natural sugar content of the beans will start to carbonize and caramelize, resulting in a smoky and full flavor.
Buying the Best Coffee Beans
Most coffee plants rely on the climate of the region where they are planted, and this produces the distinctive flavor found in the coffee cherries. For the very best beans, buy arabica coffee that is considered gourmet. Robusta beans have more caffeine, less flavor and are cheaper to make.
Your Own Coffee Grinder - A Must
People who want the best flavor in their coffee use coffee grinders. If you'd like to get the most flavor and nutritional benefit you can, buy whole coffee beans and grind your own as you use them. In order to enjoy the full flavor of the coffee, you should grind only the amount you intend to use just before brewing.
Keeping the Coffee Beans Fresh
For the best flavor you should purchase whole coffee beans from specialty shops only. After making your purchase, the whole beans should be used within a week of purchase in order to enjoy the full flavor of the coffee. Coffee beans are like sponges, soaking up the flavor of anything in their environment, which is why you want to make sure they are sealed in a air-tight container and used up within seven to ten days.
Coffee drinkers also advise against buying pre-ground coffee since pre-grinding diminishes the coffee flavor and aroma. By purchasing whole beans, grinding the fresh coffee beans and making only enough that you will drink immediately you are preparing a beautiful, intense flavor and aroma.
It wasn't long ago that people had to depend on percolators and ground coffee. Hardly anyone had their own grinder, and few people had their own percolator. Percolators were for the church potluck or the local coffee shop.
Today we are spoiled to have available the best coffee beans for a reasonable price. In many kitchens there is a roaster, or at least a grinder and coffee maker, and often an espresso machine. This is a great time in history for coffee lovers everywhere.
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Carol Stack has written numerous articles about coffee and coffee-related topics. She lives in the United States with her husband, three children, and various dogs and cats. Carol and her sister Barbara have a coffee site devoted to coffee lovers who are searching for a better cup of coffee. You can visit it at: http://www.coffeeloversportal.com