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Best Tasting Coffee Brands
The best tasting coffee is that coffee that you drink it every day, never thinking to change it. Is the coffee that wakes you up in the morning and makes you happy. Is the one that has an irresistible aroma and pleases your palate. Is the coffee that you choose after you have tried many brands, flavors and roasts. The best tasting coffee is as personal as your best friend.
But there is more to it. A lot of the coffee's taste comes from the region it was grown, the type of soil and the amount of water or sun. Other characteristics comes from the blend of beans or the flavours added. And last, but not least, the taste of coffee depends on the type of roast.
To find out which is the best tasting coffee, people have developed a sophisticated science called cupping, where specialized people, only a little over 800 of them in the entire world, have the authority to tell you which coffee taste the best. They are called quality cuppers. They drink coffee from all over the world and rate it considering the following parameters:
To find out which coffee tastes the best for you, here is a quick guide:
1. FLavor of Coffee
There are three components in the flavor of coffee:
Aroma - or the smell of brewed coffee
Taste - or how a brewed coffee taste when you take the first sip
Mouthfeel - or how the drink feels in your mouth
A large amount of the taste of our foods and drinks comes from the smells of it. Some aromas in coffee are considered good, some are considered bad. You may not know how to describe your cup but most coffee packages list the predominant aroma. The good ones are:
- Floral - associated with the fragrance of flowers. It is never too intense and usually it is combined with other aromas.
- Chocolate - also called “sweet”, reminds of cocoa powder and dark or milk chocolate
- Fruity - this is a coffee that taste like berries
- Citrus - has a faded flavour of citrus fruits like lemons, limes, oranges and others
- Nutty - resembles fresh nuts
- Spicy - associated with cinnamon, cloves and all spices.
- Grassy - referred for fresh cut grass like aromas
Here are some bad aromas that you will not find them on the package, rather you may feel it yourself when drinking a not so tasty coffee: animal, burnt, medicine, earthy, rancid, rubber.
International Coffee Organization lists 5 basic coffee tastes as following:
- Acidity (a "sharp, and pleasing taste)
Mouthfeel, or how the coffee drink feels in your mouth, is also divided in two parts: body and aftertaste.
- Body - when the coffee feels rich, heavy, oily in your mouth then it has a full body. Coffee reviews, an independent enterprise that rates coffees, says that the experience is similar with wine tasting and recommend coffees from Sumatra and Costa Rica for the heaviest body and Kenya for the lightest body.
- Aftertaste - is associated with the taste in your mouth after drinking and swallowing the coffee.
2. Origin of Coffee
Origin of coffee beans means two things: flavour and quality, or, in other words, the region where it was grown and the type of beans.
- Region: the type of soil the coffee grows gives the beans most its flavour accents. Some of the most appreciated coffees comes from the mountainous regions of South America, where the soil is volcanic. Other great coffees come from Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia, with its tropical vegetation. Sometimes, in this category is often included the farm that the coffee was cultivated and processed, as some producers are growing organic coffee, others are have different methods of drying the beans, some others cultivate the coffee bushes under a canopy of wild forest. All of the above contributes to the final taste of coffee.
- Type of beans: the most important factor to consider when hunting for the best tasting coffee. There are two major type of beans that are largely cultivated all over the world: arabica and robusta. Arabica coffee is oldest type and produces the finest coffees. Arabica is used to make gourmet and speciality coffees. Robusta is a type of coffee tree that bears the most berries but has a flat taste. It is used in blends and instant coffee. Also, Robusta has a higher content of caffeine.
Here are some of the best rated coffees, as this year: 2012
1. El Vergel, Guatemala,
origin: Patzun, Guatemal
roaster: Terroir Coffee, Massachusetts
roast: medium light
flavor: bright, floral, chocolatey
2 Colombia Granja la Esperanza Geisha.
origin: Trujillo, Valle del Cauca,
roaster: Equator Coffees & Teas, San Rafael, California
flavor: floral and spicy, silky mouthfeel.
3. Kenya AA Top Single Origin Espresso Taoyuan City, Taiwan
origin: central Kenya
roster: Simon Hsieh’s Aroma Roast Coffees
flavor: pungent - sweet berry and citrus
4. Guatemala El Injerto Pacamara
origin: Huehuetenango, Guatemala
roaster: Willoughby’s Coffees and Teas, Branford, Connecticut
flavour: fruity and chocolatey
5. Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Gedeo Worka, Fair Trade Organic Certified
origin: Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia
roaster: Johnson Brothers Coffee Roasters
flavor: sweet fruits and nuts, bright and intense.
6. Colombia Finca Villa Loyola
origin: Narino, Colombia
roaster: PT’s Coffee Roasting Co.
roast: medium - light
flavor: fruits, citrus and nuts, plush, deep mouthfeel
7. Panama Lerida Estate
origin: Volcan Baru, western Panama
roaster: Green Mountain Coffee Roaster
flavor: vibrant, sweet, berries and night flower, deep mouthfeel.
3. Roast: light, medium and dark
The flavor of coffee can be either enhanced, either diminished by the roasting process.
- There are multiple grades of roasting, ranging from the very light to very dark, almost burnt beans. The best tasting coffee comes with a medium roast that balances the flavour, doesn’t burn the beans and lets most its characteristics intact.
- A dark roasted coffee is often used in espresso and also largely preferred by americans who often mistake the dark roast for a strong coffee. The strength of the coffee drink actually determined by the quantity of grounds brewed. Some roasters also hide low quality beans under a dark roasting process.
Now, after considering all of the above, you can narrow down your search for the best tasting coffee. My personal choice is a bright acidity, light roasted arabica beans, that may come from Colombia or other South American regions.
Where to find the best tasting coffee?
Coffee is like wine, never tastes the same the next year. This means that it is very hard to stay within the same brand all the time. But, if you determine that you like 100% arabica coffee, mostly grown in Africa, and roasted on medium, then you are on the right track.
There are few things to consider when going shopping for coffee:
- the grocery stores don’t carry too many brands
- the brands in the grocery stores are often a mix of low grade beans
- but also, lately, some of them have started to carry a larger variety of coffees from local roasters
- online coffee shops have more option and gives you more details about the origin of beans, type of roast and its characteristics
- local roasters may do a better job on offering you smaller quantities so you can try
The best place to start is by reading some of the reviews available on coffeereview.com.
This independent enterprise will tell you everything you need to know about the beans and the way they are processed.