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How to Order a Cup of Coffee

Updated on February 17, 2013

How to Order a Cup of Coffee

You've successfully made your way into a coffee shop, now what?

With over 60 known species of coffee plants, what do you order? Coffee beans from different parts of the world have their own distinctive characteristics, so which do you prefer? Do your order something high in acidity, because you don't know which is high in acidity, but you do know that acidity bothers you? Do you order a light roast, because like many of us, it is thought that a light roast has less caffeine? If you are buying coffee to stay awake, do you order an American or a European?

High on your list may be a cup of Jamaican Blue Mountain. This coffee is known for its excellent flavor and lovely aroma. Because of its popularity it is often more expensive. But if you want to try something new, want to know the various characteristics, want to know whether the American is a medium roast or a dark roast, and need to know the acidity and caffeine content of the different coffees, here are are some pointers to keep in mind:

You Want to Know the Coffee Characteristics of Beans From Different Parts of the World:

Known for flavor and aroma - in addition to the Jamaican Blue Mountain, there is also Kona, Guatemalan, Columbian, and Sumatran.

For body and richness - try Java. Yes, this coffee is actually from Java in Indonesia. Their coffee was once so widely traded, that java became the slang name for coffee.

For a taste like wine - Ethiopian (see photo below) is known for its complex, fruity flavor, resembling dry red wine. Also winey is Kenyan coffee, and Mocha (not to be confused with the preparation - mixing coffee and cocoa); Mocha is the locale.

For sweetness - Try Haitian, and Venezuelean Maracaibo.

For acidity and snap - Try Costa Rican, and Guatemalan.

But What About Caffeine Content? How Do You Figure Out the Roasting Chart?

A good coffee shop will list the caffeine content of its coffee; it will be listed on the roasting chart. The darker the roast the less caffeine content the coffee will have. Most people think the opposite is true. The higher and longer roasting temperature of the beans causes them to be darker; this is what will eliminate more caffeine. A brief, cooler roast will let more caffeine remain. Therefore, if you are drinking coffee to stay awake, you should go with the lighter roasts. Often 6 different roasts will be offered and listed:

Light - Cinnamon, New England, Light

Medium - American, Medium Brown, Brown

Medium Dark - Full City, Vienna, Velvet

Dark - Italian, Espresso, European

Darker - Espresso, Italian, Continental

Very Dark - French, Dark French, Italian

The lighter the roast, the more flavor acids. (Some people have a hard time with acidity, then a light roast should not be for you). The medium roast has less acid. The dark roast loses the acidic tones. This chart shows you that the American has more caffeine than the European.

How Will You Know if it is A Fresh Cup of Coffee?

It would depend on the state of the bean:

Raw Green Coffee Beans - Retains freshness for years/many coffee aficionados buy beans in this green state and roast at home.

Roasted Whole Coffee Beans - Will lose freshness in about a week/usually in coffee shops, you will hear the beans being ground.

Ground Coffee - Loses flavor within an hour after beans are ground. If you order in a coffee shop and do not hear the beans being ground, the coffee may have already lost all flavor.

Brewed Coffee - Loses flavor almost immediately. This is the stuff you will pick up in a fast food shop, diner, a sidewalk coffee truck, etc.

Two things to keep in mind - decide what characteristics you want in your cup of coffee. If acidity is a problem, then see where your choice falls on the roasting chart and pick accordingly.


See link below for more coffee information:

Ethiopian Coffee Beans

Ethiopian coffee beans
Ethiopian coffee beans

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