5 Ways to Better Appreciate Good Coffee

Having been invited for a tasting of their latest line of coffees by Cafédirect, my fellow Justsayer Ryan and I took the opportunity to not only get some culture, but also have a go at some of the best coffee we’ve ever tasted. And, take this from my experience, coffee tastes next to heavenly when you’re running on 3 hours of sleep.

And as the great Sun Tzu said (well, probably not), “if you’re gonna have caffeine in the morning, make it gourmet.”

Related: A Crash Course in Coffee

[divider]Check the Source[/divider]

1) Check the SourceNow, this is something everyone should at least know a little bit about, whether you’re drinking Nescafe or even Old Town you should acquire knowledge of how their coffee beans are obtained.

There are mainly two ways of picking coffee, the more common one is by machine, which, obviously, is much faster. However with great speed comes bad quality (there’s a joke in there somewhere) as the coffee beans that are picked include the good, the bad and the unripe. The other method: handpicking, which companies like Cafédirect have adopted, ensures that only the best quality beans are selected. But of course, these are picked at a much slower rate, leading to a slightly more expensive bag of coffee.

But always quality above all else, yeah?

[divider]Know Your Strengths![/divider]

Know Your StrengthsAnother thing to always keep in my mind is how much of flavour can your palate can actually take, meaning do you like strong flavours that are probably more bitter or are you more of a mild coffee drinker who likes sugar and milk in their drinks.

Cafédirect, for example, use a scale of 1-5, making it easier for customers to gauge what would be better suited for them. The Cauca Terroir Roast & Ground Coffee from Colombia, is listed at a strength level of 4, being very flavourful with hints of tropical fruity notes. However, I can understand why certain coffee drinkers may not enjoy it as it can overpower a drinker’s palate.

So be sure to know what your preferences are before deciding what you want to drink!

[divider]The French Press[/divider]

3) French PressWhat’s the point of buying expensive coffee if you don’t have the right equipment to make it without compromising its flavour?

Having been spoilt by the coffee made by the coffee experts present at the tasting, we soon found out that the secret to achieving that great taste is a French Press. Toss in the right amount of ground beans with your hot water into the French Press and keep it in for 4 minutes (which is the perfect duration for coffee, apparently) and, voila! you have your coffee!

(Editor’s Note: It’s apparently not professional to refer to the French Press as “that squeezing thingie.”)

[divider]How Hot Would You Like It?[/divider]

4) Coffee TemperatureFrench Press aside, much of a coffee’s taste also depends on the temperature of the water.

While a common misconception is to use boiling hot water, the perfect temperature is actually 92 degrees. Any much hotter than that, and even the coffee powder may get burnt, stunting the bloom of the taste and preventing the taste of the coffee from permeating to its fullest.

But beware, do not use your finger to test the temperature. 92 degrees still hurts a lot like 100 degrees.

[divider]Matches Made in Coffee Heaven[/divider]

5) PairingMuch like wine, coffee pairs well with certain foods. The coffee that we had at Cafédirect’s tasting paired especially well with both savoury and sweet dishes and. They were especially complementary with some of the Colombian dishes (which was where our sampling coffee was native to, as well) that we had with the drinks.

While this may sound like an excuse to just get some good food with our great coffee (it actually kinda is at times), the experience truly does improve exponentially, and is something that everyone should try.