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What Makes A Good Cup Of Coffee?

The camera rolls across the bed to reveal the morning light pouring into the window, as we begin to see a father, soundly sleeping on the floor next to his children. The adoring wife looks in, she knows just what to do. Start the coffee pot. As the music now explains to us, it is the aroma of coffee that begins to liven up the scene. “The best part of waking up” - We all know the rest. This song is simple, catchy and cheesy. But this song states something that, at its core, is universally acknowledged to be true: the best part of our morning routine is coffee in the cup!

There are a few things that make up coffee in a general sense, ground coffee beans and hot water, though the pleasure of coffee is more subtle and complex. So what makes a good cup of coffee? As the commercial suggests, the aroma, for one. Followed by body, acidity, and sweetness. All of these attributes come together to bring us a good, balanced cup of coffee.

Coffee Shop Savannah

The aroma is a sign that coffee has been made with hot water, for cold water extractions

lack a definite aroma in the same way hot coffee is sure to produce. The aroma can tell us a lot about what the coffee is going to taste like and can even help our taste buds do a better job, tasting. Lighter roast coffees have a tendency to produce more acidity, or floral aromas. Medium roasted coffees will tend to be sweet, nutty, or chocolatey. And darker roasted coffees will seem to have the aroma of smokey, tobacco or leathery qualities.

Brewing Coffee at a market

The body of a coffee refers to the way it feels in our mouths. How heavy it is, correlates

to how full and large the coffee seems to be in our mouths. This is one of the more tactile features of a coffee characteristic. This can also relate to how many solubles are in the coffee, that is how many particles of coffee are still left after the filtering process. There are so many ways to brew coffee that all have slightly different filtering techniques. The body of a French press brew can be different from the body of a Chemex brew even with the same exact coffee.

Coffee shop market

Acidity stays in the mouth for the longest even after a sip of coffee has been moved to

the next stage of one's digestive tract. Acidity comes for a few different reasons, one being the terroir of the coffee’s origin, meaning the soil and altitude of where a coffee plant was grown. And also acidity can be a factor of how it was roasted. Often a good coffee roaster will take these two variables into consideration. You will know the acidity of a coffee right away, these are dry, fruity sensations that cause one's mouth to salivate for a long duration.

Coffee Beans coffee shop market

Sweetness is a sensory category that is absolutely necessary to complement acidity.

With the right amounts of both acidity and sweetness, balance is achieved. Sweetness happens during the roasting process, as small sugars within the bean are reacting to amino acids being heated against the hot atmosphere of the roasting drum, this process is called Maillard Reaction, also known as the “browning phase”. These are not sweet in the same way that a pour of vanilla syrup is sweet in your coffee, this category is more to match with the acidity, as the two are linked. Sweetness will round out the sharp mouthfeel of acidity. Sweetness will calm the harshness of a dry acidic coffee.

Coffee shop market

We need all of these subtle indicators to bring us a perfectly balanced cup of coffee. I for one LOVE a coffee that archives all of these qualities in such harmony that describing each of attributes separately becomes a difficult, near impossible task.

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