For a good reason, coffee is one of the most popular beverages on the planet. It's delicious, energizing, and can be enjoyed in countless forms. But specialty coffees are a great choice if you want to upgrade your coffee experience from ordinary to extraordinary. Specialty coffees have been carefully crafted over time by passionate baristas and roasters who have perfected their techniques to deliver an unforgettable coffee-drinking experience. If you are interested in specialty coffees but need to know where to start, these tips will help get you started.
1. Invest in Quality Coffee Equipment
Good quality coffee equipment gives you more control over your coffee tastes. You can experiment with different brewing techniques and recipes until you find something that suits your taste buds perfectly. The best Jura coffee machine will give you the power to make all kinds of coffee drinks, from cappuccinos and lattes to espressos and cold brews. Investing in a reliable scale is also important, as weighing ingredients is essential for making consistent cups each time.
A digital thermometer will ensure accurate water temperatures when brewing espresso-based drinks, manual pour-overs, or French press coffees. Finally, having a kettle with variable temperature settings allows baristas to adjust water temperature depending on the type of roast they use.
2. Research the Types of Coffees Available
When it comes to enjoying specialty coffees, research is key. To get the most out of your coffee-drinking experience, you need to understand all the different types of coffees available. By researching the various types and origins of specialty coffee beans, you can find a blend or roast that suits your taste buds perfectly.
Doing thorough research into each type of bean will help you determine which one appeals to you in terms of flavor and aroma. You can also learn about brewing methods and how they affect the final cup so that you know exactly what kind of coffee experience you're getting when ordering from a cafe or roaster.
3. Buy Whole Beans
Whole bean coffee has more flavor and aroma than pre-ground coffee because it preserves the beans' essential oils, giving them their unique taste and smell. Buying the whole bean also allows you to control how coarse or fine your grind is for optimal extraction. Furthermore, buying fresh beans from a quality roaster ensures you get the freshest and tastiest cup possible.
When selecting your coffee beans, look for bags with a "roasted on" date, indicating when they were roasted and guaranteeing freshness. Be sure to check out reviews on different roasters so that you can find one that offers quality products at reasonable prices. It's also important to store your whole bean coffee correctly – in an airtight container away from heat or direct sunlight – so that it stays as fresh as possible until use.
4. Taste-Test Different Coffees
While researching different types of coffee and understanding the brewing process is important, tasting different varieties of coffee can give you a better idea of what flavor profiles you like. Most specialty coffee shops have samples or flights available so customers can try a few different beans before deciding which one they want. This is an excellent way to discover new flavors and find out what coffee you like best.
Tasting different coffees can also help you determine the ideal brewing method for your favorite beans. For example, if you taste a light roast with floral notes, it may be better brewed as a pour-over or French press than an espresso, where the crema may overwhelm those delicate flavors.
5. Experiment With Brew Ratios
Brew ratios refer to the ratio of coffee to water used when brewing. While a general rule of thumb is 1:15 – that is, one gram of ground coffee for every 15 grams of water – you can adjust this depending on your equipment and taste preferences.
For example, suppose you like a strong cup of coffee. In that case, you might want to increase the ratio to 1:10. Similarly, if you prefer a milder cup of joe, then try decreasing the ratio to 1:17 or 1:18. Experimenting with different proportions and watching how extraction time affects flavor can give you better insight into what kind of coffee you like best.
6. Talk to Your Barista or Roaster
The best way to truly understand the coffee you're drinking is to talk to the barista or roaster. They know their product inside out and can give tips on enjoying your specialty coffees. Ask them questions about the beans, brewing techniques, and flavor profiles so that you can get the most out of your coffee-drinking experience.
Ivy cafe in Mazandaran, Iran designed by Neda Mirani. Image © Deed Studio
Specialty coffees can be intimidating for some, but anyone can enjoy this unique beverage with the right knowledge and equipment. By following these tips, you'll be on your way to becoming a specialty coffee connoisseur in no time. So don't wait any longer and start exploring the wonderful world of specialty coffees today.