Coffee Questions and Answers
update: march 2017
Q: What is Specialty Coffee?
A: The term was first used by Erna Knutsen in a 1974 issue of Tea & Coffee Trade Journal to describe beans of outstanding flavor produced in special microclimates. Altitudes, soil variations, climate and growing methods are some of the factors to consider in determining whether a coffee is specialty or not. What matters is the care taken in every step the coffee travels from the bean to the cup. Specialty Coffee is a small percentage of the total coffee available in the world market.
Q: What is Pressure Brewed Coffee?
A: Pressure brewing forces hot water through the grounds to extract flavor and aroma in less than 30 seconds, leaving behind all bitter chemicals that are normally extracted during longer brewing methods. To create the perfect crema, the actual pressure should be between 9-11 ATM (or bar) when the hot water passed through the coffee. Good pumps have at least 15 ATM pressure capacity to assure longer pump life and to accommodate various coffee grinds. The grind’s fineness creates the resistance to the water under pressure. The result is a smoother, richer taste with no over extraction.
Espresso makers, super automatic coffee centers and stovetop makers are examples. The Bodum Mocca brew is a new addition.
Q: What Determines A Good Cup of Coffee?
A: Good quality beans and good quality water are the most important elements of a good cup. The other elements are the water to coffee ratio, proper grind selection, proper brewing equipment, a method of brewing and filtering medium.
Q: Does Grinding Before Brewing Ensure Freshness?
A: Just because you grind before brewing does not mean your coffee will taste fresh but it does help. The key to fresh taste is “fresh roasted” beans. The farther away from the roast date, the less fresh your coffee will taste even if you grind just before brewing.
Q: What Grind Should I Use?
A: For a French Press or percolator use a course to extra course grind. For espresso steam/boiler makers, use a medium to course grind. Drip coffeemakers work best with medium grinds whereas fine and extra fine grinds are best suited for high-pressure semi-automatic pump espresso makers. Extremely fine grinds are required for Turkish coffee. Never grind in advance as coffee loses flavor and aroma within one hour.
Q: What Are The Differences in Grinders?
A: Blade grinders grind coffee with a rotating stainless steel blade and are designed for use with home electric and manual drip coffee makers.
Burr grinders have 10-20 grind settings to control the fineness of the grind better than blade grinders. There are two kinds of burr grinders: Disk type burr grinders with high rpms do an adequate job for most consumers but are not suitable for Turkish coffee. Conical steel burr grinders have a slow grinding action that preserves maximum aroma. These grinders have multiple gears that slow the grinding action and feature conical steel burrs that produce the highest grind consistency. Some can grind for Turkish coffee.