A drink loved worldwide
Coffee fuels many people all over the globe. Whether it's the corners of Nepal or the fancy cafes in Paris, it's a drink that's consumed almost everywhere. First discovered in the 10th century, it's believed to have originated in Ethiopia. By the 17th century, the beloved coffee beans had made their way to China and other South Asian countries.
But if you're not a coffee drinker, why should you consider picking it up? And what’s the best coffee for beginners to start with? There are many reasons to love coffee, here are just a few:
- Health benefits: Coffee is packed with antioxidants and vitamins, which promote a healthy heart and reduce the risk of developing diabetes and many other illnesses. It also helps improve metabolism and burn fat.
- A routine for many: Coffee can be a great way to start the day as it makes you feel more energetic and productive. For those busy mornings or cold Monday workdays, coffee can help keep you motivated.
- For social purposes: Whether it's a business meeting or a date, coffee pretty much goes well with every social situation. Dating back centuries, coffee shops were, and still are, an important place for people to gather.
Much like wine and tea, coffee is a complex drink. Every cup tastes different based on the beans' origins, their roast levels, and brewing methods. So how are you supposed to know where to even start as a beginning coffee drinker?
Key traits of coffee
To appreciate and understand a cup of coffee, most coffee connoisseurs swear by four common traits:
- Aroma: The delicious smell of coffee is enough to drive anyone to a cafe or brew some at home. As the aroma engulfs you, you can smell the fruity, nutty, and smoky notes. This can be hard to detect for a beginner, and the best bet is to start with one that smells great to you.
- Acidity: This is commonly associated with coffee beans grown at higher elevations and hence associated with higher quality, acidity is that "sourness" you taste. This taste can also vary; for example, citric acid is found in Arabica coffee and Malic acid in fruit-flavored coffee.
- Body: Also known as the "mouthfeel," the body is referred to as the texture of the coffee. Coffee can be described as being "heavy-bodied" when it's rich or intense or "light-bodied" when it's thinner and less viscous.
- Flavor: The dominant or underlying flavors in a cup play a vital role. Sweet or bitter, earthy or chocolatey, there are many options available to cater to individual tastes.
Coffee bean types
Coffee is made from coffee cherries which are harvested when ripe. The beans are then fermented, dried, milled, and roasted. While there are 25 major types of coffee, only three of them are consumed and sold commercially.
- Arabian-coffeea Arabica (60-70% consumption worldwide)- Grown all over the world at higher elevations areas, these beans are handpicked and considered to be of higher quality. Usually grown in areas such as Indonesia, Yemen, and Ethiopia, Arabica coffee is known for its rich taste and low acidity.
- Robusta: Coffea canephora (20-30% consumption worldwide)- Also known as Robusta, it has almost double the caffeine, bitterness, and lower acidity of its Arabian counterparts. However, it's much easier to grow at lower elevations and has a higher crop yield. Because of its high supply and cheaper cost, it's often used to make instant coffee or filler for lower-grade coffee blends.
- Libercia: Coffea arnoldiana De Wild (3% consumption worldwide): Cultivated in the Philippines, the Liberica variety has declined in supply due to the rising popularity of other coffee beans. With an extremely dense "woody" flavor, it makes for a full-bodied cup with a nutty aroma.
The global coffee chain is flourishing, and the growing popularity of coffee has led to some unethical practices. Coffee production also impacts the lives of many workers and farmers, biodiversity, and even the animals around.
This is why it’s so important for coffee consumers to go for sustainable and certified coffee. Sustainable coffee production means that everyone involved in the production, especially the farmers, is paid fairly. This ensures that the working conditions in the coffee-producing countries are improved.
To start with, you can go for a product that carries an organic and "fair trade" label. This label is dedicated to ensuring ideal working conditions for many disadvantaged farmers and families in Asia, Africa, and other coffee-producing countries. Also, fair trade prohibits illegal child labor and discrimination.
The Downtown Blend is a great option to consider as the first step into the world of coffee. With amazing flavors, you can also rest assured it's sustainable and fair trade certified. With earthy notes, this medium roast has hints of cocoa and cedar.
Another one to start off with is the Peru Las Damas which has notes of fruit and caramel. It’s especially recommended for those who aren’t accustomed to the taste of black coffee. The coffee is also farmed, processed, and operated exclusively by women from the COOPAFSI and is the fruit of their physical labor and passion.
If the coffee tastes too bitter, we recommend starting off with some form of cream (half-and-half, oat milk, almond milk, etc…) or sugar and adding to taste.
- Tags: Coffee Knowledge