September 28, 2020 3:45:56 PM
The world of coffee can be a confusing one. Even though it’s one of the most popular beverages on the planet, there’s a lot of different terms, tools and roasts for the average drinker to get to grips with.
There are also a lot of things you can say and do that reveal your lack of knowledge when it comes to the subject. Coffee can be as exhaustive as wine and, like a sommelier, a true aficionado can smell a bluffer a mile off.
Don’t believe us? We asked Abigail Leslie, coffee expert at Nestlé Nespresso UK and Ireland, to share some common coffee mistakes you’re probably making, for International Coffee Day. Read them ahead of your next trip to your local artisan coffee spot…
1. You say coffee is one and the same: “There are actually two varieties of coffee cultivated for our drinking pleasure – ‘Arabica’ and ‘Canephora’ (otherwise known as ‘Robusta’).
“In Arabica, you find smoother and more aromatic notes, while Robusta has a stronger or harsher taste. Robusta also has a higher caffeine content, which is a natural insecticide, making it better equipped to withstand the insects and stresses present in low altitudes when being grown.”
2. You think an ‘intense’ coffee contains more caffeine: “Usually, a coffee’s intensity scale is related to the intensity of the roast and not the caffeine levels.
“Although an espresso or ristretto tastes ‘stronger’ to us, there is actually more caffeine in a longer extraction [brew] than a shorter one.”
3. You don’t know coffee beans come from a fruit: “Coffee beans are the seed of a fruit called the coffee cherry. On average, a coffee tree produces between 2kg and 5kg of cherries a year.”
4. You don’t check the freshness of your coffee and often use old beans: “Most people don’t realise that ground beans should be used quickly. These have a larger surface area and will lose their freshness. If you can smell the coffee through the packaging, it’s a bad sign, as volatile flavour molecules are being released.”
5. You use far too many coffee grounds when brewing coffee: “You may think you love your coffee, but using too many grounds in a french press will actually affect the overall taste and quality of the cup, beyond personal preference. The best ratio to aim for is around 1:15. In fact, adding more water is how the Americano came to be.”
6. You pour your boiling hot kettle water on your coffee: “The ideal brewing temperature for coffee is actually just below boiling point. Let your kettle settle for a moment, after boiling, for a tastier cup.”
7. You focus on the quality of the bean, but neglect your equipment: “Any coffee lover knows that using a dirty machine or accessories, or using poor quality water, can result in a poor cup – no matter the quality of your coffee!”
8. You think coffee originated in South America: “South and central America are famous for their coffee production, but coffee was [depending on your source – there is much controversy] first discovered in Ethiopia in the 8th century, and moved across the globe from there.”
9. You think coffee is usually grown in Italy: “As popular as coffee is in Italy, the Italians actually import their coffee beans. This is because coffee is best grown in the equatorial belt.”