What do you think makes a good coffee? That’s a question not many people can answer because there are so many different types of coffee and because most have never had coffee that’s actually good.
Beginning with the basics, there are two major varieties of coffee beans: robusta and arabica. Arabica is the more expensive of the two due to the stringent requirements of cultivating it, and they only mature after about seven years. Arabica has a smoother taste while being more acidic and with a much richer flavour. Gourmet coffees are almost always high-quality mild varieties of arabica.
As its name implies, robusta is more robust than other varieties in that it is less susceptible to disease and has a greater yield, hence why it is cheaper to produce than arabica. Plus, robusta also has close to twice the amount of caffeine than arabica, but less natural sugar, and is also less acidic. Robusta is also much more bitter than arabica, but its taste can also be described as full-bodied and earthy, and a good Italian coffee blend usually incorporates about 10–15% of good quality robusta for the “strength” and “finish”
Coffee beans ought to be as fresh as possible, optimally used within days of having been roasted. This is because the coffee oils from the beans will turn rancid within days, especially when exposed to oxygen and bright lights. The best options for packaging are vacuum-sealed bags. Also, don’t ever put the coffee beans in a fridge, because coffee beans are porous and can absorb moisture as well as food odours—you could experiment with that last part though; durian coffee, anyone?
Coffee starts to lose their quality as soon as they are being ground up, so it’s best to get a good grinder to grind your own beans. There’s no need to get the expensive hand-operated burr mills so long as your coffee grinder can get the grounds to be as fine as possible.
Good water is, of course, essential for good coffee. Thus, normal tap water with its chlorine content would definitely spoil the taste of good coffee grounds. The best water to use is mineral water because the minerals are essential for enhancing the taste.
Certain paper filters could filter out more than just the coffee grounds; they could also add unwanted flavours, such as getting a taste of paper when you use unbleached filters, while filters bleached with chlorine are not very friendly for the environment. The best are gold-plated filters as those can be reused indefinitely, especially since they do not cause any oxidation when coming into contact with coffee, and they do not absorb the coffee oil, thus allowing the maximum flavour of the brewed coffee to pass through.
You can’t make coffee with water that’s too hot for too long! At most, the water used for brewing coffee should be slightly below boiling point at 93 degrees celsius, and only for 45 seconds maximum. Beyond that, and the coffee will start to become more bitter due to the reaction with the chemicals in the beans. Cold brew coffee is a different topic altogether.
There are many factors going into making a good cup of coffee regardless of how you prefer them. Here at ANT Cafe, we use high-quality coffee beans imported fresh from Italy. Try one cup today to see the difference!