Coffee is complicated.
And while the elements may be simple—beans, water, and temperature—the process is not. From harvesting to roasting to serving, each step is accompanied by critical decisions that affect the flavor and consistency of your coffee.
As much as we might consider coffee to be a ready-made beverage, a handmade cup of coffee is more akin to a cocktail than a soda.
It begins with the beans.
Quality coffee beans require an incredibly particular climate that allows the plants to ripen at precisely the right time.
Once the beans are in the bag, it’s up to the roaster to decide how hot and how long their beans will be prepped for brewing.
Roasting beans requires intense amounts of testing, tasting, and experimentation. Heating the roast for too long will result in dark, burnt beans, while a premature batch will lack the enhanced natural flavors of better coffee. Roasters often use computer-assisted equipment to ensure consistency as they experiment.
Before the pour.
After roasting, how the coffee is prepared most greatly affects the outcome of your morning cup ‘o joe. Grinding, water chemistry, temperature control, and time determine the type and quantity of flavors extracted from the beans.
The method matters.
There are a lot of ways to brew coffee.
Pour over, French press, espresso, siphon coffee—the methods are numerous. Each has its own variable brew time and grind preference, requiring baristas to constantly test and perfect their ability to brew excellent coffee.
It’s all deceptively simple.
There’s always more to know. We found this excellent article about the chemistry and physics of coffee very interesting.