Every night, I set my coffee pot to start brewing early the next morning — 5:47 to be exact — it gives me enough time to hit the snooze button once (okay twice) and still have the coffee brewed and ready for me to drink.
When I finally get out of bed, I shuffle to the coffee pot, pour my cup, and then I can do other important things like pee, remove my mouthguard, and feed Blanche. Coffee comes first. Always.
But I got to thinking, that sure, I know a little about coffee — enough to buy a good bag and make a decent pot of it. I know what I like to order at Starbucks. I know what to drink when I really need to get my blood pumping. But certainly theres tons to know about the good stuff. And so, I present: my guide to coffee.
Light — According to Red Rooster Coffee, there’s been a rumor since the 70s that says there’s a caffeine difference when it comes to the roast. Not true! All roasts have the same amount of caffeine (thank God). The difference is lightly roasted beans are smaller, because the roasting process hasn’t expanded them as much. There’s also the taste. Light roasts are milder in taste than medium or dark roasts; think about light beer vs. dark beer.
Medium — The National Coffee Association (NCA) states that, “Medium brown in color with a stronger flavor, and a non-oily surface. This roast is often referred to as the American roast because it is generally preferred in the United States.”
Dark — The longer the coffee bean is roasted, the more flavor it develops. However, Zagat says, “When you approach the darker side of the roast, beans start to lose their origin distinction. A dark roast coffee will have flavor notes that rely more on the roasting itself than the unique character of the bean. It will also lose brightness, and gain bitterness, along with a fuller body.”
Breakfast Blend — This is usually a lighter mix of coffee. Here’s what Starbucks says about their Breakfast Blend, “A shade lighter than most of our offerings—more toasty than roasty—it was the result of playing with roast and taste profile together for a flavor that appealed to a wider range of palates. Perfect if you want to wake up to a less intense coffee but still want a lot of character, it’s lively with a citrusy tang that gives way to a clean finish.”
Espresso — This is the intense experience of coffee that most Europeans prefer and believe Americans are too scared to try. Proper Espresso is served in small demitasse-style cups and consumed promptly after extraction (GoCoffeeGo.com).
Macchiato — This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy the nectar of the Gods. I order it so often, my Starbucks barista has educated me on it: Macchiato, pronounced “mah-key-ah-toh,” literally means “marked” or “stained” in Italian. Traditionally, a Caffé Macchiato or Espresso Macchiato is a shot or two of espresso, with just a small amount of steamed milk that “marks” the espresso, though in some regions, the steamed milk comes first and the espresso makes the mark.
Cafe Latte — A coffee-based drink made primarily from espresso and steamed milk. It consists of one-third espresso, two-thirds heated milk and about 1cm of foam.
Mocha Latte — Like a caffè latte, it is based on espresso and hot milk, but with added chocolate, typically in the form of sweet cocoa powder, although many varieties use chocolate syrup. Mochas can contain dark or milk chocolate.
How do I usually drink my coffee? Every night, I set my coffee pot to brew around 8 cups the next morning. Right now, I’m drinking a red velvet blend, so it’s got hints of chocolate in it. I usually go for medium roasts. I drink my coffee black, but if I’m feeling fancy, I’ll toss in a tablespoon of unsweetened vanilla coconut milk (Trader Joes’ is the best). How do you take yours?