Coffee and its flavours
Coffee is only apparently a simple drink. The truth is that it is complex, in fact, during the years and with the spreading of all sorts of blends, coffee has generated a series of coffee lovers and expertizes who have helped us to have a clearer and more defined picture about this drink. Coffee must be respected!
Coffee can give us many sensations and many are the characteristics which help to identify its taste, blend and body. Most of the times, these characteristics are the results of long researches on the organoleptic features of coffee; other times it is the product process itself that can help us to understand what we are drinking. However, you must know coffee well if you really want to appreciate its taste and blend.
The main question is: how can you describe the blend of a coffee?
Without analyzing too much the scientific aspects, let’s have a look at some features that can clarify our mind about the coffee that could suit us best.
First, we should observe our coffee and look at its cream, taking into consideration three factors: consistency, persistence and color. These give us information about the coffee body.
An espresso which has gone through a perfect extraction and working process will have a homogenous and compact cream, thick but with streaks, and will remain stable for a long time without dissolving.
But how can we recognize a blend? The answer is quite simple: from its color. A major quantity of Arabica will give coffee an intense brownie color with red reflection and a cream characterized by small bubbles on the surface. On the contrary, a Robusta coffee will have a darker brown color with less streaks.
Once completed our little visual coffee analysis, we will taste its flavour.The main characteristics to define a coffee flavor are three: if the beans have been medium roasted, we will have a milder and sweeter coffee (a higher presence of glucose) while a longer roasting time will give us a sourer coffee (the organic acids increase with a longer working process); bitter taste of coffee will be due to a greater presence of caffeine (usually Robusta contains more of it) and to sugar transformation.
Sometimes a bitter coffee may remind us of a stale flavor. This sensation is given by a too long storage which has probably caused the loss of coffee organic principles. This is not a high-quality coffee which will result to be also quite dry. Without this defect, the coffee would be undoubtedly milder and more intense.
And the aroma? When we taste coffee, if we really love this drink, we also must rely on the sensations we have when we swallow it and we should also pay attention to its smell, trying to understand as much as possible when we approach the cup to our mouth and we are wrapped by its smoke.
The most common blends are for example those which characterize some roasted coffees which have a slightly chocolate and fruity blend with the presence of cocoa and vanilla aromas. These coffee blends are typical of very high quality coffee.
The floral notes are usually pleasant if they remind us freshness, but they can also be unpleasant if they remind us the smell of Juta, the sacks which usually contains the coffee beans before being processed.
Again, these are defects due to a wrong storage of coffee and not because of a wrong working process. In fact when there is a mistake in the working process our coffee will result quite smoky and over roasted.
Other unpleasant sensations are due to a wrong harvesting which will give us a rotten and stale coffee.
At the end of this introduction about coffee blends, we have only few elements to understand coffee which are, however, fundamental to make a selection between good and bad coffees.
In future we will also learn more about tastes and aromas and we will pay more attention to the different coffee qualities because coffee, if you really love it, has to be known and respected.