So you finally broke down huh? Your friends have been badgering you to drink coffee, but you just can’t stand it. It’s a beverage that millions swear by, but you’ve never understood why. Many people depend on it to get up in the morning, but you can’t imagine it without loads of cream and sugar. This guide will turn that around for you and get you to start liking coffee in no time!
Excluding water, coffee is the most consumed beverage in the world behind tea, and there has to be a reason for all the fuss. If you want to break into the caffeination creation that is coffee, here are a few tips and tricks to help you start liking coffee from wherever you are at right now.
How to Start Liking Coffee
Before getting to the how, let’s take a look at why you should start liking coffee! Coffee is one of the best natural sources of caffeine, and is a natural stimulant. This is why it is popular to help people wake up and put an extra pep in their step. Whether you need help waking up in the morning, or to stay awake late into the night, coffee is the easiest way to prolong your ability to stay alert and focused.
Here’s a quick list of the caffeine content of popular beverages to help you compare
Beware though, too much coffee on an empty stomach can induce caffeine jitters or a stomach ache!
Why You Might Not Like the Taste of Coffee
There are 3 main reasons why you might not like the taste of coffee: the bitterness, the acidity, the flavor notes. These are the main flavor profiles of coffee, and most often those who are unaware of their preferences end up consuming coffee that is too harsh in one of these categories. Anyone of these can make the resulting coffee taste horrible if not properly navigated, and so deserve our attention and understanding.
Bitterness is the number one culprit for turning people off coffee. Over extracted and old coffee can become bitter, creating a lingering and nasty taste in the mouth. Dark roasts have bitter notes in low amounts, however, and can create a deep flavor profile when brewed right.
Acidity is most often recognized as the tang of coffee on your tongue. It’s a forward facing taste element most prevalent in lighter roasts. I recommend beginning with a low acidity coffee to see if you like it, and moving to higher acidities once you have more experience tasting coffee.
Flavor notes refer to the taste of the coffee, and are dependent on region, elevation, and processing method. Popular notes are caramel, chocolate, fruit, and vanilla. Remember that this does not mean these things are in the coffee, but that the taste of the coffee brings those elements to mind.
To bring all this together, as a beginner try to aim for a medium roast, low acidity coffee with friendly flavor notes such as chocolate, cinnamon, lemon, or vanilla. From here, experiment with changing one of these elements at a time, until you find the one best for you!
Tips for Making Coffee Taste Better
Okay, you’ve secured the right roast of coffee for you. What now? How do you turn whole beans into something you can savor and enjoy? The process of brewing coffee is just as important as the resulting taste. The steps below will help you create a balanced brew every time.
An essential, cannot-be-understated, part of making good coffee is having high quality water. The minerals in tap water are different in every city and town in the world, and they can interact with the coffee grounds and change the flavor. To avoid this, check if you have high quality tap water with a quick internet search, or simply use a water filter either on the tap or a standalone container.
Amount of Coffee Grounds
Once the water is ready, how much do you need per unit of coffee? A general rule of thumb is, “one scoop for each cup, and an extra for the pot.” For example, when I fire up my four-cup coffee maker, I use five heaping tablespoons of ground coffee. This ensures that the coffee is not over-extracted or watery, both of which ruin the drinking experience.
Coarseness of Grounds
to match brewing device. At first glance this one might seem a little more complicated. It’s actually quite simple and all about making sure the coffee grounds match the device they are being brewed in. When you buy whole beans (always recommended for best flavor and freshness!) and get them ground, and there’s choice to be made as to how fine you want them. Super fine grounds are for brewing devices with a fine mesh, like french presses. Coarser grounds mean less flavor will be extracted as water passes through, due to less surface area. Cold brew coffee often has coarse grounds because it is steeped for a longer period of time, allowing more flavor to be extracted. Here is a quick guide to figuring out what grind you need based on your brewing device.
Consider the equipment you have to brew coffee with; whether the filter is a fine mesh or not, and how quickly the water passes through. Finer ground coffee needs less exposure to water, and coarser coffee should be brewed longer.
Choosing the Right Coffee Beans
Another key step in your journey to start liking coffee is finding the flavor profile that matches your preferences. Now that you know how to grind them for your brewing device, it comes to choosing a roast, origin, and flavor that matches your palate.
Let’s start with the roast:
Light roasts have more caffeine and higher acidity. They often also have a sweeter taste and smooth mouthfeel. Given all those factors, light roasts might seem like the best option, but be careful because they are more finicky to brew correctly.
Medium roasts are the most forgiving, being the most common type of coffee. These are your go-to if you want to put lots of flavors or creamers into your cup, because they aren’t trying to “stand out” as much. Medium roasts have a lot of variety, and are a great place to start when exploring flavor notes because you don’t have to worry about acidity or bitterness as much.
Dark roasts have the most body and depth of flavor notes, due to the longer roasting time. Much like black teas, they can have a penchant for bitterness, so be careful not to overbrew.
What about Cream and Sugar?
So far we’ve discussed how to start liking coffee on its own. Coffee purists will tell you that putting any cream or sugar into a good cup of coffee is borderline sacrilegious. Ignore them. Adding a small amount of sweetener or cream can enhance the overall drinking experience, allowing the flavors to come through better. Remember that the goal here is to help you start liking coffee, not to impress the coffee hipsters of the world. Coffee drinking is a journey of flavor preference, much like beer, wine, or cheese. You wouldn’t drink a pilsner if you prefer stouts just to make the beer snobs happy, and you shouldn’t drink dark black coffee if you like it with a splash of cream or flavor.
Keep in mind that coffee is a low calorie beverage, about 5 calories a cup. This changes extremely quickly once cream and sugar are added to the mix. If your goal is to caffeinate without a high calorie total, focus on creating a cup of joe that you can enjoy with the minimal amount of additives.
Congratulations, you made it through a general guide on how to start liking coffee! I hope these tips and explanations help guide you on your journey to a delicious cup of joe. By focusing on the key points of coffee grounds coarseness, water quality, and roast, you will be able to make a good batch of coffee wherever you go.
Thanks for reading and cheers to your first cup!
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