Frequently Asked Questions about Coffee

Serious coffee drinkers will tell you that an excellent cup of coffee is worth it. That's why it's also worth learning about coffee and understanding the difference between an average cup of joe and one you are happy to spend your hard earned cash on.

If you want to find out more about coffee, you've come to the right place. We have all the answers to your most frequently asked coffee queries!

What is the difference between Arabica and Robusta?

There are dozens of different varieties of coffee beans, but the two main ones you need to know are Arabica and Robusta. They are the two main species of coffee cultivated for drinking.  

Taste

While both tastes like coffee, they do have several distinguishing characteristics.

Arabica is typically sweeter and described as having a softer taste with tones of fruit, berries, chocolate, and nuts.

The more refined flavors may come down to the fact that Arabica plants grow slower, in higher elevations, where the climate is harsher. On the other hand, people describe Robusta as having a sharper, more "rubbery" or "earthy" taste.

Physical Traits

They also differ in shape –Arabica coffee beans are a bit larger and have a more elliptical shape, compared to the smaller, rounder Robusta beans. The Robusta beans also tend to be darker in color, compared to the lighter brown Arabica beans.

Caffeine Content

Robusta beans may be smaller, but they contain nearly twice as much caffeine at 2.7%, compared to Arabica at 1.5%.

Uses

Robusta is by no means the lesser of the two species and used for some of the world's most prized coffee. It is often used to make Italian espresso, thanks to the thick crema and deep flavor produced. Its lower price – thanks to its longer harvest season and the fact that it is less fragile – also means that manufacturers use it in nearly all instant coffee. Arabica is the predominant species utilized in the United States, in part thanks to national coffee companies and the gourmet coffee movement.

Why are there different grinds for coffee?

Different grids exist because various brewing methods exist. For the best results, you need the right kind of grind, depending on which method you are using:


  • Extra Course Grind: Ideal for cold brewing.
  • Coarse Grind: Best for cupping and French press pot
  • Medium-Course Grind: For specialty devices such as Chemex Brewers and Café Solo
  • Medium Grind: Use for drip pots
  • Medium-Fine Grind: Perfect for Vacuum Pots, Siphon Brewers, And Pour over Cones
  • Fine Grind: Best for making Espresso
  • Extra Fine Grind: Ideal for Turkish Coffee

What is the best way to store coffee?

If not stored properly, coffee can quickly lose its freshness and quality in taste. Store it in a cool, dry place and keep it in an air-tight, opaque container. You should never keep it in the freezer; coffee can end up absorbing other food flavors. Instead, keep it at room temperature and try to protect it against the staling effects of moisture, heat, and light.

How much caffeine is in decaf?

Many people wrongly believe that decaf coffee doesn't contain any caffeine. To be given the decaf label in the U.S., federal regulations require for that coffee to have had its caffeine level reduced by at least 97.5%.

What is the best temperature to brew coffee?

Ideally, your brewer should keep your water temperature between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. This level will allow for optimal extraction. If you let the water get colder than that, you will end up with under-extracted, flat coffee, and nobody wants that! On the other hand, if you have it too hot, then you end up losing quality in the taste with acidity increasing.

Why is coffee bitter?

When people say they don't drink coffee, they often blame a dislike for the bitter taste. While coffee should have some bitter elements to it, it should not be an overwhelming component. A high-quality cup will balance the bitter elements out with other aspects. If your coffee is too bitter, it's most likely down to preparation. Leaving your coffee sitting on a warming element for too long will result in a more bitter taste.

Where did the term "cup of joe" come from?

There are plenty of nicknames out there for coffee, but “cup of Joe” certainly stands out from the rest. While there are a few theories out there as to the origin, here’s our two favorites:

In the Navy:

The U.S. Navy prohibited alcohol onboard naval vessels in 1914, and they had Secretary of the Navy Josephus "Joe" Daniels to thank. Disgruntled sailors were said to have nicknamed coffee a “cup of Joe” out of spite.


Common Man’s Drink of Choice:

This theory takes the name “Joe”, slang for “the common man” and applies it to coffee, so you end up with “the common man’s drink”.


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