[dropcap letter="C"]offee is simply magic in a cup. The right brew can completely turn your morning around and pump you up for the day. As popular as coffee is, however, a lot of people still don’t know a lot about it.
Habitual Coffee and #YKW Roasters came together last November 20 for an afternoon of educational activities about the well-loved beverage. The highlight of the event was the screening for “A Film About Coffee,” followed by an after party in EDSA Beverage Design Studio. The film gave viewers a deeper understanding of what goes on behind specialty coffee.
Armed with this and a bit of research, here are 8 things you should know about your cup of joe.
Coffee originated from Ethiopia in the 13th century. It spread across to Europe and was brought to Martinique in South America through one seedling. That seedling then became the source of coffee trees not only in the area, but also throughout the Caribbean, South America and Central America.
Here’s the process:
- Growing of coffee tree (either Arabica or Robusta)
- Five years after initial planting, it’s time to harvest!
- Processing takes place through dry processing or wet processing to get the seeds aka the beans out from the berry
- Roasting (light roast or dark roast)
- Packaging and shipping
- Grinding either by hand or machine
- Brewing (which can come in different methods like open pot, espresso, drip pot, percolator and plunger)
- It’s ready to drink!
As a coffee drinker, it’s important to know where your coffee comes from.
When it comes to the people making our cups of joe, we only usually think of our friendly neighborhood baristas. But, as mentioned in number 7, there are a lot more people behind it. Here we’ll focus on the ones behind the growing and harvesting: the coffee farmers.
Direct and fair trade is best because the roaster fosters a personal relationship with the farmer. Not only does direct trade help in the farmer’s needs, but it also ensures the premium quality of coffee. It may be priced higher--but this is the price we should pay for good, honest (and delicious!) coffee.
Coffee varies in taste, and cupping is a way to grade them. It’s a means of evaluating the aroma and flavor profile of coffee, and comparing them with one other. Cupping allows participants to appreciate coffee in its most basic form.
Light roast beans have the highest acidity and brightness. Dark roast, on the other hand, has less acidity--the flavor of the beans actually depends on the roasting process (despite losing its brightness, dark roast gains bitterness and a fuller body).
But which is stronger? A lot of people think that because dark roast coffee is darker and has bolder flavor, it must be stronger. But in reality, dark roast actually is less stronger because some of the caffeine is lost during the roasting process.
Two of the most popular methods are the drip coffee and the espresso. Some say they’re the same thing, but fineness of the grind and brewing time are what distinguishes them from the other.
Espresso beans are ground very finely. A shot of espresso is made with an espresso machine and is done when the force of almost boiling water passes through the coffee. The more finely the coffee is ground, the slower the espresso comes out. The process can take as little as 25 seconds.
Drip coffee uses more coarsely ground coffee and involves dripping boiling water over it. The water filters through the coffee and falls into a pot. It’s a longer process and the hot water stays in contact with the ground coffee for much longer.
For caffeine content, it may vary. When compared shot by shot, espresso has more caffeine content. But, when compared to beverage portion, drip coffee has more caffeine simply because it is usually served in bigger portions than espresso.
There’s a line in “A Film About Coffee” that goes: “Anything you buy is a statement.”
As mentioned above, fair trade is important. Specialty coffee often uses this process to ensure that their coffee is of top quality. Specialty coffee also shows transparency in both production and flavor. When you learn about the coffee, you learn about where it comes from and the people behind it. Some say that with specialty coffee, it’s not just a cup of coffee--it’s an adventure!
It goes without saying, support your fellow Filipinos and buy local.
Support the coffee farmers of the Philippines! Let’s take the coffee farmers in Benguet, for instance. These people do all the work themselves – from managing the land, taking care of the trees to harvesting the cherries. When you support specialty coffee, you’re supporting them as well.
Have you tried specialty coffee yet? What do you think of them? Share your thoughts in the Comments Section below!