Everything you know about about coffee might be wrong.
Coffee Myths Quiz
Coffee Should Taste Bitter
For decades, brand name coffee shops have peddled mid-grade coffee to the masses. There are many defects in mid/commercial grade coffee including mold, mildew, insect damage, and more. These defects translate to bitterness in your cup of coffee. Coffee is the seed of a fruit. It is meant to be naturally sweet. Bitterness is introduced through defects in the seeds/beans and the roasting processes.
Quality, specialty-grade coffee is naturally sweet and boasts complex flavors that cannot be found in mid or commercial grade coffees. Coffee is not meant to be bitter. We believe it doesn't have to be, and we've proven it in our roasting process.
Darker Is Stronger
In our humble opinion, dark-roasted coffee is burnt coffee. The darker the roast, the more ash and charcoal flavors that are introduced to the cup. Dark roasts also have a lingering bitter aftertaste. The look of a dark roast and the bitter stoutness cause many to believe it creates a stronger cup of coffee.
In fact, this is the opposite. A lighter roast retains more caffeine than a darker roast. Dark roasts will provide a strong bitter flavor, but they lack the punch most people associate with a burnt bean. To be clear, a light roast is actually the stronger roast.
"Signature" Coffee Means Quality
Many roasters and coffee shops use the word 'signature' with their coffee to make you believe it's high quality. To define quality, the word they should be using is 'specialty'. Specialty coffee is an official grade by the USDA of 80 points or above. It is namely free from most defects and allows the coffee lover to enjoy the most complex flavors in the cup without defect. Since it is an official designation of the FDA, roasters and coffee shops are not permitted to label their coffee as specialty unless it meets the standard.
Coffee marketers have used substituted the word 'signature' for the word 'specialty'. When you see Signature Coffee on a label or in a shop you should identify immediately that the coffee in question is most likely mid or commercial grade coffee.
This level of trickery conditions the masses to believe that bitter coffee equals quality coffee. Don't be fooled by this marketing ploy!
Coffee Needs Additives
You've heard the quip, "Would you like a little coffee with your creamer?" Any chain coffee shop will stock more additives at any time than they do actual coffee because people don't like plain coffee.
Many believe you must be the most jaded of humanity or super-old school to drink plain coffee. You might look at a plain cup of coffee and think of bitterness and tastelessness. You would be correct about 90% of coffee on the market today.
Mid or commercial grade coffee tastes bitter. It has for decades. We've come to believe that this is normal and we've adapted by adding dairy, sugars, and syrups to cover up the bitter taste.
Specialty coffee, on the other hand, when brewed correctly, provides a wonderful taste journey without any additives. Some origins taste a lot like coffee's cousin, tea.
Roasting Is Roasting
All roasting processes are not created equal. There are two heat components of roasting coffee beans, convection and conduction.
The majority of coffee beans are roasted by mostly conduction on drum roasters. The drum roaster is heated from the bottom of a steel drum and a paddle agitates the beans during the roast. Conduction can intruduce scorching as well as transfer ashy and charcoal flavors from the drum itself over time. It is very difficult to roast a bean consistently with conduction.
Some drum roasters also pipe in hot air for partial convection which solves some of the bitterness and consistency issues introduced in drum roasting.
We use a fluid bed roaster which is 90% convection and 10% conduction. Hot air is the main component of our roasting chamber. Since scorching is reduced to a minimum and we do not introduce a flame to our steel vessel, no ashy or charcoal flavors are transferred to the beans. All of the chaff/skin of the beans are removed by the heated air as well. This leaves a consistent roast free from bitterness.