Now after having just finished reading about the history of coffee by Mark Pendergrast, "Uncommon Grounds" my appettite for more knowledge about the coffee we enjoy on a daily basis. This lead me to reading "Home Coffee Roasting" written by Kenneth Davids, who also operates coffeereview.com. (You know the scores in the pictures!) The book is really good tomb of information and not only provides a breadth of information for the budding coffee roaster, but also gives a nice overview of coffee history and allows one I believe to better pick out a good coffee.
While I am not done reading this book one bit of information that I wanted to share was the bit about coffee blends their components and what blends should be used for what. To be honest my knowledge prior to reading these few pages was very minimal, like I didn't even know that a Mocha-Java was comprised of one third Yemeni Mocha and two thirds Java. So the Mocha is the fruit of the blend providing the acids while the Java mellows the Mocha making a more enjoyable cup of coffee.
The way Kenneth Davids breaks down blending is quite easy as he groups most coffees into five different categories, Big Classics, Softer Classics, Highlight and Exotic Coffees, Base-notes, and Robustas. As you can see this makes it pretty easy to understand just be reading the names of the categories how they might tastes.
Category 1:Big Classics. Davids says these are the coffees are the ones the provide strong flavors to a coffee, and probably should not be used as a base for a blend. These are the high grown Guatemalan coffees like Antigua, Coban, Columbian coffees and high grown Costa Rican coffees.
Category 2: Softer Classics: He descirbes these coffees as being good blenders as they can create a good base for a coffee without competing with other blends and get sweet/chocolaty as they are roasted darkers making them good for espresso. Think Brazilian Santos, Panama, El Savador, India etc.
Category 3: Highlight and Exotic Coffees: These are coffees that are powerful and winelike, and shouldn't be used for a base. These are your Mocha's of the world, like Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Kenya, Uganda etc.
Category 4: Base Note Coffees: These can anchor the coffees of 2 and balance without overwhelming the coffees on 1 and 2. This is the Sumatra's and monsooned Indian coffees.
Category 5: Robustas. These should mainly just be used in a small amount in espresso blends. You want just washed robustas.
Now know this is really good in that you know if you drink your coffee without milk or sugar that you might like blends of primarily 2 and 4. Thus they won't have those big acids in it that a person might not enjoy. Of course until you try a coffee you will never know what percentage of each they use, but I think it gives a rough guide post in deciding on a blend to try.
One interesting tid bit that was divulged was how a professional roaster comes up with a blend. They roast and cup the coffee they are going to use for the blend, then allow them to cool to room temp. After that they take a spoon full of each different coffee until they come up with the taste they desire. It's such a simple and elegant way to come up with a blend and much more well thought out then the random guessing that I thought was used in coming up with a blend.
Now excuse me while I study the contents of the latest blend I am enjoying, Big Truck Espresso and the Velton's Bonsi that I have on order!
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