I recently read that Colombia has a reputation of producing mild, well balanced coffee beans. Let me tell you, that is very true! You can go anywhere in Colombia, and I mean anywhere, and you’ll get a great cup of coffee. Whether it’s a high-end restaurant or a corner shop, it’s fabulous. Truthfully I’m a coffee snob. I like strong flavour but not bitter acidity. Thus I am very particular about how my coffee is stored, ground, brewed and served to me.
Last year I went home to Colombia with my husband and during our trip we got to visit Parque Del Cafe Colombia’s National coffee park. It’s a beautiful amusement park with rides, live performances, restaurants and of course coffee. But it’s also a massive working coffee farm. It’s located in the department of Quindio (pronounced kindio) which is bordered by the Andes mountains. These mountains are massive and lush! I mean really lush!! Pictures don’t do it justice?
At the parqué we learned a lot about how coffee plants grow, how the beans are picked and the many stages they go through till they are roasted and ready to brew.
Since learning so much about the coffee plant ? I have been anxious to share these fun facts including HOW to brew your best coffee.
Each day this week I’ll be adding another fun fact, 5 in total (some facts quite surprising) and brew methods ??
So….let’s begin! ☕️
1.Globally there are 12 types of coffee beans grown. It is believed that all originate from two – Typica (Arabica falls into this type) and Bourbon (from the island of Bourbon)
BREWING – There are so many ways to brew, depending on culture. These are some of the more popular methods we’ve heard of, even if we don’t use them.
French Press: This is my second favourite method of brewing coffee. Why? It’s the best way to control the time and temperature. The French press offers unparalleled flavor due to perfect extraction time and delivery of the volatile oils that are often trapped in paper filters. A French press is also the least expensive coffee brewer available. To make coffee in a French press: boil the correct amount of water, freshly grind the coffee beans using a course setting, remove the plunger, place the coffee grounds at the bottom of the glass, add the hot water, stir by shaking, and after 4-5 minutes press the plunger down to separate the grounds from the extracted coffee. The best French presses are made by Bodum and come in sizes of 3 and 12 cups. An insulated version is also available. Note: You do not want to pour boiling water directly onto the coffee. The goal is to brew coffee at a temperature between 195-205°F. Unfortunately, French press coffee makers are not quite as convenient as a drip coffee makers due to preparation time and cleaning time. The French press also loses heat faster than some other methods, but extraction at slightly varying temperatures will promote a more dynamic and complex cup of coffee. To minimize heat loss effects, Bodum has developed an insulated coffee press. This press is highly recommended for both design and attention to coffee brewing details.
2.The Robusta coffee plant has ovaries! While the Arabica is self-pollinating, the Robusta needs help? It’s all very scientific and I’m not being cheeky! However, it most likely won’t interest you other than that fact!
BREWING METHOD 2
Automatic Drip Coffee Maker: The easiest way to brew coffee is by using an automatic drip coffee brewer. Unfortunately, few coffee machines brew at the right temperature for the correct amount of time. Thermal carafes help keep the temperature of the coffee hot for long period of times without a hot plate possibly burning the coffee.
To brew coffee in a drip brewer, place a thick paper filter in the brewing cone (basket) and thoroughly wet with water. This helps remove the paper taste from the filter. Then freshly grind the coffee using a medium grinder setting. As the water begins to boil, pour the coffee into the coffee filter. Now as the water pours over the coffee, shake the basket (removable in the Technivorm) to ensure an even extraction. Brew time and temperature are taken care of automatically. If your brewer has a hot plate under a glass carafe, remove the carafe after the coffee is fully brewed to prevent the coffee from burning.
3. Juan Valdez. He’s been around for decades and is synonymous with Colombia. Is he real? Well there are plenty of Juan Valdez’ out there but the one we know of in relation to coffee is nothing more than a character from an American advertising campaign agency dating back to the late 1950’s. He is an embraced icon of Colombia and now linked with Parqué Del Café. It’s become a massive coffee shop now like Tim Horton’s in Canada or Starbucks in the U.S.
BREWING METHOD 3
Stay away from preground beans. Your coffee will only be as good as your beans are. Grind them as you need them. Grind them according to the brew method, from coarse to fine grind. Store them in airtight container if you have extra ground. Use fresh filtered water.
This method is my second favourite method, using a coffee “sock” Grind beans to medium coarseness, use 1 tbsp per cup of water and add to “sock” boil water to 100 degrees and pour into sock. You can buy a stand to hold the sock or let it sit for 1 min and remove from coffee pot. Serve immediately.
4. The worlds largest consumer’s of coffee ironically aren’t any of the countries who grow and produce coffee beans. The leading consumer of coffee according to 2016 polls is Finland! Then Norway followed by The Netherlands and then Slovenia. I’m sensing a theme here….It’s so cold they need coffee to stay warm? I don’t know, but it sounds probable to me.
BREW METHOD 4 – COFFEE PERCOLATOR is a type of pot used for complex brewing of coffee by continually cycling the boiling or nearly boiling brew through the grounds using gravity until the required strength is reached. Percolators often expose the grounds to higher temperatures than other brewing methods, and may recirculate already brewed coffee through the beans. As a result, coffee brewed with a percolator is susceptible to over-extraction. Percolation may remove some of the volatile compounds in the beans, resulting in a pleasant aroma during brewing, but a less flavoursome cup. However, percolator enthusiasts praise the percolator’s hotter, more ‘robust’ coffee, and maintain that the potential pitfalls of this brewing method can be eliminated by careful control of the brewing process.
5. Coffee beans aren’t actually beans. They are the seed of a fruit similar to a cherry. Inside the seed is whole seed and inside it is two “beans” aptly called that because they look like beans. In laymen’s terms they are washed then dried, sifted of outer “skin” dried some more and then roasted. There’s more process to it than just that but you get the basic idea. Coffee is the second largest valuable commodity next to petroleum, but it’s the vast multitude of small coffee farmers world-wide that keep this highly valued drink going.
What about decaffeinated coffee? I read a quote answering that question”There’s an appropriate place and a time for decaffeinated coffee. Nowhere and in the garbage”
Hahahah! Well, no matter what type of coffee you enjoy, how you enjoy it or where you buy it from, be smart about what coffee you buy. It should be sustainable, it should be of good quality and it should be amazing.
Tell me about the coffee types you enjoy! How do you brew your coffee? When do you enjoy it most?
Author Ordinary Day With Milena. All Photos are property of ODWM.