More than a caffeine jolt, coffee is a $30 billion-a-year national industry, a foodie fixation, an affordable luxury, a boost of disease-fighting antioxidants, a versatile ingredient, an intoxicating aroma and a beverage that brings people together. / Todd Plitt, USA TODAY
The origin, variety and blend of raw beans work in harmony to influence flavor. Roasting coaxes out more flavors and aromas locked inside the green beans, from chocolate undertones to a biting finish. Roasting coffee, like baking souffle, requires adjusting temperatures for rain, soaring heat and other blips in the weather.
“Good wines begin with the grape, and good coffee with the beans for coffee. Roasting is coffee’s version of aging grapes into wine,” said Hudalla, owner of What’s Your Grind, a Marana, Ariz.-based, family-run roaster that sells coffee online and at Phoenix-area farmers markets. “It’s also like baking — very scientific. Everything matters.”
So does matching the grind to the coffeemaker and brewing correctly, whether using a drip, French press or cold-brewed, she said.
Coffee — from roasting to brewing — can be unforgiving. A few missteps can lead to coffee tasking like mud or a lingering acid aftertaste.
“A good cup of coffee is all about the right technique and balance,” said Hudalla, a former optometrist turned coffee roaster four years ago.
Today’s coffee drinkers are more literate than ever before. They know where their beans were grown, what style roasts they prefer and and how to pair different flavors of coffee with foods.
As with wine, everyone’s taste in coffee is different, and the best way to find the strength and flavor you prefer is by learning more.
For those eager to up their coffee IQ, Hudalla offers the following tutorials.
Storing, brewing tips for coffee
Brewing coffee is the process of flavoring water with roasted, ground coffee beans. The most common method is brewing with a manual drip pot. Follow these steps to brew a great-tasting cup:
— Freshness counts. Beans lose flavor quickly, so optimally they should be used within a month of roasting. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark cupboard.