Buying coffee is never easy. In Italy alone there are over 700 different brands, each with different blends.
How do I figure out which coffee to choose? How can I tell if it is suitable for me or not?
My goal with this article is to give you the tools you need to be able to evaluate coffee for yourself and select the one that best suits your taste.
Each roastery offers different blends, just like Caffè Ernani, and all variants are clearly distinguishable by sensory and organoleptic characteristics.
How to choose the right coffee?
The questions to be asked are as follows:
- By what method am I going to extract the coffee?
- What degree of bitterness, acidity and sweetness do I like?
- How much aromatic intensity would I like in my coffee?
- Do I prefer edgier or softer, sweeter notes?
Let us answer these questions together, trying to set clear reference points.
Let’s start with the assumption that a product sheet should list all the characteristics, also conveying the sensations you will feel when tasting , highlighting the following data: body, sweetness, bitterness, acidity, aromatic intensity, roastiness, origins, sensory explanation and any expert advice.
First of all in my opinion you should evaluate with what extraction method you will prepare coffee at home: whether espresso or capsules, start evaluating everything from the body you would like to achieve. If, on the other hand, you extract it with a mocha, Neapolitan or in a filter, the “body” parameter I would not evaluate, as the result is a drink with more liquid in it, and therefore you will never create the body and crema that you will find in an espresso.
So you’ll have to figure out whether you want a coffee with a thick crema and a consistent body, or a cup with a more velvety crema and a round body.
- In the first case you are going to select a coffee with a higher percentage of robusta, i.e. in the case of Ernani Coffee I would opt for a: Vivace or Stretto;
- If, on the contrary, you want a smooth coffee with a silky, glossy crema, I would opt for a 100% Arabica, thus: the Blue Diamond, a Colombia Supremo Finca la Meseta, the Kalledevarapura Estate pulped sun-dried Indian, or a Brazil Santos Cerrado Bom chocolate, an Ethiopian Sidamo, or finally the Nicaragua Organic Premium;
- If you are looking for a middle ground between the two possibilities, however, aim for an Allegro or an Armonia.
At this point there are 3 parameters to be evaluated and they should be analyzed simultaneously: acidity, bitterness and sweetness.
These are the 3 main cornerstones of any coffee, what makes a coffee balanced or not, but without being considered a flaw.
It is what structures and gives life to a cup of the magical beverage.
In the cup you will sense, from time to time, well-defined characteristics distinct from the others, so you can choose which one is most akin to your tastes.
Let’s give examples to be clearer:
- Are you looking for a coffee with more bitterness ? You will therefore have to opt for a coffee with a higher percentage of robusta, such as Stretto il Vivace;
- Are you looking for a coffee more driven on acidities ? You will opt for a 100 percent Arabica and single-origin, so a Sidamo, Kalledevarapura, Colombian, or Blue Diamond;
- Are you looking for something softer and sweeter ? You will select a Brazilian Harmony or Santos;
- And finally if you would like to feel both acidity, sweetness and a gentle bitterness , then there is no doubt, your coffee is Allegro.
Now that we have already made an initial basic selection and are thus channeled into one of the four main groups of coffees, how do you manage to select the perfect one, among the different variations?
Let us now go on to analyze group by group.
If your choice fell on a coffee with more bitterness you would have to choose between Vivace or Stretto. This choice is very simple:
- Do you want a very intense, full-bodied coffee with more bitterness, bitter cocoa notes, and a higher caffeine boost suitable for the morning? No doubt, it buys the Straits;
- Do you want a coffee always with more bitterness and a good dose of caffeine, but at the same time still with some light fresh citrus notes? Then opt for the Vivace;
If your choice falls instead on the second group, that is, pleasantly acidic and intensely aromatic coffees, the choice is wider, but still simple:
- Would you like an edgier coffee, more driven on acidity, with intense aromas of citrus and tea leaves? Well, we have the Ethiopian Sidamo , a washed highland coffee, and personsally is one of my favorites;
- Instead, a softer, more delicate coffee, with an infinite range of aromas, showing you new scents time after time? It is India’s Kalledevarapura;
- A coffee on the other hand, still pleasantly acidic, but with more hints of chocolate and fruit, making it sweeter? It is the Colombia Supreme;
- What if finally you don’t know how to choose and would like to hear a little of all the features listed above? We also have the right coffee in this case, namely the Blue Diamond , a 100% Arabica blend that encompasses all the single-origins described above and more;
We have now come to the third group, the sweeter coffees, perfect for everyone, but even more so for those who would like to start drinking coffee without sugar.
Between the two, the choice is as follows:
- the Brazilian Santos is a natural single-origin, thus sweet and with reduced acidity compared to other Arabica coffees, with intense chocolate notes. It thus results in a mild and smooth coffee;
- the Harmony on the other hand, is a blend, with only one Arabica, Brazilian Santos, and only one robusta, namely Tanzania, at its core. The difference from the single-origin immediately above is precisely the presence of robusta, which gives the cup more body and a slight note of bitterness:
And finally we find only the Allegro , a coffee that can cover all the characteristics, thus being balanced and unbalanced at the same time. A fresh coffee, thanks to citrus; sweet, thanks to notes of hazelnut and milk chocolate; and bitter, thanks to cocoa notes given by the small percentage of robusta. During the tasting different characteristics stand out from time to time, but that overall you taste a coffee that is balanced in the aftertaste and very pleasant on the palate.
So first rule out coffees with characteristics that are unrelated to your tastes and divide them into groups: more arabica or more robusta. On the product sheets, find out whether a coffee tends toward sour, bitter, sweet, or balanced.
After this initial skimming simply select the one from the group with the aromatic notes you would prefer to experience once extracted.
If you still have any doubts, however, let us guide you . . Answer 3 simple questions and you will immediately get the result regarding the best coffee for you!
However, I would like to emphasize just one thing: all this information works when a coffee is medium roast, which enhances the aromatic and organoleptic characteristics of carefully selected raw coffee.
If you are talking about a dark or very dark roast coffee this argument can no longer be made, as the hint of bitterness and often even burnt would cover all the other natural aromas. Any coffee would simply turn out bitter and thus be indistinguishable from others.
If you still have any doubts, I am available for a free consultation. Contact me at email@example.com !