TYPES OF COFFEES AND COFFEE STRENGTH
Before we start, we should let you know that coffee beans are not graded in relation to their strength. They are graded according to their roast levels, caffeine content, and flavors they produce.
So to get the best coffee flavors from your beans, you need to understand the coffee types and understand the terms used in describing the coffee. This post explains coffee strength and the basics you need to know before choosing coffee.
Most customers ask for strong coffee without really understanding how to get it. You wouldn't see any coffee bag described as ‘strong coffee’. If you want coffee that is so strong and one that hits you with a hammer, then you are going to have to look for coffee with a different caffeine content instead.
Let's try to explain this a lot better, we know that some of these terms may be confusing to coffee drinkers. In a technical sense, strength is defined by the caffeine content a particular coffee has. But as time goes on, people have started defining strength as coffee with a higher and stringent flavor.
Before we go any further, there are some myths we need to bust. Strength rating does not exist when the beans are still green. We don't go to the source of coffee in various farms and ask if they have ‘strong coffee’. That's not how the coffee beans are categorized and bought. What we are saying is that ‘strong’ is not a kind of coffee. The word ‘strong’ comes into existence when the coffee is roasted and brewed.
Now that you know this, let's tell you something else.
A Darker Roast Doesn't Mean Stronger Coffee
This is a common myth that people have carried over the years. They prefer a darker roast, and they think it will brew them a coffee with high caffeine content. The truth is that a darker roast means reduced acids and if it is not brewed properly, can give you a bitter taste. If you really like a darker roast, you should be mindful of brands that sell over-roasted coffee that leaves you with bitter taste and ashy flavors.
In other words, this is not what strong coffee is about, dark roasted coffee is not strong when compared to a lighter roast that has higher caffeine content. The dark roast will give you coffee with a rougher edge, with robust and slightly bitter flavors, then imagine what happens when you buy over-roasted coffee beans. You’ll just have a dirtier cup. Think of it like this, have you ever toasted bread and left it in the toaster for too long? That is what over-roasted coffee tastes like.
Acids in coffee are the pathways to getting different flavors. When the beans are over-roasted, the acids leave the coffee, and it becomes weak, too mild, and sour when brewed. If you like dark roasted coffee beans and like robust flavors, you should buy from roasters that know how to roast their beans to a dark territory or just opt for the medium roast. Buy coffee from Coffee Hero, we never over roast our coffee beans. They are well roasted to the point where they will give a great taste to your espresso and other coffee drinks.
So what exactly creates strength in the coffee beans?
To answer this, we will look at caffeine content in various coffees.
TYPES OF COFFEE- ROBUSTA AND ARABICA
By now, you may already know that there are two basic types of coffee. There are Arabica and Robusta. These coffee beans have varieties, but we won't be talking about that today. The Robusta coffee beans are not marketed in Australia because they are of lower quality. They have a more bitter taste and are less dense. We don't sell it at Coffee Hero.
The Robusta coffee beans are grown at low altitudes, and they are not always affected by pests and adverse conditions, so they grow faster, and the prices are lower. Most Robusta coffee beans are gotten from countries like India and Uganda.
For coffee strength, Robusta has more caffeine than Arabica beans, that's why it is added to some energy drinks. Drinking 100% Robusta coffee or double shots can make you go dizzy and feel coffee jitters. Currently, Robusta is used in some Italian coffees and some coffee blends. The Italian coffee producers say it gives espresso more crema and also tames the acid levels in the coffee. But this is just a way to add a lower-cost filler into their coffee, so they can sell. This low-priced Italian coffee suits the Italian market but not the Australian market because we are used to drinking great coffee.
The coffee culture in Australia is one that even tourists can attest to, you will always find cafés and roasteries that produce coffee made with Arabica beans. What we are saying is that if you brew Robusta coffee you may have a woody flavor in your cup. Some of the best Robusta beans are not so tasty and clean when compared to Arabica beans.
Arabica beans are sweeter and denser. They have lower yields when compared to the Robusta beans. Arabica beans are grown at high altitudes, hence the denser nature and high acidity. It is this acid that most coffee lovers in Australia find enjoyable. We love to add steamed milk to add to our espresso-based drinks like Flat white, latte, cappuccino, etc. Which one is your favorite?
The caffeine levels for Arabica beans are almost the same so what you should be looking out for is getting the flavors from the beans. Let's explain further, coffee flavors are those aromatic oils that are extracted when there is a perfect balance of heat and pressure during the brewing process. So whatever brewing process you choose- espresso, plunger, filter, and stove top, just make sure you are using the right equation that is normally influenced by temperature, contact time, and grind sizes.
HOW TO CORRELATE GRIND SETTINGS AND THE COFFEE FLAVORS TO BE PRODUCED
The number one problem most people face in espresso making and other methods is their inability to adjust to the grind sizes that will suit the brewing method. Some home brewers even leave their grinder in the same settings when they are trying other brewing methods, which is wrong. You should change your grind settings if you are changing your brewing method.
Changing your grind settings depends on the capability of the grinder you use. Some of them have micro-fine adjustments, some have adjustments for small ranges while others might have big steps between the grind settings.
Also, as you store your coffee for a longer period, the grind sizes and doses need to change if you want to get the best extraction possible from that beans. This means that you will be making finer adjustments.
Let's explain this more, when you buy a fresh bag of coffee beans, the pressure inside it will be different. In other words, the coffee beans will behave differently within the first few hours after they are open, this will equalize the balance of oxygen. After a while, they begin to lose their flavors, so grind finer to get more flavors.
For the grind settings, if you use a coarser grind or the amount of coffee is too small (bear in mind that the grind size and doze work together), the espresso will not come out right because the shot will be extracted in a shorter time. For example 20 seconds instead of 30 seconds.
If you make this mistake, the coffee will be under extract- that means coffee with low levels of flavor and the crema on the coffee will be pale. The crema will dissipate faster. This is known as weak coffee, so the fault is not from the type of coffee beans you bought or the roast levels. What's espresso without crema?
Another problem you may encounter is when you use a grind that is too fine or use a wrong amount of coffee. The coffee will over-extract at this point and brew really slowly. The notes of over-extraction are bitter taints, no sweetness, sour taste, and dark oily marks on the coffee’s surface. This means that the color of the crema may turn out pale.
But if you get the extra correctly, the flavors will come out perfect. The crema will be rich, it will either have a yellow or brown color with sweetness and plenty of flavors.
Now that we have given these explanations, you should source coffees from different places with the highest flavors. You should try coffee from Kenya, that is clean and citric, or Ethiopian coffee that has strong blueberry flavors. There are also other coffees to try.
Click here to source out more of them.
We hope that you have been able to clear myths and misconceptions about strong coffee. You now know the different types of coffee and their caffeine content. So pick any coffee beans and start brewing!