The Ultimate Guide to Everything About Coffee

Homemade Gourmet Coffee

Introduction

1. Best Coffee Guide

  • A brief history of the caffeine-powered culture
  • Different types of coffee beans
  • How to choose the perfect coffee bean variety

2. Brewing Guide

  • Different types of coffee machines and brewing methods
  • How to brew coffee using various brewing methods
  • How to get make different cups of coffee at home

3. Keurig Brewers — How to Make The Best Coffee

  • The truth about Keurig Coffee Machines
  • The Best Reusable Kcups — Disposable Kcups alternatives, the small gadget you need for your Keurig Brewer to make Barista Quality Coffee for less

CHAPTER 1: A GUIDE TO COFFEE-DRINKING

Section A: A Brief History of the Caffeine-Powered Culture

Coffee is among the most precious commodity on the planet. Everyone knows what coffee is. It has been traded with other goods for centuries. So many people love it and can’t start the day without drinking a cup of well-brewed coffee.

For many of us, we have embraced coffee drinking as an irreplaceable ritual in our daily lives. But do you ever wonder how this coffee-reliant culture began? In this section of this ultimate guide to everything about coffee, we will explore the beginnings of coffee-drinking and why it still thrives today.

When did we start calling the beverage “coffee?”

“Coffee” roots from many languages. Starting in Yemen, the term for the beverage was “qahwah.” When coffee reached Turkey, the term became “kahveh.” The Dutch called it “koffie” which sounds a lot closer to how we say “coffee” in English today.

When did we start consuming coffee?

Coffee, just like other food or beverage that humans have consumed for centuries, has many versions of how it all started. Perhaps the most famous legend about the beginnings of coffee drinking is about the goat herder in Ethiopia named Kaldi. One day, Kaldi saw his goats becoming energized after they ate some of the berries of a particular shrub. The goat herder tried some of the berries himself and found that he also experienced the same reaction.

And then there was a monk who saw this strange behavior of the goat herder and his goats. He took some berries and showed it to the other monks. After consuming it, they also became alert and awake all night. The berries they ate were coffee berries, and they were reacting to the high caffeine dose that is naturally found in the coffee fruit.

What were the different coffee preparations?

There were various ways of preparing coffee before we got used to drinking it as a morning beverage. Basically, unprocessed coffee is a red berry when ripe. At the center of the fruit is the bean. One preparation for coffee is by mixing the fruit of the coffee plant with animal fat, creating a snack bar that is rich in protein.

Another preparation is by fermenting the pulp and then making a concoction that is similar to wine. At around the year 1000 A.D., a drink made from the whole fruit, which included the hull and the beans, was made. It was only in the 13th century that coffee beans were roasted. This is the primary step in the coffee-making process that is closest to how we prepare coffee today.

Coffee roasting began in Arabia. In the 13th century, among the Muslim community, coffee became popular because of how it can stimulate and energize. This was beneficial for the people in that community because they needed it during prayer sessions which were known to be long.

The beginnings of the coffee trade

The Arabs held exclusivity of the coffee crops for a long time. The coffee beans were parched and then boiled so that they will no longer sprout new plants. It wasn’t until around the 1600s that there was an Indian pilgrim named Baba Budan who got hold of fertile beans that became the source of coffee crops outside of Arabia.

By 1616 in Sri Lanka, the Dutch established the very first coffee estate which was owned by Europeans. They then expanded to Ceylon and then to Java by 1696. Meanwhile, the French grew their coffee in areas in the Caribbean. The Spanish followed by producing coffee in their colonies in Central America while the Portuguese grew the crops in Brazil.

The spread of coffee in the market meant that it was easier to acquire the beans. Consequently, coffee houses began to open in Italy as well as in France later on. Coffee became very popular in France, making it an irreplaceable beverage for the French, pairing the drink with their croissant or baguette.

How roasted coffee entered the market

During the later part of the 1800s, coffee reached the status of a worldwide commodity. Many business owners thought of innovative ways on how they can profit from it. By the year 1864, brothers Charles and John Arbuckle who were from Pittsburg, bought the invention of Jabez Burns. It was a roaster for coffee beans.

The brothers sold coffee beans that were already roasted. The name of their product was “Ariosa.” They were very successful in selling the roasted coffee to their customers who were mostly cowboys from the American West. Following this trend, James Folger also sold coffee to the California gold miners. Many followed this business idea and they became some of the big names when it came to producers of roasted coffee. Some of them are the Hills Brothers and Maxwell House.

By the 1960s, there emerged an awareness for other coffee recipes. Specialty coffee was born, and so was the establishment of the first ever Starbucks in 1971 in Seattle. At present, there is continued growth in the coffee movement. Many advocate for independently-owned coffee shops that serve coffee from locally roasted beans acquired from sustainable and fair trade markets.

Section B: Different Types of Coffee Beans

With coffee beans, there are four main varieties. These are Excelsa, Liberica, Robusta, and Arabica. In this section, we’ll share with you the different characteristics of these four coffee bean varieties.

Arabica

Arabica is arguably the most popular type of coffee bean. Around 60% of the coffee produced around the world is arabica coffee beans. This variety grows well at high areas where the plants can receive an even amount of rain as well as shade. Trees of the arabica coffee are not so difficult to care for because they don’t grow so big, so pruning them is not a problem. The trees do not grow beyond six feet. During harvest season, it is easy to get the coffee berries.

Among the coffee bean varieties, arabica is the most delicate of them. The plant is prone to diseases and the environment where it is grown is very influential in the growth and quality of the fruit. Farming arabica coffee trees require extreme care. Planting this variety in climates that are not suitable for superb growth means a lot of effort has to be exerted for them to grow healthy.

Being a very popular and in demand coffee bean variety, coffee farmers grow arabica coffee trees in huge quantities. But this kind of farming which is called “monoculture” can also present a problem. Since the trees are prone to disease, planting them in large amounts may result in an outbreak of the plant disease. This outbreak can contaminate the whole plantation.

Arabica coffee beans of high quality have a vivid color, it has the right level of acidity, and you can expect it to have an intricate multi-layered aroma and flavor. When tasting a cup, the best way is sampling it on your front palate. This is where salinity and sweetness is can be tasted best. When you brew arabica coffee in your home, choose ones that have lower acidity but still retains a full body.

Do remember that with arabica coffee, the quality of your beverage diminishes when it is served with creamer or if it is chilled. The best way to consume it is as a hot beverage, using a drip coffee or pour-over technique. Try these popular kinds of arabica coffee: Blue Mountain, Bourbon, Caturra, and Typica.

Robusta

Robusta is the second most popular coffee variety after arabica. As the name suggests, robusta is very tolerant to almost any kind of environment. It is also immune from most plant diseases. This coffee plant can grow at any altitude. However, it does like a hotter climate with irregular rainfall.

When it comes to the caffeine found in robusta, it is stronger than arabica. It has about twice as much caffeine than arabica coffee beans. This is because the plant uses the caffeine as a way of self-defense, making it resistant to many plant diseases.

When sampling robusta coffee, the best way to taste it is by your back palate. You can taste the strength and bitterness of the coffee this way. Its body is heavier as compared to arabica. With robusta coffee of high quality, you can expect low acidity, smooth texture, and it even has some hints of the chocolate taste in the flavor.

If you want to experience a great cup of robusta coffee at home, do some research on how the plant was grown. You can find this information on the coffee bags of beans from a single origin. Unfortunately, since robusta is popular and resilient, many farmers take advantage of the demand and grow the plant even in areas where the climate is not very conducive for growing them. This results in substandard beans where the beans have a rubbery taste or flat smell.

To enjoy coffee with cream or sugar, choose the robusta variety. Good quality beans won’t lose the fine flavor even when you add sugar or milk. You can enjoy your iced coffee or Vietnamese coffee using robusta beans.

Liberica

At present, finding liberica beans can be challenging. Nevertheless, this variety played an important part in the history of coffee around the world. By 1890, plant disease damaged over 90% of the arabica stock in the world. Government agencies, as well as farmers, tried to look for a solution. They found this in the liberica coffee plant.

The Philippines, a US territory during that time, was the first country to try farming the liberica variety. Through this decision, the economy of the country improved as it was the only country supplying this kind of coffee for some time. But the Philippines soon declared its independence from the United States. The supplies were cut, which included coffee. It was only in 1995 that the liberica variety began to surface in the world market again.

Those who tried to salvage the liberica plant transplanted them to other areas in the Philippines that were more conducive to growing the plant. Unfortunately, this effort was in vain since arabica coffee has earned its place as the most in-demand coffee variety in the world. Liberica coffee is very hard to come by these days.

The beans of this variety is bigger compared to other coffee types. Most of the time, the beans are asymmetrical. It is the only kind to have this irregular shape. The beans have a special aroma that consists of fruity as well as floral notes. The taste is rather smokey or woody. Since it is very rare these days, only a few have really experienced how it is to drink this variety.

Excelsa

Recently, the excelsa variety was re-classified as under the liberica family. However, these two kinds of coffee are very different from each other. Many coffee enthusiasts would argue that the experience they had with these two are so different that they couldn’t possibly belong to the same family.

Nevertheless, since the excelsa plant is very similar to the liberica plant, it grows on the same kind of environment, and the beans look quite identical, it is now known as “Coffea liberica var. Dewervel,” or a genus under liberica.

Excelsa thrives in Southeast Asia but it in the circulation of coffee around the world, it only accounts for 7%. This variety is mostly used to blend with other types of coffee beans so as to provide more complexity and flavor. It affects the back and middle palate when you taste it. The body of this coffee bean variety is fruity and tart; more like a very light roast. It still has some dark notes to it though, giving it a roasty taste.

Section 3: How to Choose the Perfect Coffee Bean Variety

So, now you know the different coffee bean varieties. The next step would be to taste them, if you haven’t already, and then decide which one suits your taste best. With the options we have today for coffee drinkers, it can be so confusing to choose the perfect cup for you. If you don’t have a favorite variety yet, that’s perfectly fine. We’ll guide you by sharing key factors to consider when choosing a coffee variety.

The Freshness of the Roast

There are so many myths when it comes to the freshness of the coffee. One side says that it can be kept forever. However, there is also one side that says that coffee is only good for two weeks. So, when is the best time to brew your coffee?

We have to start with the basic facts. One, coffee is a cherry fruit. It is an agricultural product that has been grown carefully and then processed. Therefore, it is always best to brew it at its freshest. The next thing to think about is to how do we know that the coffee is fresh?

Before buying beans, look at the packaging first to see that there is a roast date printed clearly on it. Avoid coffee beans that do not have this information. Also, don’t go for coffee that has a “Best Before” print on them. What you want to know is when the beans were roasted.

So, here’s a tip when buying coffee beans: get the ones that have been freshly roasted. Make it a point that you can use all of it within three weeks from the roasting date. Ideally, the peak of coffee’s flavor is at around the seventh to the fourteenth days. If you use coffee beans in the fourth week since the roast date, you may get less intensity of the flavor.

Roast Profile

With the roast profile of your coffee, there’s no wrong way of going about it. This will all depend on the kind of brewing method that you prefer. Let’s discuss two kinds of roast profile: the filter roast and the espresso roast.

Coffee beans that have these tags give you an idea of what brewing equipment to use on making a cup. Of course, with espresso roast, you will use espresso machines. And filter roast is for manual brewing.

With an espresso roast, the beans have been processed in the roaster to enhance the body and caramelization. This is suited for the espresso machine so that a delicious drink can be extracted.

With coffee beans with a filter roast profile, they are not as processed as the espresso roast beans. This is done so that its acidity can be retained. If you prepare your coffee manually using immersion brewers or a pourover, you should look for coffee beans with the label “filter roast” on them.

Single Origin or Blend?

On this topic, there are no clear lines really. But there’s an easy way to make things simpler so that you won’t have a hard time making a decision between single origin or blend. If you like drinking your coffee with milk, go for blend. If you want it to be just black coffee, then go for single origin.

Here’s what you need to know about blended coffee. Often, single origins are selected to be used in the blend. This creates a sophisticated espresso that is balanced; without taking away a milk-based drink in mind.

The beans used for blended coffee have been chosen carefully so that the body is fuller. It also brings out the sugaring flavors as well as a hint of floral complexity. This helps in producing a balanced espresso.

As the name suggests, single origin beans come from a single location. It can be from an estate or farm. This kind of coffee gives the drinker the opportunity to appreciate the uniqueness that the geographic region growing the coffee provides.

If you love drinking black coffee, you will appreciate single origins more. You can enjoy the subtle flavors easier because there’s no milk to mask it. Now, having know all these, can we use single origin for a milk-based beverage? Yes. How about blend for black coffee? Absolutely. But at the same time, you’d want to know where the single origins came from. Let’s go to the next section.

Origin Selection

Across the globe, the growing conditions, as well as the economic factors when it comes to farming coffee, is varied. It’s not surprising the coffee beans that have been grown in one place is different from other beans from other areas.

For wine drinkers, they already know this phenomenon and have had a great appreciation for this. They know the various characteristics of the wine that is Italian, Australian, or French. With coffee, the plant prefers to be grown in warmer areas; somewhere between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer. These areas are known as the “coffee belt.”

But even with these specific areas of the planet, there are many factors that exist. Some of these factors include sunlight, soil, rainfall, and altitude. All these affect how the coffee beans will taste. Now that we know these things, let us match the characteristics that you may be looking for to the coffee bean and its place of origin.

If you’re the type of coffee drinker who wants fruity flavors with floral aromas, then the best coffee beans for you are the ones coming from Africa. Try opening a bag filled with coffee beans coming from Ethiopia and you’ll surely swoon at the wine and berry scent of the beans.

For those who want to taste coffee that has a clean and delicate sugar sweetness, then the right beans for you would be those coming from Central and South America. The beans coming from this region taste like chocolate combined with a softer fruity characteristic.

In Brazil, the coffee beans they produce there have a peanut character with a fuller body. In Colombia, you can expect a more mellow tone but it will have that toffee or caramel taste to it. If this is the kind of coffee you want to drink in the morning, then choose beans coming from this region.

For earthy coffee with heavier body, you’re best choice would be beans from Indonesia and India. This type of coffee has a syrupy as well as luscious body along with savory and herbal flavors.

CHAPTER 2: A BREWING GUIDE FOR COFFEE LOVERS

Section A: Different Types of Coffee Machines and Brewing Methods

Just a decade ago, making a cup of coffee was an uncomplicated task. It would be an easy choice between an espresso or an Americano. Today however, there are so many ways of brewing coffee that you may find it a challenging task to decide which one you’re going to use.

Here, we’ll share the different types of coffee machines and how you can brew coffee with them. We will group the machines on how they brew coffee: by pressure, through steeping, through dripping or filtration, and by boiling. Let’s start with the first one.

Brewing Coffee with the Use of Pressure

When we start to talk about using pressure to brew coffee, you may immediately think of the espresso. However, there are various ways of brewing coffee with the use of pressure. It’s now just the espresso machine that does this.

By using pressure to brew coffee, you will extract the coffee faster. It will also result to a brew that is more intense as compared to other brewing methods. There are three common brewing methods under this category: using an espresso machine, a Moka pot, and an AeroPress brewer.

Espresso Machine

Almost any coffee-drinker knows what this machine is. It has been around since 1901. At present, espresso machines come in different styles, sizes, and shapes. There are new features and all but the principle of brewing coffee using pressure remains the same.

With an espresso machine, pressurized water goes through a puck or chamber of coffee beans that have been ground finely. It then goes through the filter and results in a shot or two of espresso.

Moka Pot

As espresso machines can be expensive, you have the Moka pot as an alternative. By using the Moka pot, you will still get that similar kick that you get from an espresso shot. The process of coffee brewing with the Moka pot is that it has three chambers.

At the bottom, the water boils. The steam then creates pressure, pushing the water through the top chamber where the coffee grounds are. The coffee produced is strong and bittersweet. It might be low tech but that’s the beauty of the Moka pot, reliable, time tested and they produce great coffee.

AeroPress

Coffee lovers who are also travelers love having their own AeroPress brewer. Although it looks like it should be in the Science Fair, this machine makes great coffee. It may look complicated to use but it is actually quite simple to operate.

You simply need the right temperature for the water, the perfect air pressure level, and then, or course, the right coffee grounds. You will have an excellent cup of coffee in just minutes. That’s why it is very popular among travelers who can’t start the day without their dose of caffeine.

Brewing Coffee through Steeping

Steeping is another term for immersion. Steeping is the most basic and the oldest way to brew coffee. Basically, you will be mixing the coffee grounds in hot water. You will then give them time to work on making good coffee. After a while, you have to separate the coffee grounds from the brewed coffee.

While this sounds simple enough, you have to be careful not to under or over steep the brew. If you end the process too early, then you’ll have a weak drink. Letting it stay for a bit too long and you’ll have coffee that may be too strong or too bitter. Here are the machines that you can use to brew coffee through steeping.

French Press

When it comes to coffee that is home brewed, the French press immediately comes to mind. This coffee brewing machine has been around for a long time. Generations of coffee lovers have used the French press for brewing coffee because it is very easy to use.

The French press is also inexpensive so it is accessible to most. But while it won’t burn a whole in your wallet, it can make coffee that has a distinct flavor that no other way of brewing coffee can produce. The secret to making the perfect cup of coffee is to get a high-quality French press as well as the right coffee grounds.

SoftBrew

The SoftBrew is relatively new in the coffee-brewing scene. It was released in 2010 and have already gained a loyal following. This is probably because it is much like how you use a French press but it is easier to operate.

It look like a teapot so but it has a filter inside. What you have to do is to fill the filter with your favorite ground coffee and then add some hot water. Allow it to steep for around four to eight minutes, and you can then serve it.

The truth about Keurig Coffee Machines

Don’t believe you can make the best coffee with a Keurig Brewer ? Then read on because there’s absolutely no reason that you can’t enjoy the finest coffee from your Keurig Brewer

Before I go any further, you will hear some “experts” who sneer at coffee machines and say that’s “not the way to do it” or “it’s not as good as a French Press”, to that I say pointless snobbery, it’s baloney. We have done blind tests and, providing you do it right, our Keurig makes coffee that is just as good as we can make with a French press, blind tests showed us that and what’s more it does it with less fuss, less waste and faster too.

Keurig is perhaps the biggest name in the world of coffee machines, in particular for single serve coffee machines. They also produce accessories, such as filters, carafes and coffee machine consumables such as the K cups to use in their range of home and office coffee machines.

Keurig’s appeared in the coffee market in the early 1990s when they produced their first coffee machine that was intended for commercial /office use. Since that early start, the range of machines has expanded and Keurig coffee machine is now an extremely common sight in US kitchens.

Keurig’s range of machine is pretty large now and covers pretty much any type of use case, every budget and even aesthetic taste too on account of the range of colors available, it’s safe to say that if you want to brew the best coffee possible at home then Keurig has a machine that will enable you to do just that … but there’s one problem with Keurig machines, like any coffee machine all of Keurig’s brewers are based around a proprietary system of disposable / single use coffee capsules the “Keurig K cup

Problems with Keurig K cups

  1. They’re expensive compared to buying freshly ground coffee
  2. Limited Choice of Coffee blends— you are restricted to only using the limited varieties of coffee that Keurig supplies, I mean seriously why would that be a good thing for a user?? There’s a huge range of coffee available to try, why deprive yourself of the chance to find your perfect coffee blends?
  3. Restricted choice of strength — The amount of coffee in a Keurig K cup is of course fixed, but guess what some people like stronger coffee and others like weaker coffee, finding the perfect coffee for you requires more than finding the right blend — we need the ability to add exactly the right amount of coffee for our mood too, but Kcups don’t allow you to do that.
  4. Harmful to the environment the plastic and foil single use coffee capsule is “disposable” except they’re not really they are trash. If all the used k cups were lined up they would go around the world over eight times. Plastic waste is a major environmental issue that’s already causing a huge amount of harm — it’s simply irresponsible to continue to behave like that and litter the planet needlessly

The Best Keurig K cups

Resusable K cups are the answer to all these problems

  1. Save money, they are Inexpensive to buy and reusable
  2. Unlimited choice of coffee — you’re free to try any coffees that you want to, you can even grind the beans yourself.
  3. Make Stronger Coffee or Weaker Coffee in your Keurig Brewer—not only do you have complete control of which coffee you use, you also have the ability to use as much coffee or as little as you want, I often have a “extra strong coffee” first thing then a medium strong coffee in the afternoon, also when visitors come I am able to offer something that suits them too because some people do find strong coffee undrinkable and others will find too weak coffee similarly unsatisfying.
  4. Reduce Environmental Waste — single use coffee cups are wasteful and harmful to the environment, they make sense for Keurig’s bank account not yours and they are certainly helpful to the planet.

After trying and testing many different options these are our favorite Reusable K cups (this is not a paid link) we have used them in a variety of Keurig brewers and they are perfect, they have been extensively tested in our office too!
according to the seller the reusable K cup is compatible with Keurig 1.0 and 2.0 Brewers Including: K55,K-Classic,K575,K15,K250,K-Elite,K155,K-Select,K475,K150,K200,K45,K-Elite C,K50,K500,K40,K145,B145,K525C,K425,K350,K140,B70,K60,K65,K3000SE,K75,B155,K450,B60,K545,K300,K70,B40,B140,K400) models, I can say we have used them in Series 1 and series 2 Keurig machines and they have performed flawlessly.