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Coffee Tips & FAQs

November 03, 2008

How do roast levels affect taste? Will coffee dehydrate you? How is coffee decaffeinated? How should you store your coffee?









A complex bean





Roasting transforms an inert seed into a bean composed of more than 1,500 different chemicals. Arguably, coffee is the most chemically complex food humans consume.



 





That’s a lot of beans!





Depending on the size of the beans, there are 2,800 to 4,725 beans in a pound of coffee.



 



 



Just like wine





Coffee qualities can be evaluated, just like other fine food products such as wine or chocolate. The process is called “cupping” and evaluates objectively the following characteristics by degree of intensity:





Aroma—the smell of both dry grounds and brewed coffee

Body—how thick or heavy it feels in the mouth

Flavor—how much it tastes like coffee should taste

Acidity—the bright, tingly sensation experienced with citrus fruit

Sweetness—more subtle than the sweetness of table sugar

Aftertaste—the intensity of the coffee flavor after the beverage has left the mouth



A cup of coffee



 



How do roast levels affect taste?





Lighter-roast coffees have higher taste-acidity and permit interesting, nuanced flavors to be detected. Darker beans have more body, fewer nuances and tend to have smoky or woody hints. When cream and sugar are added, darker roasts hold up more “coffee flavor” than lighter roasts.



 



 



Will coffee dehydrate you?





Yes, we all know coffee (it’s the caffeine, really) is a mild diuretic. However, our bodies use the water in the coffee to replace the “lost” water, therefore there is no net decrease hydration.



 



 



How is coffee decaffeinated?





Solvents are used to remove the caffeine. By law, the process must remove 97% of the original amount of caffeine before being sold in the U.S. None of the methods or solvents pose a human health risk. The most common solvents are water, supercritical carbon dioxide and ethyl acetate.





Caffeinated or Decaf? Click to learn more.



 



 



How should you store your coffee?





Quite simply, don’t. Coffee is best when fresh. Buy only enough to last a few weeks, and grind it immediately before brewing. Ground coffee stales much more quickly than whole beans.





Click here to learn more about coffee storage.








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