With Dancing Goat Coffee
So how do you choose, let alone make, the best coffee at home? At Dancing Goat Coffee we all have a favourite coffee from within our range and none of us pick the same, all brewed in a different way too!
Coffee is one of those deliciously subjective topics that can keep conversations flowing. Depending on not only your personal characteristics, your mood and availability of brewing methods but also even down to brand loyalty, coffee region or taste profile preference, these can all be factors in what your brew of choice is each day. You might even have a favourite mug for each option throughout your day, we are such creatures of habit! So with so much coffee to choose from, it’s sometimes not easy to make a change from your norm and discover your new best coffee at home.
What is important when choosing the best coffee at home?
Are you interested in the freshness of roast, the roast profile or are you only usually a single origin kinda coffee drinker, turning your nose up at a blend? Have you ever thought about what altitude your favourite coffee is grown at and if so, you now can’t bring yourself to drink anything different? You actually may not care and are open to any coffee offerings!
Using our knowledge and experience we have compiled some pointers that will help you decide which is the best coffee at home for you. Let’s see if we can help you either be a little more adventurous than usual or indeed a little less so…..
Let’s start with the coffee basics
Arabica and Robusta coffee beans
Although to the untrained eye they may appear very similar, there can be vast differences between these two types of bean. Be it the time taken to ripen (Arabica takes 9 months whilst Robusta around 11 months) to their caffeine content (Arabica has around half the caffeine content of a Robusta cherry), they may produce the ‘same’ drink by name but have the ability to make very different tasting cups of coffee.
Today, Arabica makes up a huge 75% of the world’s coffee production. Its complex acidity and taste compounds mean that there is much more variation in the flavour that it produces. It is generally sweeter and has tones of fruits, florals, chocolate and nuts. Generally, it is more expensive than Robusta. This is because it is much more delicate and needs more specific cultivation requirements, such as weather and altitude, to grow.
Robusta coffee accounts for 25% of the world’s coffee production and it is mostly grown in Vietnam, West Africa, Indonesia and other parts of South-East Asia. Robusta has lower acidity levels than Arabica coffee, meaning it generally tastes much less sweet. Due to its simpler acidity and flavour compounds, Robusta can produce tones of wood or burnt rubber. The Robusta coffee tree is much easier to look after and is much more resilient to adverse weather and disease, which is the main reason why it is on average one third cheaper than Arabica.
So you have your coffee bean…but where is it from?
Here is our summary of the beans we have enjoyed and sampled over the years and which we have used to create our range, exclusive to Dancing Goat Coffee. This list will help you understand what taste you can expect from each region and how to choose your best coffee at home.
The beans listed below can be found throughout our range of blends, single-origin/single estate coffees, to help you select which one of our coffees is perfect for you and what you can expect if trying something for the first time.
Mexican coffees – Light bodied coffees which tend to have very mild acidity. A delicate flavour which can also often be a little nutty.
Guatemalan coffees – Rich texture and body. They have a depth which works well with a little sugar. Often developing chocolatey notes.
El Salvador coffees – A well balanced coffee, high quality acidity and a crisp, clean taste. Normally red-fruit driven flavours; berries, red apple and plum seem to be common tasting notes.
Nicaraguan coffees – These have good body and balance, commonly with stone fruit flavours. Together with tobacco and/or leather tasting notes.
Colombia coffees – Bold and sweet. Grapes, Berries Often together with an enjoyable liquor-like quality. Medium acidity. – Found in our Montecillos Coffee listed in our webshop
Peruvian coffees – Commonly savoury, plum, together with some other mellow fruity flavours, good body with medium acidity.
Brazilian coffees – huge variety in coffees which often carry these characteristics …. Creamy, chocolaty flavours together with nutty and soft mellow fruit notes.. think melon. Good body. Mellow acidity. Brazilian coffees are used in our <Café Bar Whole bean> and <Café Bar Ground Coffee Blend>. Also Found in our <Whole bean Ballante di Capre Blend.> Our Decaffeinated whole bean coffee is also from this region.
Rwandan coffee – Balanced, high-quality acidity often found with a moderate flavour range. Clean and sweet aftertaste.
Kenyan coffee – Bold, bright, juicy, winey, blackcurrant, hibiscus, grapefruit. Distinctive character, Excellent acidity quality with high acidity.
Ethiopian coffee – Highly quality distinct flavours, exotic citrus, lemon/bergamot, rose, jasmine, Turkish- delight, balanced and sweet. Used in our <Ethiopian Sidamo Whole bean coffee> and also available as <Ethiopian Sidamo ground for filter>.
Tanzanian coffee – Full body. Good balance. Subtle caramel/chocolate notes and works well when paired with milk. Used in our <Single Estate Tanzanian Whole Bean> and <Tanzanian Ground for Filter Coffee>
Uganda – Kenyan and Rwandan like- although much lower acidity. Good fruit notes, good balance.
Single Origin or blend….discuss!
Single-origin coffee has become popular in the past decade as each coffee producing area and the coffee farms will produce coffee that has a very unique flavour profile. Perhaps some feel that the most important thing about single-origin coffee is its traceability. The fact that you know exactly where your coffee is from and that it’s a specific coffee, not a blend…it’s the acknowledgement that the coffee is from a particular farm located in a unique setting, whilst its flavour depicts its origin, possessing characteristics of that specific area where the particular coffee was grown. Here is a <link to our bundle of African whole bean coffees>.
Blends however can often be formed from beans that complement each other, but can also be created for a contrasting effect. Imagine a chef creating a signature dish by combining multiple ingredients that are not as inviting on their own; but when prepared, mixed together and cooked can create a masterpiece that will satisfy your taste buds more than a single ingredient would. Because a coffee blend is comprised of more than one type of coffee bean, the flavour notes are a lot harder to pick out therefore often described as “full-bodied” because they are more intricate to the palette. Maybe for you purists this could be your best coffee at home? Here is a <link to our best sellers range of whole bean coffees>
Turning it from green to roasted bean……
Before roasting, green coffee beans are soft, with a fresh smell and little or no taste. The coffee roasting process transforms these raw beans into the distinctively aromatic, flavourful, crunchy beans that we recognise as coffee.
The age of the coffee, the processing method, the grind, and the brewing method will also affect the taste. But the roast level provides a baseline, a rough guide to the taste you can expect.
The most common way to describe coffee roast levels is by the colour of the roasted beans, ranging from light to dark (or extra dark). As coffee beans absorb heat in the roasting process, their colour becomes darker. Oils appear on the surface of the beans at higher temperatures. Because coffee beans vary, colour is not an especially accurate way of judging a roast. But combined with the typical roasting temperature that yields a particular shade of brown, colour is a convenient way to categorise roasting levels.
So how high an altitude do you think your best coffee at home needs to be from?!
The altitude at which a bean is grown also has an effect on the flavour of the beans. Coffee grown at higher elevations tends to be of higher quality, and with that high quality comes more complex flavour notes than coffee grown at lower elevations.
The difference in flavour and quality is due to two factors, water and temperature. At higher altitudes cooler temperatures slow down the growth rate of the coffee plant. At a slower growth rate the plants focus more on reproduction. The plant then devotes more energy to bean production which in turn produces more of the sugars that create those amazing tasting notes in your favourite coffee. Higher elevations also have better drainage than places lower in the watershed. Better drainage leads to less water in the beans concentrating the flavours created by the sugars.
How do you brew?
Knowing how we have all had to become home baristas in 2020, we wrote a blog article in April to try and offer our knowledge out of the equipment you can use at home and how these can impact on the taste of your brew and make that best coffee at home. <Click here to read that article>