The coffee facts.
HASBEANS uses a micro roaster, giving us infinite control over the process. Roasting is one of the main events that determine the final characteristics in coffee. And roasting techniques can either enhance or ruin an excellent coffee.
Roasting is time and temperature dependent, where the physical and chemical changes are induced in green coffee. The final temperatures of the beans will range from 435 to 480 (degrees Fahrenheit). As the green (unroasted) coffee temperature gradually rises its color changes to yellow and then, as the sugars caramelize, on to the final degree of brown desired. Taken to a very dark roast these sugars begin to carbonize.
As the coffee is raised in temperature to the boiling point, turning the moisture to steam, it bursts the cellular structure making an audible crack (not unlike popcorn) causing an increase in size of 40–60%. This loss of moisture along with other volatile compounds causes a 14–25% loss of weight. During roasting coffee loses some protein, about 10–15% of its caffeine and traces of other chemicals.
When coffee reaches the correct temperature for the desired roast it must be quickly dumped and cooled to prevent further development. Most commercial roasters use water at this point. However, Hasbeans quenches with cold air—thus preserving the coffee oils and containing much more of the flavour.
It is important to select the correct grind for your coffee. If the grind is too coarse, the water will not be in contact with the coffee long enough and you will have a weak flavour. Conversely, if the grind is too fine it will stay in contact with the water too long and give you an over extracted, bitter flavour. Make sure your coffee is correctly ground for your method of brewing.
HASBEANS and the Coffee Brewing Institute of America have established that the correct proportion of coffee to water is one tablespoon of coffee for every six ounces of water. Making great coffee is always a balancing act. The wrong proportions will have a negative effect on your coffee.
Grind your own with a blade grinder:
- Paper filter—approximately 18–23 seconds until coffee is the consistency of granulated sugar
- Reusable gold filter—approximately 13–18 seconds
- Cone filter—approximately 18–23 seconds
- Flat bottom—approximately 10–15 seconds
Water temperature determines which coffee flavors end up in your cup. The temperature should be between 195°F and 205°F (90.5°C-96°C). For manual methods, bring your water to the boil and let it cool for a moment before pouring over the grinds. If your water is too cool it will not bring out the full flavour of your coffee. NEVER EVER boil or reheat your coffee or you will literally boil away the full flavour of the beans. We suggest that if you leave your coffee for longer than 15 minutes in the pot, try using a thermal carafe. You will find the flavour lasts much longer.
Whether a coffee gourmet or a beginner, you must know that to get a superior tasting coffee you must start with the highest quality and freshest coffee you can find. To find the finest, high grown coffee we seek out coffee grown on small plantations. Every roaster, like chefs, have their own idea of what a “perfect” roast is. Because of this, coffee roasted at different times and temperatures will have varying tastes. To find the roast you prefer, we suggest trying many of the distinct and different coffees we have to offer. You may discover that you prefer one variety, and/or roast in the morning and another in the evening.
Just as poor quality beans will affect the taste of your coffee, so can poor quality water. Always use fresh water. Water, especially tap water, varies in taste—and you may be so accustomed it’s unnoticeable. Try using bottled water or a water filter. Note that water softeners will negatively affect the taste of your coffee.
Tips and tricks:
- Before starting, preheat your pot with hot tap water.
- Use one tablespoon of coffee for every 6 ounces of water.
- Moisten grounds with a little water, making sure they are evenly damp.
- Wait about 5 seconds and then add the rest of the water. Do not add the water too quickly to allow the grinds coat the sides of the filter. This will ensure you get the most out of your coffee.
- Remove filter and stir. Sit back and enjoy.
Methods of Brewing
Often called Melitta, produces a consistent fine brew. The method is quick and the coffee flavours are brought out.
There are basically two types of auto drip makers: cone-shaped and flat-bottomed filters. The cone shape filter method is basically the same as the manual method except it is controlled electronically. We have found that the cone shape method calls for a finer grind and gives better body than the flat bottom.
French Press (sometimes called a Bodum)
Uses a cylindrical glass carafe with a stainless steel mesh filter and separates the grounds from the water, which puts the grounds at the bottom and the strained coffee above the filter. This method will leave a little sediment that passes through the filter and is suitable for the darker roasted coffees. Be sure to PREHEAT YOUR PLUNGER POT FIRST WITH HOT WATER as this method brews a little cooler.
Tips and tricks:
- Preheat plunger and pot with hot water.
- Add one tablespoon of grounds for every 6 ounces of water.
- Pour in water (just off the boil) and stir grounds.
- Set plunger on top of cylinder and steep for about 4 minutes.
- Press plunger down slowly. If plunger is hard to push down, the grind is too fine.
- Allow to sit for about 30 seconds before pouring, then sit back and enjoy.
Coffee Storing Basics
Coffee has three enemies that you must protect it from: moisture, light and above all air. Always keep your coffee (beans or ground) in an air tight opaque container.
There are many schools of thought on where and how to store coffee for longer periods of time. From our experience, freezing coffee in an air tight container, in small lots, and bringing it out as needed, works wonderfully. But NEVER bring it out and then return to the freezer as this lets in both air and moisture (by way of condensation) deteriorating the coffee.
The terms used to describe the taste and aromatic qualities of the coffees we carry are mostly “scientific,” definable characteristics and trade definitions.
- Acidity: Not to be confused with bitterness, acidity in coffee brings a pleasant liveliness, sparkle, or snap that is experienced around the edges of the tongue and towards the back of the mouth. Acidity may be experienced as flat or dull, lively or moderate. A pleasant, lively acidity is a desirable aspect of coffee.
- Aroma: In coffee this is the bouquet or smell. Each coffee’s aroma is unique and distinguishable. A delicious, complex aroma is exhibited in good specialty coffee.
- Body: This refers to the “mouth feel” of coffee. It is the impression of lightness or thickness one feels from the front to the back of the mouth. It can be described in many terms such as: thin or thick, watery, light, medium, full, rich, smooth, etc.
- Flavour: This is simply the taste of the coffee. It can be referred to as straight or one dimensional, or, rich and complex. Specific elements are described as winey, sweet, earthy, spicy, smoky, nutty, etc.
- Mild: Refers to light, airy flavoured coffee.
- Sharp, Spicy and Sweet: Refers to flavour and aromatic characteristics that reflect the different personalities of the coffees.
- Green Coffee: The term “green” refers to coffee that is not roasted. Green coffee is not like green tea as it cannot be brewed. To be brewed, coffee must be first roasted which allows the sugars to caramelize.
Coffee by Regions
CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA
Mexico: Coatepec, Oaxaca, Chiapas
These coffees come from the mountainous regions of Mexico rather than the lower parts of southern Mexico. If you drink your coffee black and like a light acidy cup, you will love the best of Mexican coffees.
Guatemala: Antigua, Coban, Huehuetenango
The central highlands of Guatemala produce some of the world’s finest coffees. The best coffees are distinguished by grade. The finest being the highest grown at 4,500 ft. or higher and graded as SHB (strictly hard bean). The next is grown between 4,000 and 4,500 ft. and is graded as HB (hard bean).
The best Guatemalan coffees have a very distinct, spicy, or better yet, smoky flavour that sets them apart from other coffees. They are of medium to full body and rich in flavour, with a good acidity and spiciness.
Nicaragua: Grower Direct
For many years because of political differences between the United States and Nicaragua, Nicaraguan coffee was not imported. It is now widely available again.
We have found a small beneficio (processing facility) and finca (farm) where the high grown coffees are carefully shade grown and then hand processed. We feel this Nicaragua coffee is one of the finest we’ve been able to offer. See AROMA NICA web site.
Costa Rica: Tarrazu
Costa Rica coffee is classically a “complete” coffee. It is said it has everything and lacks nothing. The best displays an excellent body and robust richness. It is rich and hearty, analogous to a rich burgundy,
Colombia is the giant of fine, mild coffee producing countries of the world—about 12% of the world’s coffee. The best Colombia coffees are produced in the central and eastern mountain regions. Mainly the regions of Medellin, Armenia and Manizales.
The highest grade of Colombia is Supremo and the next is Excelso. This coffee is full bodied and richly flavored.
Brazil: Grower Direct
Brazil produces 30–40% of the world’s coffee. Despite all the coffee produced in Brazil, none of it ranks among the world’s best. The Brazilian coffee industry has concentrated from the beginning on producing inexpensive yet fairly palatable coffee.
The original Arabica tree originated in the mountain plateaus in Ethiopia where the tribes people still harvest the wild berries. Ethiopian coffees are now among the world’s most varied and distinctive. These coffees have a wine-like or fruity acidity characteristic of African coffees and play a rich range of variations.
The main growing area stretches from the slopes of Mt. Kenya almost to the capital Nairobi. Most Kenyan coffees sold in specialty markets come from the central region around Mt. Kenya. Grades are designated by the size of the bean AA is the largest.
Kenyan, like the Ethiopian to the north, has a distinctive, dry, wine-like aftertaste. It has a full-bodied richness that Ethiopian lacks.
Most Tanzanian Arabicas are grown on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Meru. These coffees are called Kilimanjaro. Most Tanzanian coffees are similar to African and Arabian coffees, sharp with a wine-like acidity.
Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) has been exporting excellent coffees in recent years. It is a washed coffee and a variant on the acidy, wine-like coffees of east Africa.
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
These coffees are noted for their richness, full body and long finish. Many consider Sumatran Mandhelling as one of the world’s finest. Mandhelling is probably the most full bodied coffee in the world; you can feel the richness settling in the corners behind the tongue. It has a relatively low acidity, but still enough to give a vibrant cup. The flavor is rich, smooth and full.
Sulawesi or Celebes
The island of Sulawesi (formerly Celebes) in the middle of the Malay archipelago produces coffee very similar to the best of Sumatran coffees. It is perhaps a little less rich and full bodied, but is a bit more acidy and vibrant. Like Sumatran, it is arguably one of the world’s finest coffees.