Guide to Choosing Good Coffee Beans

A professional coffee maker is known as a barista. A professional will have lots of experience that will help them decide which beans are suitable. If you are interested in how to make cheap espresso at home, these are the people to ask!

Cuppers are people that know what coffee tastes like, they might be professional tasters or contest judges. These people share the same desire to produce a really nice drink, however the barista is the person who receives the feedback on how certain types of coffee go down.

Around 70 different countries produce coffee, including Africa and the Middle East, to South American and the Caribbean. The plants grow the best along the equator.

Beans from different countries do taste slightly different, this is due to differences in the altitude, environment and temperature. Even different locations in the same country will often produce a different taste.

There are two different types of coffee, including Arabica and Robusta. The Arabica is used most often because it contains less caffeine than Robusta and has a better taste. Arabica coffee is commonly used in very fine blends of coffee.

Coffee trees grow better at higher altitudes. Arabica beans which are grown above 3000 feet are considered as being of very high quality. Arabica beans grown at lower altitudes in Brazil are known as Brazils.

Everybody will prefer a different type of coffee, it's all down to personal preference. It all depends on whether you are willing to roast your own coffee or not. Unroasted beans should be soft and have a fresh Oder.

If you are looking to buy roasted beans then there are a greater number of categories which are available to you. You can buy a light roast beans which are acidic and are highly caffeinated beans.

Medium roast beans are also known as an American roast, these are a little darker and are much more popular. Most of the coffee chains use this type of bean. It's not exactly the best type of coffee in the baristas eyes.

Dark roast also known as City are only normally seen in specialist coffee shops. These have less caffeine and acid. These cups of coffee are not as bitter, they are often a little sweet. Most espressos will use these types of beans.

Another type of roasting technique is the French roast. These are very dark brown beans which have sheen to them. You should make sure you're not just buying burnt beans though! You can check this out by smelling the beans.

The darkest beans available are Italian roast beans. These are used in specialist espressos and are very dark brown beans. These make a very nice cup of tea!

Darker beans will taste sweeter and less acidic. This is due to the sugar in the beans caramelizing while the beans are being roasted. Caffeine is also burnt away during this roasting process which produces a softer cup.


Coffee Guide From Coffee Lovers

They say there's an awful lot of coffee in Brazil - and there is! But the sheer variety of drinks it can be made into can cause confusion among those of us who just fancy a nice cup, and want something a bit different.

So, when you do venture into your local coffee shop or cafe, how do you know what to ask for? Should it be an americano, a filter, espresso or double skinny latte? ... unless you happen to be a real aficionado you could be forgiven for giving up, going home, and just unscrewing a jar of instant.

Well help is at hand; here is a quick guide to the most common choices, so you can order with confidence.

Espresso: these are those little cups with two mouthfuls in. Generally very strong they are made by forcing boiling water through ground coffee in a machine.

Filter: made using gravity, because the boiling water falls through the ground coffee, extracting the flavour.

Cafetiere: coffee is made by brewing the ground coffee and boiling water together, and a filter can be pushed down when the coffee is ready to be drunk, to separate the grains from the liquid.

Cappuccino: espresso coffee with frothed milk added to it, and cocoa powder shaken on top.

Latte: an espresso made with hot milk (skinny uses semi skimmed milk, double skinny uses skimmed, and a double latte just means double the amount of milk)

Americano: an espresso made with a lot of hot water, and so less strong than usual espresso.

But why stop there?

Apparently 70 per cent of us put sugar in our coffee. Many of us are also discovering there's an interesting alternative to sweetening our coffee - flavoured syrups. They're an easy and enjoyable way to customize a coffee and experiment with tastes.

The syrups come in a vast array of flavours to complement your coffee. Some sweet and others more subtle. It is even possible to get sugar-free versions. Most good coffee shops will offer a range of flavours to choose from.

The most popular coffee syrup is probably vanilla, and a small glug of this in your latte makes a really fantastic drink. Ginger was very popular over the winter and is likely to carry on being so. If you are very sweet-toothed you could try caramel coffee syrup, or even cinnamon coffee syrup. Nut fans might like hazelnut syrup and there is also coffee's perfect accompaniment, amaretto syrup.

If you lack the confidence to go and order one - or just prefer to stay in - then you can actually buy a wide range of coffee syrups over the internet which you can add to homemade coffee. Many are imported from Europe but if you search you can get excellent, top quality British-made coffee syrups. Don't forget they work in instant coffee too - a nice addition to your Nescafe!

And if you get bored with coffee, try adding them to pancakes or ice cream to brighten up a dull dessert.


The Guide For Buying a Coffee Maker

If you are on the market for a new coffee maker, it is important to put serious thought into what type of machine that you will purchase. This is something that you will wake up to in the morning, and it will provide you the essential beverage to get you through the day, so you want to be happy with your purchase!

First of all, it is important to decide what needs you have in a coffee machine. Coffee makers have come a long way, and they have a number of different accessories and features for a variety of purposes. In purchasing a new machine, you want to make sure that you get exactly what you want, and also that you get the best deal for the money that you are spending. To determine your needs, first of all, decide how many cups you will need to brew on a regular basis. If you have a family, then you probably need the maximum size of a 12 cup coffee maker. However, if you are single, you may want a personal sized 4 cup coffee maker so that you don't waste any Java.

If you are brewing for a larger atmosphere, like for your family members or in your office, it may be a good idea to purchase a commercial coffee machine for home use. As an example, Bunn makes a number of smaller professional coffee machines that are affordable at around $100, but they work with commercial features to allow you to brew within three minutes at any time. These machines stay plugged in, and the water will continually be heated. The advantage to this is that it allows you to brew within moments whenever you are ready without any heat up time for the machine, and it also keeps the water within the machine hot to prevent bacteria from growing and affecting the other components of the coffee machine.

If you are looking most of all for convenience, you will want to look for a coffee machine that has programmable functions so that you can wake up to coffee in the morning without having to worry about brewing. You can set up a timer and brew your coffee for the time that you wake up, and you can also use this timer to delay your brew if you would like a cup of Joe after dinner.

The last thing to keep in mind with your coffee maker purchase is what type of accessories that you may need. It is always best to freshly grind your coffee beans before brewing, so consider investing in a kitchen coffee grinder or even a coffee maker that has a grinder included. This is a popular new feature with coffee makers on the market, and it saves you money instead of having to purchase two different machines. There are also a number of different coffee makers that are coffee and espresso combination machines if you want the best of both worlds in brewing!

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