Who doesn't love solving a good mystery? Is the Loch Ness monster real? Who built Stonehenge? Does Big Foot really exist? What is the world's best coffee? While you may need to be an expert to solve the first three, no advanced degree or special knowledge is required to unravel one of the greatest mysteries of the 21st century: What is the world's best coffee?
All you need to solve this caffeinated mystery is equip yourself with the right information. And, thanks to the Internet, finding the information for your coffee trekking adventure is as easy as the click of a button. If you're ready, grab your favorite coffee mug and join me as we head out to discover how you can find the world's best coffee.
Learn How To Speak The Language
Before you embark on your journey to find the world's best coffee, you'll want to brush up on your coffee lingo. If you head out into the great unknown of Coffeeland and don't have a good grasp on the language, all of your searching will be for nothing. Learn the language and you'll understand what to look for in your coffee. A few important terms include:
The acidity of a coffee determines how "sharp" it'll taste. More acidity tends toward a bold coffee. Less acidity tends toward a milder cup.Body
Like a wine, when talking about a coffee's body, you'll be referring to its "texture." You're likely to find terms such as heavy, light, and syrupy to describe a coffee's body.Flavor
Much like a wine's bouquet, flavor refers to your overall sensory experience of the coffee. Terms you might hear a coffee connoisseur use include floral, nutty, smoky, spicy, and winy.
X Marks The Spot
Whether you're finding buried treasure or the location of the world's greatest coffees, you'll need to discover where the x marks the spot. Coffee is grown in various regions around the world, including such differing locales as South America, Africa, and Indonesia.
To unravel the mystery of the world's greatest coffee, you'll need to learn the about the distinctive characteristics based on where and how it is grown. For example, coffee from Colombia is typically rich while coffees from Kenya often have a mildly sweet-tart flavor and coffees from Sumatra coffee are full-bodied and contain low acidity. Learning which regions produce the best coffees suited to your tastes is an important first step on solving the mystery. How do you learn which regions produce the best coffees for you? It's really quite simple: start sampling coffees!
Follow Your Nose
If you truly want to find the best coffee, simply follow your nose. Good coffees and beans not only look good, but they smell wonderful, too. Fresh beans that have been well-roasted will fill your senses with an unmatchable aroma. Starting with premium beans such as Arabica, you'll want to smell for the type of roast that fills your fancy. Popular roasts such as French, Italian, or American will give you a variety of coffees from mellow to bold. When you've sampled coffees that use premium beans and a variety of roasting techniques, you'll begin to start zeroing in on the world's best coffee and discovering what type of roast is your personal favorite, too.
What To Look For
As with any great mystery, it's important to know what you're looking for. If you were tracking Big Foot, you'd look for footprints. But, what do you look for when you're trying to find the world's greatest coffee? That's a great question. Here are some key things to look for when choosing the ultimate cup.
Find a gourmet coffee shop where the baristas really know their coffee. Ask about roasting styles, types of beans, flavors of coffee. Be sure to taste test any coffees before buying! Go fresh
The quality of coffee deteriorates rapidly after being roasted. In addition, the flavor weakens considerably as time passes after grinding. Look for freshly roasted coffee. Don't be afraid to ask your coffee shop experts when, how, and where the beans have been roasted. If they don't know, it's not a good sign that the beans are fresh-so shop elsewhere. If you're shopping in your market, check to see if the coffee has a "roasted on" date printed on the bag. Whatever you do, you're always looking for the freshest you can find. Fresh is best!Make It Au Natural
Look for all-natural ingredients in your coffees. Finding organically-grown, sustainable coffee crops are a great place to start. In addition, when choosing flavored coffees, be sure the flavoring is natural and not a chemical. Not only do the natural flavors taste better (like nuts, cinnamon, and chocolate), they're sure to make you feel better about your choice, too.
The most important thing to know when searching for the world's greatest coffee is yourself. That's right; the answer to the mystery of the world's greatest coffee doesn't come from some connoisseur or from some ancient book of coffee lore. No, the solution to the timeless mystery of great coffee comes simply down to what you prefer. If you arm yourself and your taste buds with the right information and know the correct questions to ask, and sample, sample, sample, you'll soon find your favorite cup of coffee.
Your choice might not be your neighbor's favorite, but who cares? You're the one doing the drinking, so knowing yourself is the only thing that matters!
Jon Butt is the publisher of The Coffee Guide, an innovative website dedicated to all things coffee. From beans to gourmet, espresso machines to coffee makers , espresso cups to just great tasting coffee, The Coffee Guide advises you on the best coffee products and top-rated suppliers