When I was first entering into the large, daunting world of specialty coffee, I kept finding myself confused about coffee tasting. Is bitterness always bad? When is it too acidic? What notes are in the best of coffees? It took me a while to figure out the answer to each of those questions about coffee tasting and brewing: it’s all up to you.
I heard so many voices telling me to buy this company’s beans and that company’s brewing tools that I wasn’t able to explore myself. My guides were teaching me to follow their standards, not helping me develop mine. I soon realized that I am not as picky as some of my fellow brewers – and I’m actually proud of that.
The good thing about being picky is that first sip of a great cup. The flavors and aromas appease not only your tongue, but every part of your body as the elixir travels through it. On the other hand, reaching this level of satisfaction becomes rare.
The good thing about not being picky is that coffee can be enjoyable no matter how well prepared. You won’t be able to reach the level of ecstasy that the snobs get out of a good cup, but being able to appreciate a wider range of coffee is definitely a plus.
The specialty coffee industry is committed to creating and promoting incredible coffee that is prepared in a multitude of steps to be the best it can possibly be. From the seed to the mug, every step of the journey is taken with great care. With this in mind, snobs and elitists will tell you that a cup must be prepared a very certain way, with certain equipment, and with certain beans, but these demands are based off their values, not yours. Each person is entitled to their own opinion, own palette.
If you value convenience and caffeine, I would even recommend Keurig and auto drip machines. Even though I love manual brewing, I recognize that the automatic methods have their place in the world.
If you value flavor and freshness, which I imagine is more likely since you’re vising a blog about specialty coffee, then I recommend learning how to find high quality coffee beans and looking into brewing methods like the french press, pour over or clever. These brewing mechanisms will help you achieve a cup that not only gives you a boost, but provides a tasty experience.
I wish you luck in your journey into the realm of specialty coffee tasting. Don’t be intimidated and don’t be pushed around. Discover your own palette and be your own person. Happy brewing!