Tag Archives: coffee guide

A beginner’s guide to coffee roasts

One of the best things about going to the grocery store is the coffee aisle. The deliciously warm scent of roasted coffee beans pulls you down the aisle, making it unmissable. If the scent wasn’t enough, there are also so many inviting options for which roast to choose from. There are beans from all around the world in every flavor and richness. In fact, it can be hard to choose the right roast or even know the difference between them. 

Coffee roasts can be categorized into four different categories. Light, medium, medium-dark and dark. 

Most people are under the impression that the richer and darker the coffee roast is, the more caffeine it will have. This is not true. Lighter roasts tend to have more caffeine than darker roasts. Some say that this is because darker roasts require less beans than lighter roasts to brew the same amount of coffee. In this case, the lighter roast would have more caffeine just because there are more coffee beans. 

Regardless of the caffeine concentration, there are differences in the taste and richness of light and dark coffee. Lighter brews tend to be more acidic than darker brews which taste bitter. 

Here are some examples of different brews that you might recognize from the grocery store or your local coffee shop. 

Light roasts can be identified easily because the beans are not waxy looking like dark beans. Here are some common kinds of light roast coffee:

  • Light City
  • Half City
  • Cinnamon
  • New England Roast

Medium roasts are most commonly served in restaurants and places in America. It is most people’s preferred roast because it is richer than a light roast but not bitter like a dark roast. These are common examples of a medium roast:

  • Breakfast Blend
  • American 

Medium-dark roasts have some oil resting at the top of the brew, but in general the beans don’t look as waxed as dark roast beans. This coffee is slightly bitter and previews the rich roasted flavor of the coffee. Here are some common medium-dark roasts:

  • Vienna Roast
  • Full City

Dark roasts are commonly associated with true coffee aficionados. This is because dark coffee is the most bitter of all the roasts, making it unbearable to coffee drinkers who prefer sweet and milky cups of joe. Here are some popular dark roast coffee names:

  • Espresso
  • Italian Roast
  • French Roast
  • Continental Roasts
  • New Orleans Roast

The world of coffee beans is a diverse and complicated one. Coffee is a universal drink for all, from those who prefer it hot or iced, or black or creamed. There is a cup of Joe waiting for you, so step outside of your comfort zone and explore the wonderful world of coffee roasting. 

A Beginner’s Guide to Espresso Drinks

An espresso machine hums behind the sounds of chatter and clicking keyboards. The smell of coffee lies heavy in the air, while people sip beverages and twirl spoons. People mutter words like “macchiato,” “americano” and “cappuccino” to cashiers behind counters. 

Coffee shops can be the ideal location for many events. Maybe you have a big test that you need to study for, or you’re meeting up with a new friend for the first time. A coffee shop is the perfect place to go, because it can be casual, cozy and relaxing. However, if you have only ever consumed coffee at Starbucks, local coffee shop’s menus can seem confusing. 

Although coffee jargon might seem advanced, coffee orders are simpler than they sound. Here are some basic espresso drinks that will help you find your dream caffeine.

1. Lattes

Photo by Jesus Angel

A latte is a deliciously common drink because it is customizable to your likings. At its core, a latte is 1 part espresso and 3 parts steamed milk with milk foam on top. 

 Beyond that, a latte can take many forms. You can order an artistic hot latte with a poured design, or a refreshing latte over ice. You can also alter your milk preference. Most lattes are made with whole milk, but feel free to ask for a non-dairy substitute like almond or soy milk.

 If you prefer your coffee sweet, add pumps of flavored syrup to your drink. Some flavors include, vanilla, caramel and hazelnut, but be sure to ask the barista what syrups they keep in their store.

2. Mocha

Photo by Jesus Angel

A mocha is very similar to a latte, because they share the same milk to espresso ratio. However, mochas are much richer. A mocha has an added chocolate powder or syrup, blending together hot chocolate and coffee for a cozy drink of your dreams. 

Mochas can also be altered in their milk contents, temperature and  sweetness. If you are already a fan of mochas, try making your order a little more festive with a pump of peppermint, cinnamon dolce, or pumpkin spice.

3. Cappuccino

Photo by Jesus Angel

Cappuccinos are great for people who enjoy the natural taste of espresso, but still want the richness of cream inside of  their coffee. A cappuccino is 1 part espresso and 2 parts milk with foam at the top, making it a little lighter than a latte. 

It is not very common to add syrup to cappuccinos, but mixing the drink with a cube of brown sugar makes the perfect blend of sweet to bitter, and thin to creamy. 

4. Macchiato

Photo by Jesus Angel

Unlike a latte or a cappuccino, macchiatos don’t have any milk foam. A macchiato is 2 parts espresso and 1 part steamed milk. This drink is perfect for people who want a drink even lighter than a cappuccino but richer than an americano. 

This is a great drink to pair with a slightly sweeter cookie, danish or scone, for the perfect afternoon snack.

5. Americano

Photo by Jesus Angel

An americano is a drink for the brave and bold. An americano doesn’t bother with cream or sugar, but rather relies on the rich flavor profile of the espresso itself. An americano is composed of espresso and hot water only, and the ratio is dependent on your order. Some people prefer a stronger coffee taste and will order a double shot of espresso, while others will order a single shot. 

This guide to espresso drinks is just a start to the endless amounts of coffee combinations available to you. Don’t be afraid to ask your barista for recommendations or try something new on a whim.

The next time you’re ordering at a coffee shop, remember to stay calm, stay creative and most importantly, stay caffeinated.

Featured image by Jesus Angel.