From bean to brew and mixture to mouth, coffee and everything that accompanies it is an ancient art.
Beginning with how and where the coffea plant is grown, the product’s tasting traits and sipping specialties are partially inherent. But how that coffee bean is roasted, the temperature at which it is brewed, and what it combines with for drinking, for example, are all factors that determine the taste and experience that touches your mouth. Coffee is, indeed, a method of “espression” for coffee aficionados and enthusiasts across the world.
Alas, someone has to drink the artists’ work. That’s where you come in. Below is an introduction to coffee drinks for those who are a bit afraid to venture away from the spiced latte from the not-so-artisan commercial roasters (looking at you, Starbucks). Trek to a local café or coffee shop for true artisanal flair; look for drink specials, unusual combinations, and atypical flavors to expand your coffee palate. Enjoy and appreciate the art created with the coffea plant’s fruit!
Alone, espresso is bold, intense and flavorful. It’s strong when enjoyed by itself, and should be sipped for optimal enjoyment. While drinking, observe the tasting notes it yields, and appreciate the origin of the bean as well as the roasting and brew method. Additionally, espresso serves as the base for several popular drinks including the cappuccino, latte, Americano, macchiato and mocha.
The classic black coffee is made stronger (and sweeter) in this unfiltered method. Roasted beans are finely ground and simmered in a pot with sugar. Once the grounds settle to the bottom, the pot is delivered to the drinker with small cups. Unfiltered grounds make for a very strong sipper!
Native to Cuba’s culture-defining coffee practices, the Café Cubano is espresso brewed with brown sugar. It’s sweet and strong (and may be considered Turkish coffee’s cousin). A semi-common drink that stems from the Cubano includes the Cortadito, in which Cubano is mixed with equal parts warm milk.
This method of coffee extraction, which uses no heated water, produces a much different chemical profile than traditional brewing methods. Course coffee grounds are steeped for over 12 hours in room temperature water; then, the grounds are filtered, the coffee is diluted with water or milk, and is often served over ice or blended.
When she’s not editing for WLM, Richelle enjoys exploring, traveling, writing, reading, cooking, learning and playing. Follow her for adventure inspiration: @richelle.kimble