What's the best kind?
Where can you get it?
How to make the perfect cup of coffee.
A perfect cup of coffee a day. Is that too much to ask?
It seems so. Not everyone can make it. And those who can make it - demand a high price. Yet, with proper instructions and knowledge, some people do manage to make that rare perfect cup of coffee, right in their homes.
This guide aims to provide that set of instructions to you.
In this handy little article, you will learn the basics of how to make coffee in your home.
To do that, first, you’ll need to learn exactly what types of coffee beans are out there, where they are grown and what’s the difference between them. Knowing this is crucial to making that perfect cup.
Then you’ll learn the many kinds of coffee you can make. That’s important because everyone has a different taste. This post will help you discover what your taste and preferences are when it comes to coffee (hopefully!). Not only that, but you’ll also learn the many different ways you can make each kind of coffee.
Finally, we will share with you a useful set of coffee resources. Exciting things that will help you move forward on your journey to learn more about the beautiful drink that’s loved by you - and every sane person around the world.
Coffee’s Origins And Where It's Grown Around The World
You can thank Kaldi for coffee.
He was an Ethiopian goat-herder who is said to have accidentally discovered coffee. Legend has it that one of his goats chewed a bright red berry that contained the coffee bean. Unexpectedly, its effect was that it made the goat dance eccentrically and kept it awake at night.
Noticing this effect, Kaldi also chewed the berry and felt similar excitement his goat had. In his excitement, he took the beans to an Islamic monastery.
The monks there discovered that when they mixed it with water and drank it, the coffee helped them stay alert during their long night-time prayers.
From there, word spread about the wondrous effects of coffee, first to the other monks in the monastery, and gradually, to the rest of the world.
The Coffee Bean Belt
Coffee grows around the world in an area that’s called the ‘bean belt’. This area stretches all the way from the tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn. The land which is inside this area can grow coffee. The land outside it cannot.
The bean belt covers seven main regions of the world:
Central America and Mexico
Africa and the Middle East
Asia and Indonesia
… and looks something like this:
In the bean belt, the three countries which grow the highest amount of coffee are Brazil, Vietnam, and Columbia.
Brazil: The World’s Biggest Coffee Exporter
For the last 150 years, Brazil has remained the undisputed winner as a coffee exporter. As early as 1920, Brazil produced nearly 80% of the world’s coffee. But due to increased production in the other regions of the world, and therefore its share in the coffee market has declined. Yet, even today, Brazil produces one-third of the world’s coffee, mainly green coffee, instant coffee, and Arabica coffee. Its production is double of what Vietnam produces, which is the second-largest exporter of coffee after Brazil.
Vietnam: The World’s Second Largest Coffee Exporter
Vietnam comes second as an exporter in the global coffee market. This makes coffee the topmost exported item in the country, bringing in billions of dollars to the Vietnamese economy. The main variety of coffee Vietnam produces is called ‘Robusta’ which accounts for nearly 97% of the coffee Vietnam exports. Coffee has been extremely instrumental in improving the livelihoods of the Vietnamese people. After they started growing and exporting coffee, the population in poverty decreased from 60% to just 10%.
Columbia: The World’s Third Biggest Coffee Producer
After Brazil and Vietnam, Columbia is the 3rd biggest exporter of coffee. But while Vietnam mainly produces Robusta coffee, Columbia mainly produces Arabica coffee, which is a pricier and better-tasting variant of coffee. In fact, when compared to Brazil and Vietnam, Columbia ranks as the biggest Arabica coffee producer in the world.
Different Kinds of Coffee Around The World
There are two main types of coffee produced in the world:
1. Arabica2. Robusta
Arabica Coffee is the higher quality of the two coffees. It has a more balanced taste, less caffeine content and has a better aroma. Robusta coffee, on the other hand, is more bitter and has more caffeine.
The only reason Robusta coffee is cultivated is that it is easier to produce and is primarily used to make instant coffee. Arabica coffee, on the other hand, is what’s widely used and accounts for 60% of the coffee produced in the world.
Here are some interesting stats about the two:
2,000 - 8,000 feet
|0 - 2,300 feet
|59 - 75 Degrees Fahrenheit
75 - 86 Degrees Fahrenheit
Time to Maturity
|6 - 9 Months
||10 - 11 Months
|0.6 - 1.4%
||1.8 - 4%
Regular Vs. Decaf Coffee: The Difference and Methods of Making it
Decaf coffee is nothing more than regular coffee - except with the major difference that 97 - 99% of the caffeine is removed from coffee beans.
As of now, there are four main methods used to decaffeinate coffee beans.
1. The Swiss Water Process
The Swiss Water Process is one of the most effective ways to remove caffeine from coffee beans without losing flavor. For instance, the decaf Peru we offer is Swiss Water Processed. Here’s how this method works:
- A batch of coffee beans is soaked into very hot water. This dissolves both the caffeine and the flavor into the water, leaving tasteless, caffeine-less beans which are discarded.
The water in which the caffeine and flavor were dissolved is passed through a special filter. This filter captures the caffeine while allowing the water to pass without caffeine and with the coffee flavors.
Another batch of fresh beans is dissolved in this water. And since this water already has the coffee flavors in it, only the caffeine from this new batch dissolves in it while the flavors stay in the beans.
And in this genius way, you get decaffeinated coffee beans which retain most, if not all, of its flavor.
2. Solvent-Based Extractions
In this method, waters mixed with various chemicals like methylene chloride and ethyl acetate is used to extract caffeine from the beans. But since water is used as well, some of the coffee's flavor gets lost in this process.
3. Carbon Dioxide Decaffeination
Carbon Dioxide is naturally found in coffee beans as a gas. Therefore, in this method, the coffee beans are sealed in a chamber and carbon dioxide is applied to it at high pressure. This releases the caffeine from the beans while leaving behind the flavor. But this method is expensive to implement, even on a commercial level.
Different Types of Coffee You Can Drink
This article is not big enough - nor meant - to talk about every single variation of coffee you can drink. There are way too many different variations in the way coffee is made.
But what are the most popular types of coffee found around the world?
Here are six of them.
Espresso coffee is the most widely available type of coffee you’ll find - and is the foundation of other types of coffee.
To make espresso coffee, hot and pressurized water percolates (i.e. filters many times through) through grounded coffee. This way, all the essential oils, flavor and aroma of the coffee bean passes to the water, creating espresso coffee.
This makes ‘espresso’ a short coffee (between ½ fl oz and 2 fl oz) which can be drunk quite fast, making espresso a great way to get your caffeine fix if you’re short on time.
Cappuccino is an espresso-based coffee. It’s made by mixing milk foam into a shot of espresso. This depends on how strong you want your coffee to be.
The origins of this coffee can be traced back to Italy, where the Capuchin monk Marco d’Aviano invented it in 1683.
Flat white coffee originates from Australia and New Zealand.
It is similar to Cappuccino, except for that fact that this type of coffee drink includes two shots of espresso. Also, the milk form used in this coffee is thinner and has a more liquid-like consistency. This makes the Flat White stronger than Cappuccino.
Caffe Latte is similar to a Flat White but comes in a much bigger cup. This type of coffee is very popular in Italy (which is where the word originates). Latte means milk and Caffe means coffee. Combined, the name means ‘milk coffee’. In the rest of the world, Caffe Latte is sometimes referred to as a Latte.
This type of coffee drink is also named in Italian, with the word ‘Macchiato’ meaning stained or spotted. This is because a Macchiato is an espresso coffee that’s ‘stained’ i.e. topped with a layer of milk form.
Affogato is technically a mix between a drink and a dessert. In it, you combine a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a shot of espresso. This creates a ‘drink’ which is both hot and cold.
Coffee Grinders: Which One Should You Choose- And Why?
To make any kind of coffee, you are going to need to ground your coffee beans. And the equipment you use to do that can have serious impacts on the quality of the final grind. That’s why, if you seriously want to get that perfect cup of coffee, you need to invest in a high-quality coffee grinder.
There are five kinds of coffee grinders you can buy:
Manual Grinder: This type of coffee grinder works by hand. You have to rotate the grinder yourself to grind the coffee. And the grind produced isn’t very consistent. But on the other hand, this machine is inexpensive, works well and doesn’t need electricity!
Home Grinder with Hopper: This type of coffee grinder comes with a hopper in which you can store additional beans for future grinding. It works with electricity and produces a fine grind - but is very slow.
Espresso Grinder with Doser: This coffee grinder can make very fine grounds that’s necessary for espresso coffee.
Espresso Grinder without Doser: This grinder can grind coffee on demand depending on its programming. This means you always get freshly ground coffee.
Commercial Grinder: This type of grinder is strictly meant for professional use where you need a machine for constant grinding, making it ideal if you need to grind large amounts in a short time.
In addition, here is another main thing which varies in different grinders. The regulator. Here’s what you should know about it:
If your grinder has a regulator with step adjustment, it means you’ll have to increase the ‘steps’ to get a finer ground. The more steps a grinder has, the better you can control the level of grind.
If your grinder has a regulator with step-less (continuous) adjustment, this means you can precisely control how fine you want your coffee to be ground.
Finally, the last thing you should know about coffee grinders:
All of them are mainly divided into two types: Burr and Blade.
The blade coffee grinders have a blade inside them and work similarly to a food processor. The long you spin the blade the finer the grounds.
The downside of using a blade grinder is that it can get hot the more it spins, which means some of the flavors might oxidize (evaporate) the more you grind your coffee.
Burr coffee grinders, on the other hand, have two blades stacked on top of each other. One blade is stationary while the other one moves. There are grooves cut between the blades so that when the blade moves, the grinds which come out are consistent.
Those with Burr blades are the best coffee grinders - but are somewhat expensive.
In Burr coffee grinders, there are two additional types as well. Flat and Conical.
Flat coffee grinders have two flat blades on top of each other.
Conical coffee grinders have two cone-like blades (like a tornado) stacked on top of each other.
With this information in your mind, you’ll be able to choose the right coffee grinder for yourself.
Now, let’s move on to the good stuff. Let’s take a look at the different ways you can make your coffee…
10 Coffee Makers, You Can Use To Make Coffee
No matter what technique you use to make coffee, you’ll need three main things: ground coffee, hot water and a few utensils like a filter, cups, etc. After you’ve got those things, the next thing you need is… well, a coffee maker.
Here are the top ten coffee makers you can buy:
1. Espresso Machine
The espresso machine is one of the most widely used coffee makers ever. The machine shoots pressurized hot water to a chamber full of finely ground coffee. The result is that you get a strong, exotic cup of espresso coffee, which you can drink itself or use to make a cappuccino or a latte.
2. French Press
The French Press is the easiest-to-use coffee machine ever. All you have to do is add ground coffee and boiling water inside the French Press. Then you press the plunger just above the water and let the coffee and water infuse together. After 3-4 minutes, push the plunger all the way down to filter out the coffee particles to the very bottom. The result? Pure, fresh coffee for everyone! The only downside is that the French Press is not very effective at removing all the coffee particles.
The AeroPress coffee maker works similarly to the French Press but takes a lot less time. What you do is put a filter paper on top of the chamber and wet it with hot water. Inside the chamber, you add ground coffee and water up till the number ‘4’ mark on the chamber. You let it sit down for about ten seconds after which you still the mixture. Finally, you close the AeroPress again and push the coffee with the plunger. And similar to the French Press, you get the coffee you wanted.
4. The Clever Coffee Dripper
The clever coffee dripper is also another easy-to-use coffee maker. All you have to do is put in a filter paper, wet it with hot water, put in the ground coffee, add water to it and close the cap. The coffee will brew for a minute or so after which a crust will form on top. Opening the lid, you can break the crust and then close the lid, letting it brew for another 45 seconds. Then you fix the dripper on top of the mug and the coffee will automatically be transferred, leaving behind the coarse coffee granules - and you with high-quality coffee.
5. The Siphon (Vacuum Pot)
The siphon coffee maker produces excellent, clean coffee. The method itself is interesting. First, you have to add hot water to the bottom beaker and bring it to a boil. After it has boiled, you fix the upper beaker with the filter on top of the bottom beaker. The water will come up after which you lower the heat, add the coffee and let it brew. Once done, simply remove the heat and stir the coffee at the same time. Within a minute, the coffee from the top beaker will move downwards towards the lower beaker. The residue of the coffee, meanwhile, will be left on top.
6. The Hario V60
The Hario V60 is a cone-like structure with which you can create awesome pour-over coffee. All you have to do is put the Hario filter paper over the cone, wet it with warm water and put ground coffee on top. After that, you add 30 grams of water over the coffee through the filter paper and let it brew for about 45 seconds. Finally, you add the rest of the 330 grams of water in the Hario V60 cone as slowly as you possibly can. After a minute or so, you’ll be left with your awesome coffee while the coffee residue will stay inside the cone.
7. The Chemex
The Chemex coffee maker works similarly to the Hario, with a few differences. The first difference is that the circular filter paper is much thicker, and you have to fold it four times, creating a cone. The cone should have three folds on one side and one-fold on the other side. Then, put the filter on the upper beaker. Put in 30-35 grams of coffee. Add in 100g of water on top and wait for the mixture to bloom. Then add another 100g of water slowly. You should be left with the residual coffee on the top section while the coffee should pour out completely at the bottom.
8. The Kalita Wave
The Kalita Wave also works like the Hario V60. All you have to do is put in a filter paper in the Kalita Wave, wet it with hot water and put in 18g of coffee. Next, add 50g of water in the Kalita wave and give it 45 seconds to allow the mixture to bloom. Then, add another 50g of water in a spiral motion. Keeping adding 50g of water just before the water level reaches the bottom. Do this until you’ve added 300g of water. In the end, you’ll be left with high-quality coffee.
9. The Moka Pot
The Moka Pot produces espresso-like coffee which tastes very different from the ones we’ve talked above. All you need to do is add 15g of finely ground coffee in the upper chamber and put 15 fl. Oz of hot water in the lower chamber. Then you simply put the Moka pot on heat and as the water boils, the coffee will drip into the upper pot.
10. The Auto-Drip Brewer
Using an auto-drip brewer is an easy way to make coffee. All you have to do is add water and coffee to the machine and let it do its work. Just remember, not all auto-drip coffee brewers are created equal. If you are looking for a convenient way to make coffee, but you don't want to sacrifice quality, we highly recommend you check out the Moccamaster.
Tools and Resources For Making The Best Coffee
Now that you know a whole lot more about coffee than you ever knew, let’s take a look at the top grinders, machines, books (and other goodies) you should get to continue your coffee exploration journey!
Best Coffee Grinders
1. Baratza Encore
Efficient and reliable. This grinder offers multiple coarseness settings (40 settings) and a great uniformity of coffee grounds.
2. Capresso Infinity Burr Grinder
We consider this one of the best burr coffee grinders under $100. If you are on a budget, this is a grinder you should definitely consider.
3. KRUPS Electric Coffee Burr Grinder
This is a little electric grinder ideal for studio apartments and compact kitchens. But what initially attracts buyers is the price. As long as you keep in mind what you’re paying out of your pocket, this little grinder will not leave you disappointed.
Best Coffee Machines
Additional Coffee Resources