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(1) I have never tasted coffee, what does it taste like?

You’re kidding right?!?!

(2) Everyone keeps talking about ‘crema’, what is it?

The froth that is left on the top of the coffee after making it. It can show a number of things including freshness, roast, and type of grind. It also leaves you with a white spot on your nose if you love that coffee cup too much.

(3) Where does Coffee come from?

Go and read our ‘Coffee’ page for all the info on coffee you could wish for.

(4) I have £5 to spend on some coffee, what should I buy?

Buying any type of specialty coffee for £5 is going to be a challenge, but generally this year I have found the South and Central American coffees such as Colombia and Guatemala to be decent. I would generally avoid Asian regions such as Indonesia though, most of their coffee this year has been deader than a stuffed dodo.

(5) I have £10 to spend on some coffee, what should I buy?

Kenyan Peaberry is decent this year. Has a fantastic yellow hue and can take a wider variety of roasts. Square Mile has some for £10 (http://shop.squaremilecoffee.com), and to think, they don’t even pay me for the plug. 

(6) I have £20 to spend on some coffee, what should I buy?

A good bet would be El Salvador Siberia, a 2012 Cup of Excellence. A good deal at £12, available at Has Bean (http://www.hasbean.co.uk/). Hey, look at that, change to spare.

(7) Yo dude, I’m rich. What coffee should I buy?

Buy a lifetime supply of Panamanian Geisha Coffee (no it doesn’t come with a ‘massage’), and die knowing you have drunk the best.

(8) Why is coffee so bitter that it makes me screw up my face like a 5 year old that’s eaten a brussel sprout?

It isn’t. You are just drinking rubbish coffee.

(9) Should I buy ground coffee or whole beans and grind them at home?

It’s always better to buy whole beans and grind them as you need them. After roasting a chemical reaction continues in the bean which will develop over a number of days. Grinding too early disturbs that reaction, but also exposes more of the bean to the air which will cause it to go stale quicker. Coffee also gives off gas after it is roasted, so be wary of any vacuum packed coffee with no air inside. It will usually mean that the coffee has been ground for some time.

(10) I went to a tasting night/experts house, and felt out of my depth.

Coffee experts like wine experts like to take themselves quite seriously. There will be many cups, many spoons, and much slurping and spitting. Quite frankly, enjoy coffee in whatever way brings you the most enjoyment. If that means tipping in half a quart of whiskey, so be it. Experts will usually ‘slurp’ the coffee because it draws into the mouth a large amount of air with the coffee so that your taste buds can extract the subtle flavours. It really does work. Just don’t choke trying! It’s a slurp, not an inhale.

Ciao for now

Chief Bean


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