With St. Patrick’s Day a few days away, I’m finding it oddly difficult to simply say “Hey!” This time of year, I would much rather whip out a ridiculous excuse for an Irish accent and greet everyone with “Top of the morning to ya!” As I refrained from doing so today, I started thinking about the meaning of the phrase. This got me thinking about mornings. Like most of you, my mornings are dictated by one thing–and one thing alone–a fresh cup of Joe. So to top all of your mornings off, here are a few facts about the world’s 2nd most traded commodity (after petroleum)!
First of all–just like a Leprechaun–all coffee starts out green! There are a lot of different types of coffee plants, but most are covered in pretty flowers and red “berries”.
On the inside of berries we find little green beans that, like anything else, turn brown when roasted. The longer you roast a bean, the darker it turns. So when you walk into a coffee shop and are asked what roast you’d like, it’s pretty much the same as choosing rare, medium-rare, or well-done at a steakhouse.
Coffee Roasting is a very precise science. When coffee is roasted its flavour is altered and its caffeine and acid are broken down. Some roasters will “marinate” the beans with spices and flavouring before roasting. That’s how we get coffee that tastes like Irish Cream or a Winter Carnival (whatever that means?)
Flavouring will burn off of beans if they roast too long, but the spices usually become more intense. Lastly, if the beans are over-roasted (past a dark roast) you get a shiny top-layer on your coffee (oil) and it doesn’t really taste like anything!
So what does that translate to?
Light Roast | High in Caffeine, Low in flavour, and high in acidity
Usually labelled as “Breakfast Blend,” this roast is for people who don’t really like the taste of coffee, but like to jump start their day with a warm, energizing beverage.
Medium Roast | Caffeine, Most flavourful, and high in acidity
This blend is best known as a “house blend” and is usually the base for flavoured coffee.
Dark Roast | Least Caffeine, Strong Flavour, and least acidity
Dark roast is for serious coffee drinkers. A “coffee snob” will take a sip of this stuff and ramble off something like “ahh, this roast is spicy with a hint of smoke.”
I hope this helps you make a good choice in the drive-thru this morning!