It’s easy to get lost in the wide variety of coffees that are available today, even without looking much beyond the several roasters that are likely located in your own neighborhood. Deciphering between and comparing roasters and their offerings can seem like a tedious and daunting task.
Coffees grow all over the world: from the South Pacific to North-East Africa; from Mexico to Malawi . They derive their unique flavors and characteristics from their ecological situation- things like soil composition, growing altitude, sunlight and rainfall, wind – and from the care with which the harvested beans are handled. Resulting nuances in flavor and aroma vary drastically: from tobaccos and aged cheeses to citruses and chocolates. So, while many roasters offer coffees with a broad name like “Colombia”, it may take a bit more digging to find the flavors you’re looking for.
As you navigate the immense world of locally roasted coffees, start by asking your roasters which of their offerings are “blended” and which are “single-origin” coffees, and then begin exploring with a few planned steps:
First: compare coffees-of-origin from one roaster in order to teach yourself what you enjoy most: bright citrus-like acidity, mellow and easy-going balance, or wild fruitiness perhaps?
Second: choose a coffee-of-origin that you’ve especially enjoyed and compare offerings from several roasters. Doing this will show you how your roasters select and handle their beans.
Third: begin comparing any blends that your roasters offer. Be sure to ask for their guidance on recommended brewing methods and ratios for each blend. This third step will allow you to fully appreciate the creativity and attention that your roaster uses to bring you these exotic flavors.
Fourth: Enjoy! It’s just a cup of coffee, after all!