Author Archives: West Carolina Cafe

How to Evaluate Coffee Flavor and Aroma

If you’re interested in enhancing how you enjoy your cup of coffee, then one of the most effective ways of doing so is growing your knowledge regarding coffee flavor evaluation. Learning to actually taste the coffee, and developing your sensitive flavor profiles, can not only give you something to talk about over a dinner party, but fine-tuning the evaluation technique sets the stage for in-depth coffee enjoyment. There are three primary categories when it comes to evaluating coffee: coffee body, coffee taste/sensation and coffee aroma. Fine-tune these categories, and you’ll soon be experiencing a whole new world of coffee.

Evaluating the Body of Coffee Flavor

Also referred to as coffee strength, the body of coffee depicts how the coffee actually feels within your mouth. Within the coffee industry, there are literally hundreds of body variations – ranging from light to extra-heavy. In order to further develop your understanding of coffee body, take time to inspect the following qualities in your next cup of Java.

Coffee Viscosity – The thickness, or viscosity, of a coffee variety is used to determine the overall level of the liquid, such as light bodied or heavy bodied. It’s important to train your brain to focus on viscosity as not something that’s solid, but rather the thickness of a liquid. For example, tea has a very light viscosity, it’s not very thick. On the other hand, the cream has a very thick viscosity rate. The thickness of coffee plays a major role in how the rest of your senses observe its flavor. Therefore, a light coffee can be vastly different in flavor than a medium or thick bodied coffee.
Coffee Weight – Many people don’t consider the “weight” of coffee as they take their first morning sip. However, one of the best ways to fine-tune this evaluation method is to allow the coffee to rest in your mouth. Therefore, it’s imperative that you don’t drink coffee that’s too hot. You want to be able to keep the coffee on your tongue for several seconds in order to analyze its texture and weight. While gently moving the coffee throughout your mouth, take note of how “thick” it feels. Does your tongue move easily or is there slight resistance due to its viscosity level?

Evaluating Coffee Sensation on Your Tongue

Much like evaluating the taste and flavor of wine, it’s imperative to take time to feel all the sensations a sip of coffee has on your tongue. Taste buds found on your tongue are some of the most sensitive organs within your body. There are four primary elements of taste buds: bitter, salty, sour and sweet. It’s imperative that you understand where these four sections are found on your tongue. By doing so, you’re able to better evaluate the true flavor profile of coffee. Once fine-tuned, you’ll be surprised by the number of subtle flavors a standard cup of coffee produces. Pay attention to what area of the tongue the first sip of coffee tingles. Try to ignore the flavor sensations that occur at the rear of your tongue, which is where the bitter buds are located. Because all coffee is bitter by nature, focusing on this taste element will do nothing but hinder your overall experience.

What is Third Wave Coffee?

For countless decades, coffee has been an invaluable source of energy and flavor for hundreds of millions of people. Much like any other industry, the coffee industry has undergone several alterations as time progresses. Referred to as “waves,” the development of coffee has remained steady since the 19th Century, when Folgers allowed coffee to be easily accessed by Americans throughout the country. This first introduction of coffee as an easily-obtainable beverage was known as its first wave. The second wave of coffee development was believed to be in the 1960s, when coffee began moving outside of home kitchens and into smartly marketed coffee shops. Fast-forward to the 21st Century, where coffee has moved into more of a “fine foods” category, akin to wine and other connoisseur foods. But what exactly is third wave coffee?

How is Third Wave Coffee Different?

Third wave coffee differs from traditional coffee, which feature a limited number of flavors and brewing options. In this latest wave of “specialty coffee” beans are roasted and brewed in unique ways to bring out the various subtleties of the actual bean. The process of accomplishing this goal is along the same lines as other complex culinary items, such as chocolate or tea. This level of coffee is becoming more mainstream, as many wholesale coffee vendors like Driven Coffee are getting into the movement.

Coffee beans dubbed to be part of the “third wave movement” are those that have been delicately treated and processed to highlight its own unique flavor profiles. Unlike the second-wave of coffee, which primarily focused on blends, third wave coffee narrows its focus on delivering the highest flavor via a single bean type, such as Sumatra Mandheling Coffee.

It’s All About the Roast

Traditionally, the roasting process of coffee was used to either highlight or disguise the natural flavors of a coffee bean. Because many coffee manufacturers utilize blends and added flavors, its roasts tended to be darker. The darker the roast, the less “original” flavor the coffee beans contain. However, in third wave coffee, the roasts are much lighter. The primary purpose of utilizing lighter roasts is to ensure the natural flavor of the coffee bean is not roasted away. By roasting coffee beans up until its first shell “crack,” the beans retain nearly all of its unique flavor profile.

The results from this roasting technique are apparent in coffee shops and via specialty coffee retailers. Instead of blending coffee beans and adding flavor throughout the process, coffee beans are marketed and enjoyed based upon its subtle and unique flavor profile. In order to highlight this flavor, brewing and consumption methods are streamlined toward the flavor of a specific bean. For example, Sumatra Mandheling Coffee is said to be creamy, sweet, spicy, slightly musty with hints of butterscotch.

Distribution of Third Wave Coffee

While third wave coffee has reached all corners of the globe, no country celebrates this movement as much as the United States. While the physical number of third wave coffee shops is significantly lower than a corporation-backed establishments, such as Starbucks, the concentration of specialty shops is steadily growing. While cities such as Portland, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Seattle, Asheville and Chicago are experiencing a boom within the specialty coffee shop niche, the majority of coffee lovers must obtain their specialty beans via mail. In the United States, there are dozens of coffee roasters who specializes in third wave beans and production. While still in its infancy, commentators suggest the proliferation of third wave coffee to continue its expansion.

Green Coffee Bean Extract for Weight Loss

The quest for weight loss is one that’s shared by millions. With over one-third of the United States population being obese or overweight, the weight loss industry is among the most profitable. Because of the demand for weight loss, and the prevalence of unscrupulous marketers, fraudulent claims for the power of certain herbs and compounds to lose weight run rapid. This being noted, preliminary evidence has found green coffee bean extract to support overall weight loss when combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

What Are Green Coffee Beans?

Before delving into the scientific evidence supporting the weight loss claims of green coffee bean extract, what exactly are green coffee beans? In a nut shell, green coffee beans are the best coffee beans around that haven’t undergone the roasting process. The primary reason most holistic and herbal practitioners recommend green coffee beans is because they have a much higher concentration of the compound, chlorogenic acid. Therefore, green coffee bean extract is simply the extract from coffee beans that haven’t been roasted.

Scientific Evidence

Perhaps the reason you’re interested in green coffee bean extract to lose weight is because of the famed television medical show, “Dr. Oz.” On his program, Dr. Oz conducted a controlled study. Within this “study,” 100 women were instructed to consume 400 milligrams of green coffee bean extract or 400 milligrams of a placebo pill. At the conclusion of the two week study, those who took the extract lost an average of two pounds while those on the placebo only lost an average of one pound. Although this isn’t an official controlled study, its findings mirror those found in more professional studies.

In a study published in the January 2012 edition of the “Journal of Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity” researchers found that after consuming green coffee bean extract for six weeks, those taking the supplement experienced a significant loss of weight. In fact, those in the pre-obesity table lost enough weight to be considered in the normal weight range. In both human and animal studies, green coffee bean extract was found to be a substantial aid in overall weight loss. Effects were most notable in those who were in the pre-obese weight range.

Perhaps one of the most interesting elements of this, and other, studies is the fact that green coffee bean extract has shown to be effective at preventing obesity, as well as treating it. Therefore, this extract may be a powerful tool in preventing weight gain, and subsequently, obesity.

Does Coffee Boost Mental Alertness?

Groggy and half asleep, millions of Americans stumble into their kitchen to pour their first cup of dark velvet stimulants, better known as coffee. If you subscribe to the belief that coffee stimulates your mental alertness, then you’re likely aware of the energy and cognitive coffee boost. While this is a common belief, what does science say regarding coffee consumption and an increase in mental alertness?

Caffeine – The Lifeline for Coffee Drinkers

The number one compound within coffee that provides its energy-boosting effects is a common substance known as caffeine. Throughout recent years, caffeine has undergone a significant number of studies to prove or disprove its effectiveness. In one study, researchers found that 75 milligrams of caffeine is all that’s needed to significantly boost mental performance and attention span. This amount of caffeine is found in the best grocery store coffee; however, what about consuming a higher amount of caffeine? Does more caffeine mean more focus?

Although one would assume that consuming more coffee would increase their attention and energy, research has found this to be not true; at least, not completely true. Throughout several studies, researchers found there to be a unique U-curve, which means some subjects experienced greater focus/energy with less caffeine while others experienced significantly more energy and focus when they consume more energy.

Your current coffee consumption habits play a significant role in the effectiveness of coffee on mental alertness. Research has found that those who consume a higher concentration of coffee, and caffeine, require a higher dosage to experience positive benefits. For example, those with low caffeine consumption peaked in performance and cognitive function with as little as 200 milligrams of caffeine; however, those who consume a high concentration of caffeine required nearly 400 milligrams of caffeine to experience the same level of energy and concentration.

In the realm of alertness, caffeine found in coffee has a significant ability to increase mental alertness in those who require it the most; for example, those working nights or those suffering from a cold.

Research has found that those who consume over 220 milligrams of caffeine had a 50% risk reduction in accidents caused by reduced cognitive functions. This amount roughly translates into two eight-ounce cups of coffee.

While early data suggests caffeine is an effective means for enhancing mental clarity and alertness, it does not replace the need for genuine sleep and proper nutrition. Therefore, make it a priority to get ample sleep, eat well and monitor energy-draining substances and behaviors.

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