10 Signs You’re Drinking Really Good Coffee
Hi, I’m Brian, a coffee aficionado, blogger, and former Army veteran. I’m here to share with you some tips on how to enjoy really good coffee. Whether you’re a coffee lover or a coffee novice, you’ll find something useful in this article. So grab your favorite mug and let’s get started!
Coffee is more than just a drink. It’s a culture, a passion, a way of life. But how do you know if you’re drinking really good coffee? How can you tell the difference between a mediocre cup and a superb one? Here are 10 signs that you’re drinking really good coffee.
Rich and Inviting Aroma
One of the first things that attracts us to coffee is its aroma. A good coffee should have a rich and inviting aroma that makes you want to take a sip. The aroma of coffee is influenced by many factors, such as the freshness, quality, and roast level of the beans, as well as the brewing method and grind size.
A freshly brewed coffee emanates a delightful aroma that fills the air and stimulates your senses. The aroma of coffee comes from the volatile compounds that are released during roasting and brewing. These compounds degrade over time, so the fresher the coffee, the more aromatic it is. That’s why it’s important to buy fresh roasted beans from reputable roasters, such as Aerial Resupply Coffee, and grind them right before brewing.
Complex and Alluring Scents
A good coffee should have a complex and alluring scent that reveals its origin and character. Depending on the type and origin of the beans, you may detect different aromas in your coffee, such as floral, fruity, nutty, spicy, chocolatey, or earthy. These aromas are influenced by the terroir of the coffee, which refers to the environmental factors that affect its growth and flavor, such as soil, climate, elevation, and processing method.
Smooth and Balanced Flavor Profile
The aroma of coffee is only half of the story. The other half is its flavor profile, which is how it tastes on your tongue. A good coffee should have a smooth and balanced flavor profile that pleases your palate and satisfies your cravings.
No Bitterness or Overwhelming Acidity
A good coffee should not taste bitter or sour. Bitterness and acidity are two different aspects of coffee flavor that need to be balanced. Bitterness is a sensation that comes from the compounds that are extracted from the roasted beans during brewing. Acidity is a sensation that comes from the organic acids that are naturally present in the beans. Both bitterness and acidity can enhance the flavor of coffee when they are in harmony, but they can also ruin it when they are excessive or unbalanced.
Some of the factors that can cause bitterness or overwhelming acidity in coffee are:
- Over-roasting: Roasting too dark can burn the beans and create bitter compounds.
- Over-extraction: Brewing too long or with too fine a grind can extract too much from the beans and create bitter compounds.
- Under-extraction: Brewing too short or with too coarse a grind can extract too little from the beans and create sour compounds.
- Poor quality beans: Low-quality beans can have defects or contaminants that can affect their flavor negatively.
- Stale beans: Old beans can lose their freshness and flavor and become bitter or sour.
To avoid these problems, you should use high-quality beans that are roasted to an optimal level for their origin and type. You should also use a proper brewing technique that matches your grind size and brew time to your preferred strength and body.
Distinct Flavor Notes
A good coffee should not only taste smooth and balanced, but also distinct. A good coffee should have distinct flavor notes that distinguish it from other coffees. These flavor notes are the subtle nuances of taste that come from the unique characteristics of the beans and their origin.
For example, some coffees may have flavor notes of chocolate, caramel, vanilla, or nuts. These are common flavor notes that come from the roasting process and are often found in coffees from Latin America. Other coffees may have flavor notes of citrus, berries, stone fruits, or flowers. These are common flavor notes that come from the natural sugars and acids in the beans and are often found in coffees from Africa or Asia.
To appreciate these flavor notes, you should pay attention to how your coffee tastes as it cools down. As the temperature changes, different flavor notes may become more prominent or fade away. You should also try different coffees from different origins and roasts to explore their diversity and complexity.
Crisp and Clean Aftertaste
The aftertaste of coffee is how it lingers on your tongue after you swallow it. A good coffee should have a crisp and clean aftertaste that leaves you refreshed and satisfied.
Lingering Pleasant Aftertaste
A good coffee should have a pleasant aftertaste that lasts for a few seconds or minutes after you finish your cup. The aftertaste of coffee is influenced by the same factors that affect its aroma and flavor, such as the freshness, quality, roast level, and brewing method of the beans. A good coffee should have an aftertaste that reflects its aroma and flavor profile, without any unpleasant or off-putting notes.
For example, a good coffee with a chocolatey flavor profile should have a chocolatey aftertaste. A good coffee with a fruity flavor profile should have a fruity aftertaste. A good coffee with a floral flavor profile should have a floral aftertaste. And so on.
Appropriate Strength and Body
The strength and body of coffee are how it feels on your tongue and in your mouth. A good coffee should have an appropriate strength and body that match your preferences and expectations.
Boldness Without Overpowering
The strength of coffee is how intense or concentrated it tastes. A strong coffee has a lot of flavor, while a weak coffee has little flavor. The strength of coffee is influenced by the ratio of water to coffee grounds, as well as the roast level and brewing method of the beans.
A good coffee should have a strength that is bold without overpowering. A good coffee should have enough flavor to satisfy your taste buds, but not so much that it masks the nuances of the beans or overwhelms your senses. A good coffee should also have a strength that is consistent with its roast level and brewing method.
For example, a good espresso should have a strong flavor, since it is made with finely ground beans and high-pressure water. A good cold brew should have a mild flavor, since it is made with coarsely ground beans and cold water.
The body of coffee is how thick or thin it feels in your mouth. A full-bodied coffee has a lot of texture, while a light-bodied coffee has little texture. The body of coffee is influenced by the amount of oils and solids that are extracted from the beans during brewing, as well as the roast level and brewing method of the beans.
A good coffee should have a full-bodied texture that is satisfying and smooth. A good coffee should have enough texture to coat your tongue and mouth, but not so much that it feels heavy or gritty. A good coffee should also have a body that is consistent with its roast level and brewing method.
For example, a good French press should have a full-bodied texture, since it is made with coarsely ground beans and a metal filter that allows more oils and solids to pass through. A good pour-over should have a light-bodied texture, since it is made with finely ground beans and a paper filter that traps most of the oils and solids.
Optimal Brewing Technique
The brewing technique of coffee is how you prepare it for drinking. There are many different ways to brew coffee, such as drip, pour-over, French press, espresso, cold brew, and more. Each brewing technique has its own advantages and disadvantages, as well as its own requirements and parameters.
A good coffee should be brewed with an optimal technique that brings out its best qualities and flavors.
The extraction of coffee is how much you get out of the beans during brewing. The extraction of coffee is influenced by many factors, such as the grind size, water temperature, brew time, agitation, and turbulence. The extraction of coffee affects its aroma, flavor, aftertaste, strength, and body.
A good coffee should be brewed with a proper extraction that balances all these aspects. A proper extraction means that you get enough from the beans to create a flavorful and satisfying cup, but not too much or too little that you create an unpleasant or bland cup.
A proper extraction can be measured by using tools such as refractometers or TDS meters that measure the concentration or solubility of the brewed coffee. However, these tools are not always available or practical for home use. A simpler way to gauge the extraction of your coffee is to taste it and adjust accordingly.
No Over-Extraction or Under-Extraction
The most common problems that affect the extraction of coffee are over-extraction and under-extraction. Over-extraction means that you get too much from the beans during brewing, resulting in a bitter, harsh, or dry cup. Under-extraction means that you get too little from the beans during brewing, resulting in a sour, weak, or watery cup.
Some of the signs and causes of over-extraction are:
- Grind size: Too fine
- Water temperature: Too high
- Brew time: Too long
- Agitation: Too much
- Turbulence: Too much
Some of the signs and causes of under-extraction are:
- Grind size: Too coarse
- Water temperature: Too low
- Brew time: Too short
- Agitation: Too little
- Turbulence: Too little
To avoid over-extraction or under-extraction, you should follow the recommended parameters for your brewing technique and adjust them as needed based on your taste preferences and
the quality and freshness of your beans.
Quality Coffee Beans
The quality of the coffee beans is the most important factor that determines the quality of the coffee. No matter how good your brewing technique is, you can’t make a good coffee with bad beans. A good coffee should be made with quality coffee beans that are ethically sourced, fresh, and high-quality.
Ethically Sourced Beans
A good coffee should be made with ethically sourced beans that respect the environment and the people who grow them. Ethically sourced beans are grown in a sustainable way that preserves the natural resources and biodiversity of the land. Ethically sourced beans are also traded in a fair way that ensures the farmers and workers receive a decent income and living conditions.
Ethically sourced beans are often certified by organizations such as Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, or Organic. These certifications guarantee that the beans meet certain standards of environmental and social responsibility. However, not all ethically sourced beans are certified, and not all certified beans are ethically sourced. Therefore, it’s important to do some research on the origin and practices of the roasters and suppliers you buy from.
One of the roasters that I trust and recommend is Aerial Resupply Coffee, a veteran-owned coffee brand that sources its beans from small farms around the world. Aerial Resupply Coffee supports the farmers and communities that grow its beans by paying them above-market prices and investing in their development. Aerial Resupply Coffee also donates a portion of its profits to veteran charities and causes.
Fresh and High-Quality Coffee Beans
A good coffee should be made with fresh and high-quality coffee beans that have been harvested, processed, and stored properly. Fresh and high-quality coffee beans have a rich flavor and aroma that reflect their origin and variety. Fresh and high-quality coffee beans also have a consistent size, shape, color, and moisture content that ensure an even roast and extraction.
Some of the factors that affect the freshness and quality of coffee beans are:
- Harvesting: The beans should be picked when they are ripe and mature, usually by hand or by selective machines.
- Processing: The beans should be processed as soon as possible after harvesting, either by washing, drying, or fermenting them to remove the pulp and mucilage.
- Storing: The beans should be stored in a cool, dry, dark, and well-ventilated place to prevent mold, insects, or oxidation.
- Shipping: The beans should be shipped in a timely manner to avoid delays or damage during transit.
- Roasting: The beans should be roasted by skilled roasters who know how to bring out their best flavors and aromas.
To ensure that you get fresh and high-quality coffee beans, you should buy them from reputable roasters who roast their beans in small batches and on demand. You should also check the roast date on the package and buy only what you need for a week or two. You should store your beans in an airtight container away from heat, light, and moisture.
Well-Balanced Roast Level
The roast level of coffee is how dark or light the beans are roasted. The roast level of coffee affects its flavor, aroma, body, acidity, bitterness, caffeine content, and shelf life. A good coffee should have a well-balanced roast level that suits its origin and type.
Not Too Light, Not Too Dark
A good coffee should have a roast level that is not too light or too dark for its origin and type. A roast level that is too light or too dark can mask or alter the natural characteristics of the beans.
A light roast is when the beans are roasted until they reach the first crack, which is when they expand and make a popping sound. A light roast preserves most of the original flavor and aroma of the beans, as well as their acidity and caffeine content. However, a light roast can also be underdeveloped or sour if not done properly.
A dark roast is when the beans are roasted until they reach the second crack, which is when they release oils and make a cracking sound. A dark roast creates a more intense flavor and aroma of the beans, as well as their body and bitterness. However, a dark roast can also be overdone or burnt if not done properly.
A medium roast is somewhere between a light roast and a dark roast. A medium roast balances the original flavor and aroma of the beans with the roasting flavor and aroma. A medium roast also balances the acidity and caffeine content with the body and bitterness.
The ideal roast level for a good coffee depends on its origin and type. For example,
- Coffees from Africa or Asia tend to have more acidity and floral or fruity flavors. They are usually roasted lighter to highlight these qualities.
- Coffees from Latin America tend to have more sweetness and nutty or chocolatey flavors. They are usually roasted medium to enhance these qualities.
- Coffees from Indonesia tend to have more earthiness and spice or herbal flavors. They are usually roasted darker to complement these qualities.
Of course, these are generalizations that may not apply to all coffees from these regions. The best way to find out the optimal roast level for a good coffee is to try different roasts and see what you like.
Roast Date Transparency
A good coffee should have a roast date transparency that tells you when the beans were roasted. The roast date is important because it tells you how fresh the beans are. The fresher the beans, the better the coffee.
Coffee beans are at their peak flavor and aroma within a few days or weeks after roasting, depending on the roast level and storage conditions. After that, they start to lose their freshness and flavor and become stale. Stale coffee beans taste flat, dull, or rancid.
To avoid stale coffee, you should buy beans that have a clear roast date on the package and use them within a month or two of roasting. You should also avoid buying beans that have a best before date or an expiration date instead of a roast date. These dates are usually too vague or too long and do not reflect the actual freshness of the beans.
Consistency Across Brews
The consistency of coffee is how it tastes and feels across different brews. A good coffee should have a consistency that is reliable and predictable.
Consistent Taste Profile
A good coffee should have a consistent taste profile that matches its description and expectations. A good coffee should taste the same or similar every time you brew it, regardless of the brewing technique or equipment you use.
A consistent taste profile indicates that the coffee is made with quality and uniform beans that are roasted and brewed with care and precision. A consistent taste profile also indicates that the coffee is stored and handled properly to prevent any changes or deterioration in its flavor and aroma.
No Drastic Flavor Fluctuations
A good coffee should have no drastic flavor fluctuations that deviate from its normal taste profile. A good coffee should not taste drastically different from one brew to another, unless you intentionally change some variables or parameters.
Some of the factors that can cause drastic flavor fluctuations in coffee are:
- Inconsistent grind size: A grind size that is too fine or too coarse can affect the extraction and flavor of the coffee.
- Inconsistent water temperature: A water temperature that is too high or too low can affect the extraction and flavor of the coffee.
- Inconsistent brew time: A brew time that is too long or too short can affect the extraction and flavor of the coffee.
- Inconsistent water quality: A water quality that is too hard or too soft can affect the extraction and flavor of the coffee.
- Inconsistent bean quality: A bean quality that is uneven or variable can affect the flavor and aroma of the coffee.
- Inconsistent bean freshness: A bean freshness that is old or stale can affect the flavor and aroma of the coffee.
To avoid drastic flavor fluctuations in your coffee, you should use consistent and accurate measurements and methods for your brewing technique and equipment. You should also use fresh and filtered water for your brewing. You should also buy fresh and quality beans from reliable roasters and suppliers.
Enjoyment and Satisfaction
The enjoyment and satisfaction of coffee are how it makes you feel after drinking it. A good coffee should make you feel happy and fulfilled.
Personal Palate Alignment
A good coffee should align with your personal palate, which is your individual preference and taste for coffee. A good coffee should match your expectations and desires for how you want your coffee to taste and feel.
Your personal palate is influenced by many factors, such as your genetics, culture, experience, mood, and context. Your personal palate may also change over time as you try new coffees or develop new tastes. Therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for what makes a good coffee for everyone.
The best way to find a good coffee that aligns with your personal palate is to experiment with different coffees from different origins, roasts, types, and brews. You should also pay attention to how each coffee affects your senses, emotions, and thoughts. You should also be open-minded and curious about new coffees and flavors.
The ultimate sign of a good coffee is how much you enjoy it. A good coffee should make you smile, sigh, or say “wow”. A good coffee should make you feel relaxed, energized, or inspired. A good coffee should make you want more, share it with others, or remember it fondly.
A good coffee is not only a drink, but also an experience. A good coffee is not only a product, but also an art. A good coffee is not only a habit, but also a passion.
In this article, I have shared with you 10 signs that you’re drinking really good coffee. These signs are based on the aroma, flavor, aftertaste, strength, body, brewing technique, bean quality, roast level, consistency, and enjoyment of your coffee. By following these guidelines, you can identify and appreciate really good coffee.
However, the best way to enjoy really good coffee is to try it yourself. That’s why I recommend you to check out Aerial Resupply Coffee, a veteran-owned coffee brand that offers some of the best coffees in the world. Aerial Resupply Coffee has a variety of coffees to suit your preferences and tastes, such as:
- Light roasts: If you like bright and fruity coffees, try their Lifeline Light Roast or their Spring Kitty Salted Caramel Mocha Coffee.
- Medium roasts: If you like smooth and balanced coffees, try their Fire Watch Medium Roast or their MOAB Double Caffeinated Medium Roast.
- Dark roasts: If you like bold and intense coffees, try their 15W40 Dark Roast or their Spectre Dark Espresso Roast.
- Flavored coffees: If you like fun and festive coffees, try their Pumpkin Kitty or their Christmas Kitty Peppermint Mocha Coffee.
You can order these coffees online and get them delivered to your door in no time. You can also visit The Flightline Cafe on Aerial Resupply Coffee’s website to learn more about coffee and read more tips, tricks, and stories from me.
Thank you for reading this article and for supporting Aerial Resupply Coffee. I hope you have a great day and a great cup of coffee. Cheers!