Isn’t there a famous quote, “The key to wisdom is knowing all the right questions”? Thank you for taking the time to send your inquiries our way. I thought I’d answer your questions in this Coffee Chronicle to share with others.
Question: “Is price reflective of quality?”
~ D. Foster Spokane Valley, WA
Simon Answers: “Ahhhhhh, the age old question applies to coffee, too. Yes, for the most part, the price of coffee is a reflection of it’s quality. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule. Coffees can be priced high due to short supply, mystique or marketing. Examples might be Pure Hawaiian Kona, Jamaican Blue Mountain or Sumatra Kopi Luwak. But a good rule of thumb is, “there is no such thing as great, cheap coffee”. The best coffee in the world is grown at elevation in remote mountainous areas. It is nurtured during the growing stages, picked selectively and processed carefully. Subsequently, the better coffees command a higher price because of the great care, time and attention in their development. We are honored to find these quality coffees for you.”
Question: “I read somewhere that if my espresso tastes bitter or sour I should consider removing the crema. Is that right?”
~ P. Miles Grand Junction, CO
Simon Answers: “After 20 years in the coffee business, I have learned there are few absolutes. So, if espresso minus the crema is your preference, have at it. From where we sit, at Cravens Coffee, if the crema (rich, creamy intense extraction of coffee flavor that sits on top of your espresso shot) is “off-tasting” it is simply a symptom of something bigger such as improper extraction or the recipe for the espresso blend itself.
Espresso blending is difficult. It’s when you take different beans from different countries or origins and at different roast levels combine them for a specific taste profile. A recipe, if you will. It’s very subjective and harder than it sounds. If there are certain coffees we require for our blends, there are just as many roasters who would never choose those same coffees. Sometimes it’s a matter of taste. Other times it’s a matter of price. At Cravens Coffee, espresso blending is about achieving sweetness and body in the cup. We’d like to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. What qualities do you value in an espresso?
Question: “Do I use less coffee if I use a coarse grind vs a fine grind?”
~ S. Post Kalispell, MT
Simon Answers: “Not exactly. Grind is relative to the time the coffee is in contact with the water. For example, French Press ground coffee is very coarse due to a 5 minute steeping process to fully extract the coffee flavor. Espresso, on the other hand, is finely ground due to the 20-25 second time the coffee is being extracted under pressure. In the middle of these two methods, drip brewed coffee, which is controlled by gravity and turbulence, requires a medium grind.”
Thank you for choosing Cravens Coffee!
p.s. Just for fun, check out our homespun video from last Sunday’s Eastern Washington Komen Race for the Cure. 90 gallons of coffee (!), inspiring stories and beautiful spirits. It was an honor to serve! Keep the spirit alive with a purchase of Survivor Blend thru the month of May!