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Before anything else, there is coffee.

Posted on : 30 January 2018

We all have a favourite coffee spot, a barista who understands exactly how we want our coffee to taste or is located a convenient location for coffee runs at work. But what is it exactly, apart from personal taste, that makes a really good coffee? And what makes an award-winning coffee?

Sydney Royal judges taste for roast level – under roasted, it can have a grassy or sour taste, over roasted, and the coffee can have a smoky or charcoal taste. An underdeveloped roast doesn’t realise the full flavour potential of the coffee, whilst an overdeveloped roast affects mouthfeel and balance.

So is roast the most important factor, and what of roast levels? Light, medium or dark roasted. Light can be floral or citrus in flavour, medium can be fruity or chocolatey whilst dark is rich and bold.

The origin of the coffee beans is another major factor in taste. As a quick guide, Ethiopian coffee is creamy with a fruity taste, Kenyan coffee is syrupy and has a chocolate or dried fruit taste, coffee grown in Panama is expensive and generally floral in flavour, Indonesian coffee is earthy and woody. Australian coffee is the best in the world – it has a clean green image, travels fewer miles and is often from a single estate lot - grown, processed, roasted, and packaged on site. Most coffee grown in Australia is of the Arabica varietal – fragrant, sweet and slightly acidic.

Good coffee is subjective, flavour matters – but each coffee drinker has their own preference for flavour. Roast matters in the way it can affect taste, the origin is important for influence on taste, ethical and fair trade are increasingly important. But most of all, it is worth remembering a yawn is a silent scream for coffee and the first coffee of the day is always a good coffee.

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