Are you one of those people that hates life itself before having that first cup of coffee in the morning? If you are among those that feel they are kick-started by that delicious cup of coffee in the morning, then you’ve probably heard of specialty coffee and coffee pods or capsules. But you might also wonder what is the deal with this specialty coffee that anyone is talking about? What is so special about it?
Let’s have a look at these both options: specialty coffee and coffee pods, and only then, you will be able to decide which applies to you.
Specialty coffee is that pure coffee that has the best flavor. To be able to get the best results possible and produce specialty coffee you need a certain climate and seed. Extreme care and attention go into the process of farming such beans.
There are two options to harvest the coffee trees: to pick all beans at once or to selectively pick them. The first method is easier and takes less time, but it does not guarantee the best results, but it has less loss. The selective picking is done for most specialty coffee that reaches your favorite coffee shop. It means that workers pick the beans only once they are fully ripe. A thing that not many people know is that coffee expires fast. Therefore, you need to quickly stop the spoiling process. For coffee beans this step is done by exposing them to the sun. To get specialty coffee it is very important to sort good beans from bad beans, because one single bean can spoil the whole perfect cup.
But the most important step in producing specialty coffee is the roasting process. Just as there are people with an extensive sense of smell that work in the perfume industry, such are those that specialize in roasting specialty coffee beans that have special taste buds. Specialty coffee roasters combine taste, chemistry and physics to get the perfect roast of the beans. It is still essential to know that if you only add water to coffee beans without roasting them first, you’ll just get a slightly brown water with a very diminished coffee taste. That is why the specialty coffee roaster is such an important person in the process of making quality coffee. It is their skill and training that ensures the perfect temperature, heat wave and time that will result in that perfect cup of coffee. One of the most important qualities coffee achieves through the roasting process is the solubility, the more it becomes soluble, the better the taste. The specialty coffee roaster knows the exact heat and degree of roast are needed to get a specific flavor. For example, a lightly roasted bean will have a light, cinnamon taste, while a dark brown color will lead to a French espresso taste. We could talk for days about the art and science the specialty coffee roaster needs to possess in order to be able to find a specific taste or strength.
Unfortunately, there is not much to talk about coffee pods. Apart from the fact that they usually contain a rather small quantity of coffee, the importance the producers give to the quality of said coffee is rather small. Producers of coffee pods usually have in mind the purpose they serve for their costumers, and that is the ease of making a coffee and the possibility of imagining you drink a macchiato in your own dining room just because it says so on the label. Apart from the fact that real and passionate coffee drinkers usually kind of frown upon cappuccinos or other “-oes”, and they tend to favor the classic espresso, those that come in a pod are not even close to the real thing. Even those pods that contain just coffee and no other additive or taste enhancers to form a “flavored coffee”, are often under scrutiny regarding the safety of their use. Apart from lacking in taste, mainly because they contain regular coffee and not specialty, they also pose an environmental threat. I was surprised to find out that coffee pods containers are made of a combination of plastic and aluminum that is almost impossible to recycle. It seems it could take millennia for this kind of waste to disappear.
I am convinced that it is worth mentioning in regard to both kinds of coffee: specialty and pods, one very important feature of coffee. This is important in terms of taste mostly and it relates to freshness. If you are a coffee passionate you have probably heard of fresh roasted coffee. As I was mentioning in the beginning an essential factor related to coffee is that it has a very small expiration period. After you pick it, you need to immediately dry it, then pack it and send it to the roaster. The specialty coffee roaster will roast the beans immediately because any time lost is evident in the taste. That is why specialty coffee roasters usually print the roasting date on the package. This date will speak to the freshness of the coffee and its flavor. Unfortunately, after roasting if you grind that coffee, its freshness is even more volatile. That is why it is almost impossible to preserve freshness in pods.
Yes, it might take you a bit more time to make your own cup of specialty coffee, but it is certainly worth the time and money. Apart from the pure joy of tasting an incredible coffee, with hidden flavors that roll down your tongue, that pure, beautiful coffee is also beneficial to your health. It is known that coffee beans have antiaging properties, they contain antioxidants and help your body and brain stay young.