Seeds Coffee - Birmingham, Ala Coffee Roasting / Coffee  / 5 Ways to Tell if Your Coffee Is Good
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5 Ways to Tell if Your Coffee Is Good

We believe that not all coffee is created equally, from when it is grown to when it turns into a delicious cup or latte. If you’ve ever tasted coffee from a specialty coffee shop versus coffee from a Starbucks or supermarket, then you know this truth – that coffee can vary widely in taste and quality.

But how do you know that the coffee you’re about to drink is “good”?

Coffee can be very subjective, just like most things. What you think is good may differ from what your friend thinks. However, there are a few characteristics that most good coffees share, and if you learn them, you can learn how to evaluate each type of coffee on its own merits to find the ones you like the most.

Here’s how to discern a good cup from an average one.

Smell the Aroma

Coffee should have an appealing aroma that will help you not only anticipate what you’re about to drink, but also enjoy the taste more, since taste and smell are inextricably linked. The better something smells, all things considered equal, the better it’ll taste.

Enjoy the smell. If you can’t, then there’s a decent chance the taste probably won’t be to your liking.

Feel the Temperature

Coffee needs to be served at the right temperature for maximum flavor. If it’s too cold, it will not only be unpleasant, but will also be sour. If it’s too hot, you won’t be able to taste the fine flavors of the coffee and there’s a good chance the coffee will be too bitter.

Temperature can dramatically affect the taste of a drink. Even a slight variation can determine which flavors you detect. At Seeds, we carefully control the temperature at which we prepare our coffee in order to maximize the taste notes and flavor profiles of each drink.

Temperature also plays a role in how the coffee is roasted. Over-roasting coffee beans is a thing and will definitely impact the taste of the coffee, as we’ll soon explain.

Savor the Body

The body of a coffee is how “heavy” or viscous it is. The best way to understand body is to imagine a cup of coffee that tastes like water. We’ve all had those cups before. It’s unpleasant because it lacks body. Coffee should have some weight to it. It should have more of a presence in your mouth than water, because that allows the flavors to settle in on your taste buds.

Of course, you can have too much body, which creates coffee that feels like sludge. A skilled barista can give you coffee with just the right amount of body.

Experience the Taste

We’re coming to the big part of whether or not coffee is good: how it tastes.

Taste is very subjective. What tastes good for you may not taste good for someone else. Generally, your brain will tell you if coffee is “good” or “bad” based on how your taste buds interpret the flavors.

Regardless of how you like the taste, though, good coffee shouldn’t be too bitter, too sour, or too dry. Balance brings out the flavor notes of a drink and allows the strengths of the bean to come out.

And, to show you how all of these characteristics play into one another, coffee that is over-roasted will taste burnt, which is why we use a light to medium roast for our beans. (Some popular chains of coffee that we won’t mention tend to over-roast their beans in part to make up for the lower quality of bean that they import.)

Enjoy the Aftertaste

The aftertaste matters because it’s the last sensation of a sip that you’ll get. You can have coffee that tastes great once it’s in your mouth, but leaves behind a sticky, sour, or bitter aftertaste. That’s not very pleasant, which is why the best types of coffee have a pleasing aftertaste.

Good coffee aftertaste leaves you wanting to drink more.

Your search for good coffee may not yet be over. If you haven’t found coffee you really love, we encourage you to stop by one of our locations (in Homewood and Lakeview) to experience the best of what we have to offer. We’d love to be the ones to introduce you to what really good coffee is supposed to be.