Coffee lingo and labeling can be confusing to the average coffee consumer, and sometimes even to coffee shop owners and managers. Like wine labeling, the same words can mean different things depending on where the product is made and labeled. When shopping for different types of coffee, one of the most important concepts to master is the differences between types of coffee roasts and the part of the world where the coffee originated.
Learn About Coffee Origin
In broad terms, origin refers to where the coffee beans were grown. However, coffee origin can get a little more complicated than that. For example, you’ll find coffee labels that refer to single origin or single estate. Single origin can mean several things. It can mean that all of the beans come from a specific region, a single coffee producer or even a single crop. Single estate, as the name implies, means that the beans all come from a single plot of land. (However, that can be a landmass of several hundred acres or several thousand acres.) As with wine, the concept of terroir applies to coffee. That means that the soil composition, sunlight and rainfall found on a specific portion of land affects the taste of the coffee grown there.
Learn About Coffee Roasts
Simply put, coffee roasting is the heating process that turns raw coffee beans (from any locale) into the product that can be ground and brewed to make the drink we all know and love. There are four basic types of coffee roasts–light, medium, medium-dark and dark. Lighter roasts are lighter in color and also have a higher concentration of caffeine. Medium roast is, arguably, the most popular type of coffee roast in the United States. Basically, the darker the roast, the fuller the coffee flavor will be.
Shopping for different coffee styles doesn’t have to be confusing. Become well acquainted with the differences between coffee origin and types of coffee roasts and you’ll be able to shop intelligently for the types of coffee that your customers prefer.