The A to Zs of Coffee (Part I)

The A to Zs of Coffee (Part I)
In the spirit of International Coffee Day, we’re paying homage to this beloved drink with our list of fun-facts!

Ask anyone what is the first thing they need in the morning and nine-out-of-10 replies would be, coffee. But besides helping us to start our day right, did you know that this bittersweet beverage is also a treasure trove brimming with trivia? So, come uncover fun-facts about coffee with us!

This list is split into two parts so you won’t get a caffeine overdose. Don’t miss out on Part II later but for now, grab a steaming cuppa to keep you company!

AeroPress

The A to Zs of Coffee (Part I)
AeroPress brews are thought by some to be more stomach-friendly because it is less acidic and less bitter.

The AeroPress is a coffee brewing system that mainly consists of a plunger, a chamber and a filter cap. Using a simple concept of extracting coffee through air pressure, it produces coffee that’s similar to an espresso shot. Some feel that the AeroPress extracts more full-bodied coffee with lower acidity than an espresso. It’s also touted by some to give even the most sophisticated coffee machines a run for their money.

Bourbon

No, we’re not referring to that other drink that gives you a hangover. In coffee lingo, Bourbon refers to a coffee variety that was planted on the Indian Ocean island, Bourbon (now called Réunion). Bourbon coffees have a slightly sweet flavour with a crispy acidity, but feature a more complex range of flavours depending on where they’re grown.

Cupping

The A to Zs of Coffee (Part I)
While many of us look to coffee for a quick caffeine boost, we seldom take time to really appreciate the work that goes in preparing a fresh brew.

Similar to wine-tasting, coffee-drinking is an art and cupping is a technique to identify the different flavours and sensations you get from a brew. However, unlike sipping wine, the right way to taste coffee is to take a big slurp so that even the subtlest of flavours can reach your palate. The professionals use this to evaluate the quality of different coffees, but regular enthusiasts also participate in cupping sessions to pick up skills on discerning a coffee’s taste notes, mouthfeel and aftertaste.

Decaffeinated coffee

Myth: Decaf coffees don’t contain a single ounce of caffeine.

Truth: Most decaf coffees retain a small percentage of caffeine. They’re made from coffee beans with at least 97{8f42e3536fa1e6f87f919a2e387db08d813e1f513d4d1296def18f34bd27beb4} of their caffeine removed through organic solvents or carbon dioxide. After decaffeination, the beans are roasted and ground.

Espresso

The A to Zs of Coffee (Part I)
The espresso shots from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf boast a caramel-like aroma, velvety body, earthy flavour and a bittersweet finish.

An espresso is a coffee brewing method in which highly-pressurised hot water is forced through very fine coffee beans in a machine, also known as ‘pulling a shot’. This takes barely a minute! With a deeply intense flavour, an espresso shot often forms the base of regular milk-based coffees such as lattes, cappuccinos or mochas.

If you’re the sort who enjoys a kick from pure shots, get your fix at DAL.KOMM COFFEE. Using one of Italy’s most popular coffee machines, the La Cimbali M39, DAL.KOMM’s espressos are incredibly well-balanced and consistent. Or if you’d like a taste of something rich and complex, check out the espresso shots from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

Just remember that it’s pronounced as ‘es-presso’ and not ‘ex-presso’ to earn yourself a nod of approval from the barista!

French Press

The A to Zs of Coffee (Part I)
Get the handy RCP-3BK French Press for just $19.90 from Kitchen+Ware.

The French Press is a fuss-free method of brewing a smooth and full-flavoured cup that retains the organic texture of tiny bean particles. Also known as the cafetiere (coffee press), it comprises of a slim beaker and a plunger with a mesh piston. Get French Presses from Kitchen+Ware before you start making that aromatic French Press brew.

Green beans

The A to Zs of Coffee (Part I)
Here’s how coffee beans look like before they’re roasted!

Not to be confused with the Chinese dessert, unroasted coffee beans are also known as green beans. When stored in an unroasted state, coffee beans have a much longer shelf-life. Green beans taste nothing like roasted beans and have a grassy scent.

House-blend

The A to Zs of Coffee (Part I)
A lowdown on Ollie Kitchen & Bar’s house-blend.

House-blends refer to a mixture of two or more single-origin beans that are typically combined in-house by cafes because the beans complement one another well and produce a richer flavour when brewed together.

Ollie Kitchen & Bar’s Batavia Blend is a mix of Brazilian and Sumatran beans that produces a host of deliciously smooth and creamy taste notes.

Irish Coffee

The A to Zs of Coffee (Part I)
Make your own Irish coffee any time you’re feeling festive!

Coffee plus whiskey? Count us in! The Irish sure had the best of both worlds in mind when they concocted this drink. This cocktail is made out of coffee, Irish whiskey and whipped cream, and is enjoyed as a Christmas drink. But we say, let’s have a swig of this any time of the year! If you share our sentiments, make your own Irish coffee with ingredients from Fairprice Finest, Cold Storage and Wine Connection.

Or if you’re up for a luxurious treat, be sure to savour TCC’s Frosty Baileys. A mix of cold brew coffee and chocolate frappe, it’s a scrumptious blend of sweet flavours and a strong, dark aroma. Trust us, you’ll be coming back for this one.

Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee

As its name suggests, this coffee is grown in the Blue Mountain District of Jamaica. It’s a kind of washed coffee with a smooth and full-bodied texture, mixed with a sweet flavour and a tinge of chocolate taste notes. It’s one of rarest and most sought-after coffees in the world and about 80{8f42e3536fa1e6f87f919a2e387db08d813e1f513d4d1296def18f34bd27beb4} of it is exported to Japan.

Kopi (and all its varieties)

The A to Zs of Coffee (Part I)
Kopi-C is coffee with sugar and evaporated milk, a slight variation from the regular kopi that contains condensed milk. While Kopi-O is black coffee with sugar, perfect if you want to fully savour the smoky and buttery flavours of local coffee.

Of course, this list would be incomplete without good ol’ kopi. The familiar taste of our local coffee’s dark flavours is absolute comfort in a cup. Check out the robust brews from Ya Kun Kaya Toast that go perfectly with their signature fluffy slices of kaya toast.

Best of all, local kopi is customisable and has a slew of variations. Let’s all say this together: Kopi-Peng-Gao-C-Siew-Dai (‘thick’ iced coffee with evaporated milk and less sugar).

And while most of us are familiar with the regular kopi types, here are two slightly unusual ones:
Kopi Ga Dai (coffee with extra sugar) and Kopi Di Lo (coffee ‘extra thick’). So, try it out the next time you order your kopi!

Luwak Coffee

Don’t flinch – the most expensive coffee in the world is made out of cat poop. Yes, you read right. Kopi Luwak, which is sold for up to US$100 a cup, is made from coffee beans that have been digested and passed out from Indonesian civet cats, which are known to eat the ripest coffee cherries.

Maturity

Just like people, coffee takes years and various stages before they mature. This probably explains our affinity with this beloved drink!

Coffee seeds take about two to six months to germinate. It then takes about five years on average for a coffee tree to mature. And when the coffee cherries ripen with a deep red colour, they are ready for harvest. Sounds complicated? That’s only the beginning. The harvested cherries then have to be processed into coffee beans, roasted, ground and brewed before finally reaching our cup-full of coffee goodness!

Watch this space for Part II of our coffee trivia, where you’ll find out how coffee is processed and roasted, and other incredible facts!

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