You might be one of the millions upon millions of people who enjoy a cup of morning coffee every day to start things off right. You may also need the mid-morning pick-me-up brew, or a coffee break with co-workers before, during or after lunch, or any other time during the day. Maybe you even enjoy a smooth cup of decaf in the evening after the long day is finished. Whether your coffee habit constitutes one drink a day or several, you are not alone in a routine that so many people find not only enjoyable but necessary to get through the day.
What’s your favorite coffee roast? Dark? Light? Somewhere in between? Here’s a “coffee 101” guide to coffee roasts from light to dark.
The degree to which coffee beans are roasted is one of the most important factors that determine the taste of the coffee in the cup. Before roasting, green coffee beans are soft, with a fresh “grassy” smell and little or no taste. The coffee roasting process transforms these raw beans into the distinctively aromatic, flavorful, crunchy beans that we recognize as coffee.
The popularity of coffee continues to rise and shows no signs of abating. You only need to look at your local high street or shopping center to see a new coffee shop appearing almost weekly. The increasing consumption of coffee brings with it environmental challenges but it is fair to say that the coffee industry is taking positive action to tackle these issues head on.
There was a brief window heading into the summer of 2015 when all kinds of food-focused publications were ready to declare cold brewed cocoa the next big drink trend. Then it really wasn’t.
We’re not totally sure who was first behind the cold brew cocoa buzz that year — a crown year for enlightenment in the cold coffee market among specialty coffee sellers — though one particularly memorable heralding came by way of Quartz, which did a big, splashy feature on the history of cocoa brewed cold.
In short, cold brew cocoa essentially follows the same principles and recipes as cold brew coffee, except instead of ground coffee that sits with filtered water at room- or refrigerated-temperatures for X amount of time, it is typically ground cacao nibs. The resulting beverage is not overly sweet and milk-laden like traditional hot cocoa, but more nuanced and subtle, while begging for use as a base for cocktail or mocktail type drinks.
Some high-end chocolatiers, coffee purveyors and tea shops have indeed been experimenting with cold brew cocoa for years, but a new market trends analysis from the market research firm Mintel suggests cold brew cocoa’s moment in the specialty beverage spotlight may actually be now — as opposed to two years ago — following a major release from Starbucks and increased attention on the potential health benefits of specialty drinks.
“The tea and coffee markets have each successfully made the jump from hot to cold drink, the former most recently with the cold brew and nitro coffee trends,” Mintel Global Food and Drinks Analyst Alex Beckett wrote in the analysis last week. “Now, cocoa may be braced to make a similar transition into the chilled drinks fixture.”
Beckett argues that Starbucks’ launch of a “Cold Brew Cocoa and Honey” bottled beverage this spring, though more of a traditional cold brew coffee with added ingredients, has helped propel consumer consciousness of the cold cocoa concept, while creating some mental separation between chocolate and cocoa as drinks ingredients.
The analysis also points to the potential yet largely unproven benefits of cocoa nibs as drinks ingredients. Cocoa is well-known to be high in theobromine, an alkaloid and stimulant that has been shown to dilate blood vessels and to potentially decrease blood pressure or positively affect mood, while also acting as a diuretic and stimulant that can have the same kind of potential negative effects associated with caffeine.
“At the heart of the relationship between health and chocolate is the cocoa content, and the higher the percentage of cocoa, the bigger the associated better-for-you benefits,” the analysis stated. “In Europe, there is significant consumer interest in seeing more chocolate which retains the nutrients of the cocoa beans. With this in mind, there could be opportunities for cold brew cocoa to communicate the level of cocoa content, or provenance of the cocoa. For various reasons, the cold brewed coffee boom is struggling to replicate its US success in Europe, but maybe the allure of chocolate will help cold brew cocoa find greater success.”
In our continuous quest to make coffee drinking and coffee making better and more approachable for everyone, we have rounded up some of the best apps for all coffee lovers out there, we hope you enjoy them, and let us know some of your fav ones!
It's no surprise that technology and coffee go hand in hand. While the act of brewing can be a very simple thing (water, grounds, go), it can also be a very technical thing (grounds-to-water ratio, for example) — not to mention how precise espresso-making gets.
Technology can in fact help you to make better coffee. For all you tech and coffee lovers out there, here are nine different apps that are all coffee-related, from helping you make coffee to helping you find the best cafe wherever you are.
APPS FOR MAKING COFFEE
1. KoHi - Pour Over Coffee Brewing
KoHi, by KoHi Labs, comes out at the top of the list for those who make coffee professionally (or just in a super geeky manner at home). The "brew calculator, timer, and recipe manager" lets you select what type of pour-over method you're using (Chemex? French press? AeroPress?) and will help ensure that your coffee is in tip-top shape. It means no more guessing about your beans-to-water ratio and how long you should let them infuse. Just put in how much coffee you want to brew, how you're going to brew it, and KoHi will work out the rest.
2. Intelligentsia Coffee
Well-known Chicago specialty coffee roaster Intelligentsia's app includes brew guides for different methods, a timer, and a customizable brewing calculator. To use the timer, you choose your brew method, then enter the weight of beans you are using, and the app tells you how much water to use. Of course, Intelligentsia is in the business of selling coffee, so you can purchase their beans directly in the app. The other aspect that I like is that there is information about all of the coffee that Intelligentsia sells. Even if you don't buy it, this is a great way to learn about different types of coffee — where they come from and the stories behind them.
Spro is for those of you with an espresso machine on your hands. There are step-by-step instructions for 14 different espresso drinks, as well as helpful diagrams. You'll have that cortado mastered in no time.
APPS FOR COFFEE-LOVING TRAVELERS
Beanhunter is a website dedicated to cataloging user-rated coffee experiences and making them available to the public, with listings and ratings of thousands of independent cafes around the globe. Checking out Sydney and want to know where to go? Beahunter will pull up a list of all the top-rated spots near you. Listings are predominantly in Australia, but you'll find information for cafes in other cities around the world here, too, like Los Angeles and Singapore.
5. Nordic Coffee Culture
This one is for anyone traveling to Scandinavia. It's a collection of cafes across Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland — all barista approved.
6. London's Best Coffee + New York's Best Coffee
Headed to London or New York? Then you'll want one of these apps, made by the same people behind the London, New York City, and Paris Specialty Coffee Maps.
APPS FOR GENERAL COFFEE GEEKS
7. UP Coffee
From Jawbone, known for making health-monitoring devices, this app has nothing to do with how you make coffee. Instead, it's focused on the effects of coffee on your body — specifically, on how you sleep. You tell it what you've had to drink and how much, and the app estimates about what time you will be ready to sleep and how edgy you currently feel. Essentially, it's the app to tell you when you've had enough coffee, and remind you that it's time to stop. Because yes, unfortunately, there is such a time.
Love working in a coffee shop but don't have the money to spend on cappuccinos? Coffitivity is a cool website that allows you to create the ambient noise of a coffee shop at home. Studies have shown that this ambient noise can actually improve your creative cognition. The app helps you take those sounds with you no matter where you are.
So, you're the one in the office that got stuck doing the coffee run? Instead of writing down all your coworkers' orders, use this app instead. There's even an option for noting down which donuts they want.