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Frequently Asked Questions!
Cupper’s doesn’t have seating, but you’ll enjoy browsing our coffee bar and retail shop after you order your coffee or tea lattes. We also always have a sampler of one of our freshly roasted coffees you can try for free.
Our retail store carries a variety of coffee brewers, grinders, and accessories, tea pots, cups, presses and tea accessories, mugs of many styles, candies, chocolates, and many more foodie items. There’s always a few surprises you’d never expect in a store like ours, too!
And of course, we have a variety of fairly traded and ethically sourced coffee beans and teas from around the world: Brazil, China, Japan, Sumatra, India, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Costa Rica, United States, Egypt… and we’re always sourcing more.
The greatest enemies to your coffee beans are air, moisture, heat and light. For the best cup of coffee, start with quality, freshly roasted beans. Fresh, quality coffee that has been stored properly keeps its freshness and flavor longer. Keep your coffee airtight and cool… but contrary to popular knowledge do not keep it in your fridge or freezer.
We highly recommend that you store your beans in an opaque, air-tight container at room temperature. The bags they come in from Cupper’s is a good start, if you squeeze out the air and seal the top of the bag between brewings.
Coffee beans or grounds kept at just slightly cooler than room temperature actually produce the best flavour of coffee as there is no ‘shock’ when the hot water hits cold or frozen coffee grounds.
Typically, the amount of caffeine between light roast and dark roast coffee is negligible. (For serious aficionados, there very slightly more caffeine in lighter roasts.) In practical terms, how you brew your coffee makes more of a difference than the roast in how much caffeine is available in your final beverage.
An 8 fl. oz. brewed coffee, for example, has ~95 mg of caffeine per serving while an 8 fl. oz. cold brewed coffee has ~200 mg of caffeine per serving. A nitro-coffee (nitrogenated cold brewed coffee) would have ~165 mg of caffeine per serving, whereas an 8 fl. oz. of drip coffee has between ~65-120 mg of caffeine.
If you find coffee unsettles your stomach, it may not be the caffeine but the acidity. Often lighter roasts are more acidic (think of tart, citrus notes), which can also affect how your stomach feel after drinking your favourite hot beverage. Ask us about our naturally lower-acid coffees!
Grinding coffee is not only a treat for the senses, it’s a relatively simple process. There are a few things to keep in mind when grinding your coffee beans that help you create your best cup of coffee ever.
First: the beans matter. The quality of the beans and the degree of roast directly impact the flavors you enjoy in your mug of java. Purchase quality beans that have been carefully selected and meticulously roasted, like the ones we offer at Cupper’s Coffee & Tea (a selfish little plug).
Second: Your coffee beans should be ground according to the brewing method. Coffee grounds range from coarse to Turkish grind. Coarse grinds are chunky with a distinct particle. A medium grind has the texture of coarse sand. Fine grind is even smoother still, like table salt when rubbed between your fingers. Espresso grind is a small range within finely ground coffee, and depends on the amount of pressure your espresso maker produces. Lastly and most finely ground is Turkish coffee, which is basically a very fine powder.
Which grind should you use?
- Coarse grind: French press, cold brew, or a percolator
- Medium grind: Automatic drip brewer with flat bottom filters
- Medium grind/fine: Automatic drip brewers or pour-overs with cone shaped filters
- Fine grind: Stove top espresso, Aeropress
- Extra-fine grind: Espresso machines (The degree of fineness depends on the pressure the machine produces. Entry-level home espresso machines use a slightly coarser grind as they create less pressure than a high-end home or commercial espresso machine.)
- Turkish grind: for Turkish style coffee
Third: Blade vs. Burr Grinders?
We don’t recommend a blade grinder. There is no way to ensure consistency of the size of the particles, which doesn’t lead to a consistently excellent cup of coffee.
Burr grinders are are all about precision and versatility. They can be manual or electric, and allow you to set the grind yourself. There are a variety of styles of burr grinders, but most have either a steel or ceramic burr, and all crush the beans to ensure the consistency of the grind. Depending on the quality of the grinder, most comfortably produce coarse to fine grinds. Extra-fine and Turkish grinds require an extra-calibrated and more finely-tuned burr grinder than an entry level grinder.
Roasting coffee is both a science and an art. The magic of a perfect coffee roast can be measured… but much of it is purely time and experience. There are many factors that affect a quality roast.
The actual beans themselves are a huge influence on the roasting outcome. The coffee varietal, the elevation at which it’s grown, the acidity and quality of the soil, the amount of sunlight and rain, the other trees and plants grown in the area – all have an impact on the beans, which affects the final profile of the roast.
The process of roasting results in chemical and physical changes on green beans. Small changes in the temperature and amount of time spent in each phase of roasting can have a huge impact on the final coffee. The amount of coffee to be roasted is decided by our wholesale, fundraising and retail customer needs for the next few days. Our Master Roaster Josh roasts many batches of different coffees nearly every day, so your coffee is always fresh.
Green coffee beans are added through a hopper to the roaster. The roaster is heated through gas burners under the drum, which rotates to keep the beans heating evenly. As the green beans roast, their colour changes from pale green to pale yellow, then a pale near-orange, then eventually to the coffee brown expected. This colour change is part of the Maillard reaction, and the colour helps in determining the finish of the roast. During roasting, chaff, or ‘silverskin’, a papery outer layer, comes off the beans and is separated from the coffee.
The moisture in the green beans heats and forces physical changes. The beans expand, and escaping gasses cause small fractures or cracks in the beans, resulting in ‘first crack’, which is a measurable reaction in the coffee as it roasts. At the same time, the heat causes sugars and amino acids to combine to produce the oils and polymers that create the tastes and odors present in coffee. For some coffees, Josh will continue to roast into ‘second crack’ where the beans continue to darken and small particles of the bean pop off, creating tiny craters in the bean. Continuing the roast continues the chemical changes, again resulting in different flavours and profile of the final coffee.
As the coffee is approaching the finished product, Josh starts to check the colour of the roast repeatedly. You might see him doing this with the sampler on the front of the roaster. A few seconds before the coffee is done, it’s dropped onto the cooling tray so the last seconds of roasting are done as the cooling process stops the roast.
After cooling, the whole bean coffee is allowed to sit for a day or two at minimum to allow the flavours to develop and mature. Grinding coffee immediately after roasting results in a much less developed brew, much like eating stew immediately after putting all the ingredients together. You can, it’s not bad for you… but it ALWAYS tastes much better a day or two later.
From starting with green beans to dropping the roasted beans onto the cooling tray, our roasting time is about 13-17 minutes. Due to the moisture loss, the shrinkage can be 14-18% of the initial weight of the green beans, while the expansion of the beans results in a 45-55% volume increase. These are all additional factors any roaster considers when deciding on their final product.
The science of roasting is clear… it’s all in the numbers. The weight of the green beans before roasting, the temperature as it drops when raw coffee is added to the roaster, the slow temperature climb as the beans take on heat, the speed of the roasting process, the current wind and weather, the final temperature of the roasted beans… these can all be measured.
The art of roasting is purely in the non-measurables. It’s in knowing when to add or remove heat to control the speed of the process, what the colour of the beans mean as they change, the effects of a larger or smaller roasted batch, how the seasons and weather affect the roaster, the beans’ moisture throughout the process, and the final colour/roast desired. Knowing and managing these intangibles is what makes a Master Roast a VIP!
Well, we think so – but don’t take our word for it!
According to the Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Donald Hensrud speaking on coffee and your health, “Newer research shows that [coffee] may actually have health benefits.” He continues to say that recent studies have generally not found any connection between coffee and an increased risk of heart disease or cancer.
In fact, Dr. Hensrud adds that some studies have found an association between coffee consumption and decreased overall mortality and possibly cardiovascular mortality. This reversal in thinking may be due to other known high-risk behavours in study subjects, such as smoking and physical inactivity, which also tends to be more common in heavy coffee drinkers.
Dr. Hensrud points out there have been studies to show coffee may actually protect against Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and liver disease, including liver cancer. Coffee also seems to improve cognitive function and decrease the risk of depression. Let’s drink our java to that!
The Mayo Clinic also warned that high consumption of unfiltered coffee has been associated with mild elevations of cholesterol levels. Additionally, adding creams and sugars to your coffee adds unnecessary fats and calories to your diet.
So, as with all life’s pleasures, enjoy your coffee responsibly!