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A beginners guide on how to recognize a good coffee

Updated: Sep 3


Coffee – roasted coffee beans, water and a bit of magic! I can’t imagine my day without it. Maybe you as well. Coffee is more than just caffeine. For me coffee is tradition, aroma, habit, time spent with the loved ones… The tradition in my country is to drink coffee from a very young age. I remember, I started drinking it when I was 11. Coffee time is family and friends time! That’s how important it is.



Besides the quality time, flavour and power to wake us up, is it important what type of coffee we enjoy? For me absolutely yes. I needed a barista training in Art Food Corner Madeira just to understand what great coffee means. If you never put your attention on it, same as me before, this article will help you understand the differences between a good coffee and not so good one. Here are some tips for you.


- Bitter and almost burnt flavour doesn’t mean the coffee is good. Quite the opposite. Different coffees have different flavors, and you should be able to notice them. If you can feel fruity, floral, citrus, nutty flavours, you can be sure you are enjoying a good quality coffee.


- Filtered coffee or V60 Vs. espresso. The process of making espresso is much faster, and also the coffee flavours are much denser. Therefore, it might be hard to decide if you are having a good coffee just by enjoying espresso. Better alternatives are the filtered or V60 coffees. The process of making filtered coffee is different, takes more time, and opens the flavours much better.



- Notice the grinder. Grinding coffee is always done in the coffee shops. Coffee should be ground right before you make it. Some places use such grinders that grind bigger quantities before time, which definitely affects the final product.


- Ask if they use specialty coffee. Only 10% of the coffee beans in the world is graded as specialty coffee. Such coffee is of highest quality, and has a score of at least 80 out of 100. Much more attention and special care are put on specialty coffee than the mass-produced ones. Specialty coffee is mainly Arabica beans, grown on selected altitudes, and roasted in a special way, while the mass-produced coffee is mainly Robusta. Coffee prices might vary depending on the score, but I promise you, it is definitely worth it!

- If you enjoy milky coffee, such as cappuccino or flat white, pay attention to the milk and foam. The milk should be silky and creamy. Latte art is not necessary, but definitely can be indicator of a nicely foamed milk. However, good barista should be able to do latte art. After all, we enjoy the coffee with our eyes as well!



- Another thing to pay attention to, when it comes to milky coffee, is the temperature. Coffee should have temperature around 65˚C, and you should be able to drink it as soon as it is served. Too high temperature might be because of too hot milk, and might give burnt flavour to the coffee.


- Last but not least, ask yourself if you actually like it. Drink your coffee consciously, enjoy it, and think about it. Notice what you like about it, and what you don’t like. Also, don’t be afraid to experiment. Try it with or without milk, sugar, sweetener… Try it cold and hot.



Now you are ready to go for a coffee hunter experience! You can visit different coffee places, experiment, observe and grade different coffees. Use your own scale and preferences. If you put your attention, you’ll definitely feel the difference between good and not so good coffee, and finally find the perfect one for you.


Marija Trifunovska

Art Food Corner Madeira team

Funchal 2021

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