Coffee For Dummies [101 Ultimate Guide]

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Why Should You Explore the World of Coffee?

Not only is coffee drinking a tasty and healthy habit, it can also be developed into a rich and diverse hobby as a part of an elegant and classy lifestyle. Treating coffee as a hobby rather than a quick morning ritual will also solve your caffeine confusions.

Two people sitting at a cafe

Once it’s developed as a part of your lifestyle, you can walk confidently into the cafes knowing what you want. Eventually, after some practice, you learn what to coffees to choose and how to brew for yourself, friends, and family. The local café will become more of a social area that you will thrive in like a fish in the water and less of a morning necessity.

You can attend coffee events to test locally or regionally made brews and recognize the intricate nuances of each one. Becoming a coffee connoisseur is a good excuse to travel as well. There are coffee farms across Africa and South America and booming coffee cultures in Europe and Southern Australia.

Coffee For Dummies

Learning the best way to make coffee for yourself begins with understanding your tools and materials. There are different types of coffee makers for varying situations and tastes, as well as coffee accessories to get that steaming cup of heaven just exactly right.

Before you start throwing money at high-end coffee machines and tools, you should know what kind of coffee suit you best.

Different Types of Coffee Beans

Coffee beans are either robusta or arabica

The best way to make coffee begins by choosing your ideal coffee. There are seemingly infinite options available, so where do you begin? There are two types of coffee plants from which all of our favorite brews originate.


You’ll recognize much of the commercial coffee you drink at hotel breakfasts and break room breathers as Robusta beans. They are easier and cheaper to grow, making them widely available. This also includes popular brands that your parents probably used to drink like Folgers and Maxwell House.

Robusta beans have higher concentrations of caffeine and a bitterer, nuttier flavor than Arabica.


Arabica beans are more difficult to grow and more expensive as a result. You’ll typically notice them in higher quality artisan coffees. It’s more likely to find these brews being served in a small café or a friend’s home.

Arabica beans have less caffeine but are more acidic than Robusta. Their flavors are generally described as being “soft” or “winey.”

Choosing the Right Roast

Roasted coffee beans on a plate

Now that you understand the two varieties of beans, it’s time to consider the different kinds of roasts. Roasting gives coffee the aroma and flavor that stimulates our senses to make the coffee shop feel so cozy.

How do certain roasts affect the taste and appearance of our favorite coffees? Generally, the longer the roasting process, the darker and less acidic a finished product will be. Let’s check out the options.

Light Roast

Milder coffees with a lighter brown color have a light roast. There is no visible oil, making the final product appear less shiny than darker roasts. The flavor is usually grainy or wheat-like.

Medium Roast

Most popular store brands are a medium roast. They are slightly darker than light roast coffees, but still have no apparent shine to them. Although the flavor is similar to a light roast, it is noticeably richer.

Medium-Dark Roast

This roast is richer in flavor and darker in color with a slight gloss, unlike the lighter roasts. They are recognized by their bittersweet finish.

Dark Roast

This type of roast is mainly used for espresso. It is considerably darker, shinier, and bitterer than any other coffees. Since they have the least acidity, they are also easier on those with sensitive stomachs.

Differences Between Regional Origins

Now you know what variety and roast you prefer, but what about the regional varieties? It can make selecting the right coffee confusing. However, understanding the differences between regional varieties will help you fine-tune your specific preferences. Discover the best way to make coffee for you by learning the subtle and not-so-subtle differences between these beans.

Central American

Coffee from this region is light, fairly acidic, and has familiar fruity undertones. Since most of Central America is a huge global supplier of coffee, there are distinctions between finishes from country to country. The acidity in Guatemalan and Mexican coffees are more malic, giving the former an apple aftertaste and the latter one that is cherry-like.

The balance of smoothness, sweetness, and spice is the greatest distinction of flavor from this region.


Many Americans are familiar with this variety. As one of the biggest coffee producers, its name is commonly present amongst grocery store shelves. It is similar to coffee from Central America as it has an understated acidity and familiar sweetness.

The discrepancy between Columbian and Central American coffee is the finish. While the finish of Central American coffee is fruitier, Columbian coffee is nuttier.


While Brazil is another large supplier of coffee from the Americas, its flavor is difficult to group with the others. Since they have a heavy body, they are often found in darker roasts and espressos. Chocolate and peanut undertones create a unique flavor when paired with its heaviness.


Ethiopia is not only the birthplace of coffee plants but reigns as the most biodiverse area of all coffee regions. Many of their species are not cataloged, meaning there are coffee varieties that have yet to be introduced on a global scale.

The coffees that are currently available to us from this region that endure natural processing have dominant sweet berry flavors. Their wet coffees are much lighter tasting, offering qualities similar to jasmine or lemongrass.


Kenya exports particularly bold coffee with tropical flavors. The acidic character of this brew can be mild like tomatoes or tart and savory like black currants.


This style is famously deep and dark with earthy, toasted flavors. People who enjoy this coffee loyally adhere to its unique grasp of the senses. There are also less familiar brews from this region that are savory with a finish akin to unsweetened cocoa. Either one of these types institute strong “love it or hate it” attitude amongst coffee lovers.


The Hawaiian variety is most widely known as Kona coffee and is one of the most expensive brews in the world. It has a recognizably rich floral aroma and full body with a bright, clear taste.

Different Types of Coffee Makers

Coffee maker at a café

Once you determine your personal coffee choice, it’s time to start brewing. There are many options to suit a range of needs. The best way to make coffee involves having the appropriate machine for what you want. Let’s have a look at the most popular options on the market:

Automatic Drip

This electric coffeemaker adorns kitchen counters and office break rooms across the United States. It is the best way to make coffee for homes with several coffee drinkers as they make between 1 – 12 cups. The heated plate can stay on all day to keep coffee hot and fresh. This umbrella term covers various types of machinery ranging from your regular $20 coffee makers to fancy coffee makers that grind beans.

Advantages of this method:

  • A programmable clock to automatically brew coffee anytime
  • Strength adjusters to fit your liking
  • Built-in coffee grinders
  • Reusable coffee filters to save on waste

Single serve brewing

The Keurig brand has made this coffee making method popular in the last several years. Reusable filters and miniature cups of prepackaged coffee are sold to accommodate these machines. The filters allow you to use your own coffee while the cups come in several blends to meet your desires.

This is the best way to make coffee for single people and rare coffee drinkers as it only makes one cup at a time.

Advantages of this method:

  • Easy cleanup
  • Temperature control
  • Size options to allow room for milk and cream
  • A programmable clock to automatically brew coffee anytime
  • Water filtration for cleaner coffee


The pour-over method can basically be described as the manual version of the single serve devices. A porcelain or plastic cone is set atop the appropriate container and lined with a paper filter for the coffee grounds. From here, it is as simple as pouring hot water in a spiraling motion through the grounds.

The simple design makes for easy use, storage, and clean up.

French Press

French press coffee is one of the oldest and most preferred methods of coffee making. It is somewhat like the pour-over since it is a manual process, but in this case there is no filter. Instead, a plunger in the container presses the grounds away from the final product, hence the name French “Press”.

Since no filters are necessary, the oils remain in the coffee giving it a bolder flavor.

Advantages of this method:

  • The final product has a stronger taste
  • They are inexpensive
  • It does not require electricity or filters
  • Easy to clean and store


Espresso dispensers represent an older form of coffee making and are widely preferred in Europe. The difference between espresso and coffee is purely in the way they are brewed. These cups of caffeine are made quicker and with higher concentrations.

Whether you prefer your drink to be more mellow, roasted, or anywhere in between, an espresso machine can accommodate. The temperature of the water controls this and is the only adjustment necessary.

Advantages of this method:

  • These machines come with one or two spouts
  • They can use any grade of roast
  • Programmable features are included like those on the automated drip devices

Coffee Equipment

Have you found what blends you’re partial towards and how to properly brew them? Well, it’s time to get fancy and practice your hand at specialty drinks! The best way to make coffee is exactly to your tastes at home rather than spending time and money at the café. In order to do this, there are some additional accessories might be necessary.

Everyday Accessories

Coffee Bean Grinder

Most coffee connoisseurs will tell you that grinding your own beans is the best way to make coffee.

The outer layer of the coffee bean is what preserves the compounds and oils that make our senses tingle around a quality cup of java. Within 15 minutes, freshly ground coffee will lose more than half of its original flavor.

If you’re craving more than a quick fix of caffeine, taking an extra 30 seconds to grind your own beans will significantly improve your coffee experience.

There are 3 types of grinders to consider:

  • Blade
  • Burr
  • Disc and Conical

The burr, disc, and conical grinders are more favorable for their accuracy in what coarseness you want the grounds. If you choose a blade grinder, you risk burning the coffee and the grounds will be an inconsistent texture. Although blade grinders are the cheapest option, it’s worth investing a little extra for better value.

Frothing Thermometers

Do your favorite drinks include lattes, mochas, cappuccinos, and macchiatos? You will need a frothing thermometer to ensure you get the milk just right. Ideally, you want to bring the milk just up to its boiling point and no further. Otherwise, you will be disappointed in your homemade café cravings.

Flavoring Syrups

Enjoy your own seasonal drinks all year-round with flavoring syrups. The popular peppermint and pumpkin spice drinks can be yours whenever you want! They also allow you room for creativity. You can experiment with different combinations and recipes whether they come from a book or your imagination.

Frothing Pitchers

Do you enjoy the cute and quirky photos on social media of intricate froth designs? If you want to practice making your own for friends and family, a frothing pitcher will be your greatest tool. The especially narrow point makes creating any delicate design a breeze. If you want to get creative you undoubtedly need one of these simple jugs.

Commercial Coffee Accessories

These are not too relevant for the aspiring home baristas, but they are good to know as curiosities when you get sucked into the world of coffee.

Coffee Urns and Decanters

Coffee urns and decanters keep your coffee hot and ready to go while you continue to work. There’s a perfect one for every shop as both come in varying styles, sizes, and themes.

Coffee-To-Go Boxes

Transform your business and increase revenue by offering a convenient method for group orders. These simple containers can expand your business by allowing the option for catering services. Your customers and your bank account will appreciate this investment.

Iced Coffee Dispensers

Keeping an iced coffee dispenser allows your customers to conveniently cycle in throughout the day for a quick fix. It’s the best way to make coffee that will sell all day and keep customers moving along their busy schedules. Most importantly, it saves you some extra time and effort in the shop!

Last update on 2020-08-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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