The Factors That Affect The Quality of Coffee

By | June 13, 2010


I recently got an interesting email from a reader asking me what are the factors that affect the quality of coffee.

Though I’m no coffee expert, I do know some facts. And according to the handful of free “coffee lectures” I attended before courtesy of several coffee shops in the metro, here’s what I learned about good coffee.

Good quality coffee depends on five things:

  • Quality of the coffee beans
  • Time since the beans were roasted
  • Time since the beans were ground
  • Cleanliness of the brewing equipment
  • Quality of the water used in brewing

Of these five, time since the beans were roasted and ground are my priorities – the least time, the better.

That’s why I’ll take the freshly roasted and ground “generic” coffee beans at the flea market anytime over the imported coffee on display at gourmet coffee shops, which have probably been packed and shipped weeks ago.

Furthermore, the cleanliness of the brewing equipment means that it is free from oil residues from the last brew.

Also, for the best tasting coffee, always buy 100% arabica beans. An exception may be for espresso blends, which can be a combination of arabica and robusta.

And lastly, if possible, grind your own coffee. Buying it fresh and then having it ground defeats the purpose. Grind the beans just before brewing for best tasting results. So if you truly care about the quality of your coffee at home, then you should invest in a coffee grinder.

I guess that’s it. Any thing more you can add?

Image credit: eclectic echoes

3 thoughts on “The Factors That Affect The Quality of Coffee

  1. MrsLavendula

    hi, i brew my coffee at home. i grind the beans myself but sometimes, i still like coffee from the coffee shops. what did you mean when you said that the quality of water affects the outcome? maybe that’s what im doing wrong

  2. Fitz Post author

    A cup of coffee is mostly water. The coffee dominates the flavor, but the mineral content and acidity of the underlying water affects the quality of the taste.

    Good coffee is slightly acidic. If your water has high alkaline content, it can affect the palate, as with water with chlorine content. Moreover, using distilled water usually produces relatively bland coffee.

    Most coffee lovers recommend using bottled or filtered mineral water.

  3. jimrey

    im a coffee drinker and im looking forward to taste different kinds of coffee thats available in our place especially the alamid or civet coffee of our country. can you imagine drinking a strange brew- hehehe. from poo to brew and the most expensive coffee in the world. hope the money your gonna spend on this coffee if your gonna try it is all worth it!

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