Caffeine Tidbits Part 3

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This is the last of our 3 part series of our caffeine tidbits. This one is the hardest one for me to write. The reason being is that it comes from researching reports for the likes of Scientific Reports, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Insitiute and Feinberg School of Medicine. Translating their findings into short English prose is no easy feat. But here it goes…

A group of scientists have discovered that people who are genetically wired to better perceive the bitter taste of caffeine are more likely to drink coffee despite the fact that bitterness has evolved as a warning signal to protect us against consuming harmful substances.

This is not a perfect analogy (since some spices are good for you) but part of the reason is much like the spicy food effect for spicy food lovers. The mind gets conditioned that something good will follow soon after the experience hits.

Here is the really confusing part. There are two types of bitterness to coffee, acid and acrid. Acidity is the first to hit your tongue. These relate to fruit acids like orange, lemon, apple, grapefruit. These are the actual caffeine tastes in specialty grade coffee (the only grade of coffee we buy).  Acrid taste, on the other hand, comes after drinking coffee which hits the tongue as a sharp, biting acerbic aftertaste which one experiences from drinking lower quality grades of coffee. This taste usually comes from the impurities that are allowed into coffee.

So the brain of someone who drinks coffee just for the caffeine is conditioned to looking for the acrid bitterness to get it’s rush.  This causes many of them to reject our coffee instead of allowing it to being a warning to them that they are consuming something  that is bad for them.  Listen to your taste buds!

Defining Specialty Coffee

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What is Specialty & Specialty Grade Coffee?

Specialty Coffee versus Specialty Grade Coffee……yes, there is a difference.

​The Specialty Coffee Chronicle says the market share of specialty coffee is 51 percent, passing non-specialty for the first time.  But the term “specialty” has morphed in definition from the original.  Most people equate specialty coffee with specialty, espresso based coffee drinks which justifies the statistic quoted.

The SCAA or Specialty Coffee Association of America describes true specialty grade coffee as “having a maximum of 5 defects in a standard sample with all cups free of all taints and showing distinctive positive characteristics”. Go to www.scaa.org for more on the SCAA’s definition.

On the above basis , it is estimated that no more than 5% of green coffees in the world could make specialty grade.

From how the beans are produced, the great care taken in the packaging and storage of those beans, and the highly skilled roasters that deliver the finished product–this coffee is about an experience, not just a no frills cup of joe.

There are a lot of factors that make specialty grade coffee–well–special, so let’s take a moment to unpack all of that in one place.

Continue reading Defining Specialty Coffee