Coffee is a beverage that is easily identified, though often misunderstood. You might think of it as “bitter”, “bright”, or “earthy”, but one thing that coffee drinkers can almost always agree upon is that they get pleasure from it in some way whether it be an aroma, flavor, a jolt of caffeine, or even simply nostalgia. The love of coffee encompasses the globe, and since we all see it in a different context it is sometimes difficult to express why one coffee is enjoyable and another is not. 

    Coffee is often compared to wine by industry professionals to help give a reference point in understanding how it has a wide range of possibilities. Often the first question to be asked about wine is “white or red?” This is the simplest distinguishing character in wine, and it is almost universally understood.

Similarly, it is quite common when selecting a coffee to ask “light, medium, or dark roast?” This very basic decision is often thought to be the primary distinction in flavor, and in certain cases this is true (especially with darker roasts). Unfortunately the roast level distinction has no universal standard, with huge variance from product to product and company to company. Because of this variance one of our core goals at Roast Ratings is to identify and describe all coffees by actual flavor character.

If coffee were a uniform and unchanging product we would have a pretty simple job as coffee professionals. However, much like any harvested crop around the world, there is a wide range of quality potential in coffee. Because it begins its life as the seed of a cherry on a tree, and must be cared for all the way until it reaches your lips in the form of a drink there is the potential for variance, as well as some pretty big challenges in delivering the best cup to you, the coffee drinker time after time.

The following slides showcase many of the challenges that are faced on the professional side of the industry as coffee journeys to your taste buds.



All of this variation and challenge is being identified and refined over time. We are seeing this with other industries as well, and it is truly an exciting time to learn about food products in general. Regardless of the depths of knowledge that some people go to for what they consume, the goal should be the same: to have something tasty.

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