Peet's Coffee & Tea


Coffee tutorials and taste tests thanks to the St. Petersburg Times

The St. Petersburg Times had a day of coffee features yesterday, and it ended up producing some pretty informational articles.

First was an article about the lingo of coffee tasting. Tasting coffee in a group setting — called cupping — can be somewhat intimidating, but I find that it’s one of my favorite ways to explore a new coffee roast or coffee purchase. Just the other day, at The Coffee Ethic, a few of us cupped a roast of Peru Cafe Andes Amazonicus that I homeroasted, and it’s fun to get the input of others into the aromas and flavors that are coming out of your coffee. What can be most challenging, though, about cupping is trying to put words to the smells and flavors that you’re experiencing. The article “Learn the Lingo of Coffee Tasting” is a good primer of the basic tasting concepts of aroma, acidity, aroma, taste, and finish.

If you’re looking for an introduction to manual drip brewing and the basic elements of brewing quality coffee, the article “Brewing at home lets coffee lovers control many variables that affect flavor” covers the topic well. It acknowledges that many people who get into coffee end up switching from automatic drip brewers to some sort of manual process, usually French press or manual drip brewing, to command more control over the ultimate brew. This article runs through the grind, the dosage (coffee to water ratio), the water, and the temperature involved in brewing good coffee, and it also covers the storage and of coffee and the cleaning of coffee brewing tools. It’s a well-rounded article on the basic steps of brewing good coffee. I personally switch between a French press and a Chemex when I brew for myself at home. I also have an Aeropress, which is another popular form of brewing for coffee lovers, but it hasn’t endd up as one of my top methods as I’m still figuring out my preferences on dosage with the Aeropress.

Then the Times acknowledges that espresso drinks and their names can get confusing. So they give a short primer on the different espresso drinks and their elements. They cover the basics of of espresso itself, then dive into cappuccino, caffe latte, caffee mocha, mochaccino, mocha latte, macchiato, caffe Americano, cafe au lait, and Frappuccino. It’s a basic quick and dirty espresso drink cheat sheet.

Lasty the Times does some side-by-side coffee comparison of the major retail coffee brands, rating Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, McDonald’s and 7-11 using taste tests. The rate in categories of Hot Coffee and Iced Mocha, and the results are intriguing. Of course, here at 417Coffee, we wouldn’t really recommend that you drink any of these four brands, but sometimes you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do, and we understand. They also offered up a side-by-side instant coffee taste test, comparing brewed coffee, Starbucks VIA instant coffee, and Nescafe Taster’s Choice.  They even put together a coffee ice cream taste test.