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What’s the Best Way to Start Drinking Specialty Coffee?

Specialty coffee has an acquired taste that for some can be hard to get into, but with the right knowledge and resources, specialty coffee can open up huge opportunities for those wanting to start drinking coffee.

Many love the smell of specialty coffee but can be easily overwhelmed when trying to find the right flavours and aromas that suit their taste preferences.

So what’s the best way to start drinking coffee? Start drinking coffee by experimenting with different coffee beans, acquiring the right brewing gear, and having some understanding on what it takes to make great tasting coffee in order to find your favourites.

Whether you want to start drinking coffee for the social aspect or are just out there looking for a way to kick start your mornings, in this article we will walk you through the best ways to start drinking specialty coffee.

This article will help you save time and money and hopefully begin your journey to start drinking coffee.

So without further delay, we will now run you through the best ways to start drinking coffee, so you can further explore specialty coffee and enjoy the vast flavours and aromas that are on offer.

What’s the Best Way to Start Drinking Specialty Coffee?

lady tasting coffee, drinking coffee, specialty coffee
Understand Different Coffee BeansTake Notes
Focus On QualityUsed Flavoured Syrups
Try An EspressoBuy The Right Gear
Experiment Brewing MethodsAdjust Your Ratio

Understanding Different Types of Specialty Coffee Beans

For many who are first starting to drink coffee, they do not realise there are a variety of different coffee beans, all which have huge impacts on the overall flavour and aromas.

You will find some types of coffee beans work better for certain types of coffee brews, as well as a blend made up of a variety of different coffee beans put together.

There are four main types of coffee beans, Arabica, Robusta, Liberica and Excelasa. Understanding the differences of these is one of the best ways to start drinking specialty coffee.

The most common coffee beans you will find in the coffees you drink are either Arabica or Robusta.

Let’s dive in on the two most popular coffee beans that together make up 90% of the world’s coffee production.

roasted coffee beans

Arabica

Due to their high quality, Arabica coffee beans are the most popular choice of coffee bean, making up around 60% of the entire world’s coffee production.

High quality Arabica coffee beans will come with a slightly sweet flavour with possible hints of chocolate, nuts and caramel, fruit and/or berries.

Arabica coffee beans make a smooth and complex cup of specialty coffee with minimal bitterness.

You will often find Arabica coffee beans are used for the higher quality coffee brands.

The only downside of Arabica beans is that they are harder to grow and therefore come with a higher price than other coffee beans.

Robusta

Are you someone who prefers a stronger bitter cup of coffee? Well Robusta coffee beans may be your choice of bean.

Although Robusta coffee beans are nowhere near as popular as Arabica, and make up around 30% of the world’s coffee production, they still certainly still have their place in the specialty coffee industry.

Robusta coffee beans are often mixed into coffee blends as they are less expensive, and therefore, a pretty budget friendly choice for roasters.

Robusta coffee beans have a much higher caffeine count than Arabica, so if you are someone who is concerned about caffeine intake, be sure to keep this in mind.

These beans are known for a woody, earthy and even burnt rubber like flavour profile, with lower acidity notes.

You will generally find Robusta coffee beans used in instant coffee and cheaper commercial coffee brands.

Focus On Quality

Now you will find there are many different coffee brands available to buy on Amazon, supermarkets and retail stores.

Like a lot of organic products, quality is key. 

specialty coffee, coffee

Although the cheaper brands may seem tempting and affordable, if you truly want to start drinking coffee, investing a little extra money into quality whole bean coffee will ensure you can explore all those amazing complex flavours.

When we say investing a little extra money, we by no means suggest you have to go out there and break your bank. 

Just remember, you get what you pay for is the message we are trying to put across.

You will find the higher quality coffees offer you more information, such as its origin, roast dates as well as where they were roasted, which in turn will help you to further learn and enable you to take notes.

Try an Espresso Shot

Trying an espresso shot can really help grow and introduce your palate to coffee, as well commonly being used as one of the best ways to start drinking coffee.

Although there are many methods to making a coffee, espresso is used as a base for almost all of the different types of coffee you will find on most coffee shop menus.

Therefore, if you are just starting to drink coffee, then using an espresso as your starting point opens you up to the world of coffee.

Espresso goes great with milk based coffees, so if you do not enjoy an espresso shot on its own, then try experimenting with milk and/or milk based alternatives.

espresso in white cup

An espresso shot is a rich and complex brew and you can learn alot about specialty coffee very quickly just from trying an espresso shot.

If it comes as a shock the first time you try an espresso, give yourself a break and start with long blacks by adding hot water, or add some sugar in to ease the impact.

However, do not give up, after a while of repeatedly trying and experimenting with espresso, you will  start to discover and enjoy the subtle flavours and sweetness that is naturally in espresso.

Experiment With Different Coffee Brewing Methods

Possibly the most enjoyable way to start drinking coffee, but also very important, would be the different brewing methods that you can experiment with when making a cup of coffee.

coffee making accessories

“Coffee is a versatile beverage that can be prepared in several different ways. Each brewing method results in coffee with unique textures and flavors”

Brianna Tobritzhofer, thehealthycuisine.com.

This will all come down to personal preferences and how you like your brew. Some coffee brewing methods will give you a bold heavy brew, while others will give you a clear light brew.

All of which you will need to experiment with to help you start drinking coffee. So let us quickly run you through the 4 most common coffee brewing methods.

French Press/Plunger Coffee

The french press is arguably one of the most common brewing methods in most people’s households.

It’s cost effective, cheap, and perfect for beginner brewers.

The French press involves coarsely ground coffee steeping in hot water for about 2-3 minutes where it is then plunged to separate the grounds from the now brewed hot water and then served.

four images of french press brewing stages

To find out a step by step guide on how to brew specialty coffee with a French Press, then check out this article here.

Using a French press will give you a smooth, rich and bold coffee brew.

Moka Pot/Percolator Coffee

The moka pot, or commonly known as a stove top coffee maker, brews coffee by passing boiling water through the ground coffee from the result of pressurized steam.

This brewing method is great for those who enjoy a stronger, intense flavour which can be very close to an espresso coffee.

moka pot brewing coffee

To find out some of the best stove top coffee makers be sure to check out our Best Stovetop Coffee Makers for 2020.

Drip/Pour Over Coffee

Drip and pour over a both relatively similar where boiling water is poured over coffee grounds and the use of gravity passes the water through your coffee grounds.

Pour-over brewing offers the most variety, as it’s an entirely manual process that the user can customise to create the most quality cup, however, it is a method that most beginners do not start out with as it requires some level of skill.

Person pouring water into Chemex from gooseneck kettle

“Since it’s a longer brewing process, there’s a more intricate flavor extraction. The slower the water filters through the grounds, the more flavor is extracted”

roastycoffee.com

This brewing method is perfect for those who enjoy a more aromatic, fuller serving of coffee, that comes with a smooth, crips, clean mouthfeel.

Check out our article on How to make Specialty Coffee with a V60.

Espresso Coffee

Espresso coffee is the most concentrated form of coffee, which is generally thicker and has a higher concentration of dissolved solids than other coffee brewing methods.

This coffee brewing method is made by pressurised water being forced through the coffee grounds and typically takes no more than 30 seconds to produce.

This form of coffee brewing method is excellent as a base for many other types of coffee drinks, including some of the most popular choices such as, latte, flat white, and cappuccino.

Therefore, espresso coffee is a great perfect brewing method to experiment with when you are starting to drink specialty coffee as you can do so much with it.

Never made an espresso before? Our step by step article on How to Pull the Perfect Espresso Shot may help.

Try Using Flavoured Syrups

Experimenting with flavoured syrups is also a good way to start drinking coffee as this can potentially allow you to gradually move onto unflavoured coffee.

Even coffee that has milk, milk alternatives, cream or sugar added may still come across too strong for you, so many coffee shops offer flavoured syrups too.

A good quality syrup can be a great addition to your coffee and they can come in a range of different flavours such as vanilla, hazelnut, caramel, and so on.

Popular brands of coffee syrups include Jordan’s Skinny Syrups and Monin Syrups over on Amazon.

Buy The Right Specialty Coffee Brewing Gear

Drinking coffee does not mean you have to buy one from your local coffee shop every day. To really explore coffee you will also want to make your own at home.

espresso shot, moka pot espresso

Now there is alot of equipment out there, some that you will need, others that are not so necessary. 

Under the assumption you are reading this article to find the best ways to start drinking specialty coffee, we will run you through the four must have specialty coffee brewing gear

1. Digital Scales

A good digital scale is vital to ensure you are using the correct ratios and to make a consistent brew.

The amount of coffee beans and even the water used varies with different coffee brews, and if you are making coffee that is full of guess work, it is going to make drinking coffee a lot harder.

2. Coffee Grinder

The best way to make the freshest brew possible is to buy your coffee beans whole and then to grind them down as you need just before making your coffee brew.

Make sure your coffee grinder allows you to experiment with different grind sizes as this has huge impacts on the overall quality of the brew and how it ultimately tastes.

3. Coffee Maker

We have already touched based on the common brewing methods, so this one is obvious.

Make sure you are using the right coffee maker for the type of coffee brew that you are trying to achieve. Don’t cut corners

4. Gooseneck Kettle (optional)

This one is optional depending on how serious you are when you are  starting to drink coffee.

Of course a kettle is needed in order to heat your water, and temperature of the water does have a key role as you do not want to make your coffee too hot nor too cold.

So if you want to go up a level in regards to consistency and accuracy, then you cannot beat a gooseneck kettle, especially when it comes to pour-over coffee.

If you would like to find out more about this, then check out our recent article, Why do you need a gooseneck kettle for pour over coffee?

Adjust Your Ratios

If you are still having trouble with finding the right coffee, then don’t be afraid to adjust your ratios.

pre ground coffee in v60, start drinking coffee, specialty coffee

What we mean is, in order to find that perfect brew so you can start drinking coffee, then you may need to experiment and create your own ratios.

Try starting out with a 1:2 or 50% ratio and then slowly work around from there.

The best brew ratio will depend on many different factors, so you just need to be patient and believe in the process.

“Try having 1/2 a shot or a shot less than usual in your drink and then slowly build up how much espresso you have and lessen how much syrup you have”

Ryadan Jeavons, passionate barista and coffee educator

Over time, you’ll develop an understanding of the complexities of brew ratio and how to play with it to match both the beans and the desired cup profile.

Take Notes and Learn

Now you are loaded with all this information, it’s time to take notes and learn what you like and don’t like.

Man thinking, take notes, start drinking coffee

There is so much to remember and learn that if you do not take notes, it will be harder to learn, and it will take you longer to start drinking coffee.

Everytime you drink coffee, you need to note down the following points;

  • What type of coffee it is
  • What type of coffee bean was used
  • Grind size and weight used
  • What type of roast level is the bean
  • Where did the coffee bean come from
  • How was the coffee brewed
  • Tasting and smelling notes
  • Sweetened or unsweetened
  • What milk (if any) was used

It may seem like a lot to cover, however, by taking notes you will quickly be able to focus on what is right for you.

Ultimately this is one of the best ways to start drinking specialty coffee. 

Start Drinking Coffee F.A.Q’s

frequently asked questions
Q:What is a good coffee for a beginner?


A: In general, adding milk (or some milk substitute) to your coffee will make the coffee taste much less prominent, so if you are looking for the most beginner friendly entry into coffee, consider something with milk or milk alternative.

Q: Should I start drinking coffee?


A: According to recent studies, drinking coffee led to a decreased risk of developing heart failure by 7% and stroke by 8% with every additional cup of coffee consumed per week compared with non-coffee drinkers.

Q: What happens when you start drinking coffee?


A: The caffeine enters your bloodstream and quickly finds its way to your brain, where it works as a stimulant and boosts alertness and energy.

It can take as few as 10 minutes from drinking for caffeine to start working.

Q: When should you not start drinking coffee?


A: According to research, you should avoid consuming caffeine from around 2pm, or at least seven hours before bed, as it can otherwise negatively affect your sleep.

However, everyone is different and reacts to caffeine in different ways.

Conclusion: Start drinking Specialty Coffee

person smelling coffee, start drinking coffee

For those who struggle with the taste of coffee, you may think that it is simply too hard to start drinking coffee.

However, some of the best ways to start drinking coffee is simply by experimenting with different brewing methods and coffee beans.

Do not just settle for the coffee that everyone else gets.

Take notes and learn what you like and don’t like, explore adding flavoured syrups and ultimately don’t give up.

Specialty coffee has so much to offer and there are 100’s of flavours and aromas to discover.

Using all of these strategies will help you enjoy coffee and all that it has to offer, so we hope this article helps you to start drinking coffee.

If you enjoyed this article, read more like this by checking out our Specialty Coffee Beginners Guides.

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