Last Updated on October 24, 2023 by Pablo Barrantes
In this article, I will answer some of the most common questions that readers of this blog often ask me. I will also confirm or deny some of the most famous myths about coffee.
Frequently asked questions about coffee and some myths
To make it easier to understand, I have oriented all the questions to be answered with a “true” or “false”. Although in some cases, there will be an “it depends”.
Is a dark roast better for an espresso coffee?
False! You can make incredible espressos with light roasts, only that it is a bit more difficult to extract. A medium roast is best for someone just starting.
Is Geisha coffee the best coffee in the world?
False! The best coffee in the world is the one you like the most! Although, yes, Geisha coffee is a very good coffee.
If the coffee cools down and we reheat it, does it not taste the same?
True! Coffee should be drunk freshly extracted when its temperature drops below 125ºF. Reheating the coffee will make it taste worse, accentuating undesired aromas and flavors.
Is blended coffee of lower quality than single-origin coffee?
False! It may be true occasionally, but it is not always true. The blend can be of higher quality than a single origin if well-made. However, this depends on the quality of the blend.
Does coffee never expire?
False! Coffee is food; therefore, it oxidizes, rots, and expires with time.
Is higher-altitude coffee always better?
True and false! In terms of acidity, more complex flavors and a more citric acidity develop at higher altitudes.
Regarding the intensity, it is acquired with the preparation and not with the cultivation
Is sugar roast a poor-quality coffee?
True! Never consume sugar-roasted coffee; always natural coffee and nothing but coffee.
Is the espresso machine the best extraction method for quality coffee?
False! The best extraction method for quality coffee depends on the consumer’s tastes. We can achieve the same extraction percentage for a quality coffee with all methods.
Does espresso, being a short drink, have more caffeine?
False! This is a very old myth, where it was believed that the first part extracted from the espresso contains more caffeine, but it is not so.
The caffeine is extracted when coffee and water are in contact.
The more expensive coffee is, the better its quality and taste.
False! Sometimes this can be the case, but other factors, such as logistics, play a role.
For example, importing coffee from Africa is going to be more expensive.
Other times it can also be due to marketing, branding, etc… so it is not true that cost and quality are directly related.
Does blended coffee have different roasts?
True! Different coffees cannot be roasted simultaneously since they will be of different sizes, with different densities, humidity, etcetera. Therefore, each one will need specific adjustments, and each one should have a profile that can highlight some property.
Should the coffee maker not be washed?
False! Some say that the coffee maker should not be washed because the remains of the previous coffee will “season” the new coffee. This is false!
Please, clean your coffee makers! The more, the better; it will never be clean enough.
Can coffee be re-roasted?
False! Think of it like in the kitchen, if you baked a chicken, cake, or whatever in the oven and it’s done, what happens if you put it back in? It will dry out, burn, and get ruined.
Storing freshly ground coffee in an airtight container is better for preserving its aroma.
True! The aroma is volatile and quickly lost once the coffee is ground, so we must keep it away from oxygen. This is why an airtight container is ideal.
Does medium or light-roast coffee contain more caffeine than dark-roast coffee?
False! Considering the same coffee for the different roasts, the caffeine will remain the same.
What happens is that the more the coffee is roasted, the smaller the beans become and the less dense they become. Therefore, for the same weight, we will need more beans of the dark roasted coffee, which means that it will present in the same amount of more concentrated caffeine.
Is instant coffee poor-quality coffee?
True! Although in the US and Europe, we can find some higher quality instant coffees.
Is removing the foam from the coffee necessary when using the French press?
It depends! It is not obligatory, but it is advisable since it has a bitter, astringent taste and clouds the perception of the other flavors.
Should coffee be kept in the refrigerator?
False! Mostly because of the temperature differences it will have every time we take it out to use and store it again. The coffee condenses, which will be very bad for the coffee beans.
Do most coffee shops sell coffees that are over-extracted or burnt?
True! Although it depends on each person whether they notice it or not. They are poor-quality coffees roasted very high to try to cover up their defects, to make them more intense and yield more. Obviously, at the moment of preparation, everything is done badly.
Does filtered coffee have more caffeine than espresso?
True! Depending on the filtered method, it will have more or less caffeine. For example, espresso has approximately 40 milligrams of caffeine, drip-filtered coffee has approximately 60 to 100 milligrams, and immersion-filtered coffee, such as a French press, has between 80 and 120 milligrams.
Everything will depend on the recipe used. The finer the grinding, the higher the water temperature, the more water, and the longer the extraction time, the higher the concentration of caffeine.
Should I stir an espresso coffee?
True! Do it without fear.
Do you need robusta in a coffee blend to have a good crema in espresso?
False! I don’t recommend it for several reasons: First, it is a very dense and dry foam. Second, it ruins the flavors of the other coffees. Third, fresh Arabica coffee and high pressure can achieve a good crema. Fourth, let’s stop paying so much attention to the crema.
Is it more attractive to the eye? yes, sure! but in terms of taste, it does not help us at all. I have already said it on other occasions; it is astringent, bitter, and clouds the other flavors.
Can coffee grounds be used as fertilizer for plants?
True! I do it and recommend it. Plants benefit from the coffee grounds in their soil.
Does the coffee in the Moka pot burn if it is too hot?
False! It never burns; what happens is that at high temperatures, the coffee is extracted faster, and if you have coffee with a medium dark roast, it will be over-extracted, and we will feel those roasted, ashy flavors very marked.
Following the steps I have recommended in previous articles to prepare a good coffee with a Moka pot, you can minimize these flavors as much as possible.
Can coffee be frozen?
True! I wrote an article on coffee preservation where we talked about it.
As long as it is stored as airtight as possible and allowed to thaw completely, it can be frozen perfectly well without opening before use. It is an excellent resource as long as the guidelines for doing so are respected.
Should the ground coffee be all the same color?
True! This is true unless a bad roasting is performed, where the outside of the coffee will look much darker than the inside. This will indicate that it lacks development, so it is poorly roasted.
Is coffee cream or foam synonymous with good quality?
This is totally and completely false! Should there be cream? Yes, of course, but not an exaggerated amount.
When using a poor quality coffee such as robusta, with a very high roast, or a very fresh coffee (almost from the same roasting day), a lot of creams will be obtained when extracting it. However, the flavor will be bad in any of these options.
Does espresso die after 10 seconds?
False! It is recommended to wait a few minutes before drinking espresso.
Like any other coffee, when the temperature is lowered, we can better perceive its flavors and feel them with much more brightness and clarity. It will be too hot to discover these flavors if we drink them immediately.
What happens is that, with an espresso, the temperature drops much faster since it is such a small amount compared to a cup of coffee. And if too much time goes by, the temperature drops too much and oxidizes.
Can commercial coffee be considered good quality with a medium or light roast?
False! If coffee is of poor quality when green, no type of roast can save it.
A light roast in such a coffee will be unpalatable because it will highlight all its defects. This is also why high roasts are generally made.
Is it necessary to fill the filter more to make a loaded coffee?
If by loaded you mean more intense, it is true! The intensity is given by the proportion of coffee and water, not the coffee itself.
So, if you want it to be more intense, you should increase the coffee and keep the same amount of water. Although you should modify the other variables to maintain the same extraction quality, if you want to know more about this, I recommend you to see the article on How much coffee to use per cup, dosage, and ratio.
Is coffee from America better than coffee from Africa or Asia?
False! Each origin has its charm; if it is of quality, it can be incredible in each region.
Is it preferable to buy coffee beans and grind them with a blade grinder than to buy ground coffee?
False! It is always better to have it ground at purchase with a good professional grinder than to buy it in beans and grind it with our poor-quality grinders.
Why? Because otherwise, you will never be able to savor all that this coffee has to offer. These grinders produce so many particle sizes that they block all the flavors, and even though you will feel it richer than a commercial one, you will not get what you are paying for.
Ground coffee will deteriorate faster, so we recommend ordering as little as possible and consuming it quickly.
Does vacuum packing freshly roasted beans extract the gas?
True! I do not recommend vacuum-packing roasted coffee. In green, yes, but already roasted, the action of sucking the oxygen so that the vacuum remains extracts gas, but also the aromas and the aroma is flavor, so it is a no for me.
For a dark roast coffee, is a fine grind better?
False! It is just the opposite. The higher the roast, the coarser the grind should be.
Does caffeine have no flavor?
False! Caffeine has a very bitter taste; it is one of the compounds that cause bitterness in coffee.
That is why species such as robusta, which has more than double the amount of caffeine than arabica, are much more bitter when preparing coffee.
Should coffee be bitter?
False! I recently did an article on the bitterness of coffee. Coffee has bitterness in its flavors because, as I just said, they have caffeine and other compounds to which bitterness is attributed.
But bitterness should never predominate in the cup; I would never describe a good coffee as bitter.
The only difference between a cappuccino and a latte is the milk and milk froth proportion.
True! Taking into account the modern cappuccino, which I also did an article about recently, cappuccino and latte are prepared like espresso. Still, the latte is served in a larger cup or glass to increase the milk proportion.
The amount of froth is the same to make latte art, although some add a little more to the cappuccino. In short, the cappuccino has a very balanced flavor, and the latter is much smoother; the coffee flavor is not felt so much.