top of page

How to begin your coffee journey: A Beginner's Guide to Coffee

Lets get back to the basics! Whether you're new to coffee or looking to deepen your appreciation, starting your coffee journey can be a delightful and enriching experience. This guide will cover the essentials, including different brewing methods, roast levels, and the diverse flavors coffee can offer.


Brewing Methods: Finding Your Perfect Cup

One of the most exciting aspects of coffee is the variety of ways you can brew it. Each method brings out different characteristics in the coffee, allowing you to discover what you enjoy most. The first step in a beginner's coffee journey will be finding the best brewing style for their lifestyle.


Drip Coffee Maker

Convenience: A drip coffee maker is perfect for beginners and everyday use. Simply add water and coffee grounds, and let the machine do the rest. It's a great way to make consistent coffee with minimal effort.


French Press

Rich and Full-Bodied: The French press, or press pot, uses immersion brewing to produce a rich, full-bodied coffee. Coarse ground coffee steeps in hot water for several minutes before being pressed away. This method is ideal if you enjoy robust and complex flavors.


Pour-Over

Precision and Control: The pour-over method involves manually pouring hot water over coffee grounds in a filter. This technique gives you more control over the brewing process, allowing you to highlight the coffee's subtle flavors. Tools like the Hario V60 or Chemex are popular choices for pour-over enthusiasts.



Espresso Machine

Strong and Intense: Espresso machines brew coffee by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee under high pressure. This method produces a strong, concentrated coffee that serves as the base for many popular drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, and Americanos. Find a quality espresso machine can be pricey with a steep learning curve which is why it is not recommended for beginner coffee lovers.


Aeropress

Versatile and Portable: The Aeropress is a versatile, portable device that uses immersion and pressure to brew coffee. It's known for its ability to produce a clean, smooth cup and is popular among travelers and outdoor enthusiasts. The Aeropress is an easy and affordable way to begin making top notch coffee!


Cold Brew

Smooth and Refreshing: Cold brew coffee is made by steeping coarse ground coffee in cold water for an extended period, usually 12-24 hours. The result is a smooth, less acidic coffee that can be enjoyed over ice or diluted with water or milk. Cold brew is super easy to make and takes maybe 10 minutes of prep time for a large batch of delicious coffee. Read our complete guide to cold brew here!



Summary

Finding the right brewing style is part of the coffee journey and depends on how hands on with your coffee making process you want to be. Part of the fun of coffee is the entire brewing process as it makes for great conversation while you make a delicious cup for your family and friends. Plus, you can always change brew styles and enjoy the variety of benefits that each style provides!


Understanding Coffee Roast Levels

Coffee roast levels significantly impact the flavor and aroma of your coffee. Here's a quick overview:

Three small piles of coffee beans.  Pile on the left is light roasted coffee beans, pile in the middle is medium roasted coffee beans, and pile on the right is dark roasted coffee beans.

Light Roast

Bright and Fruity: Light roast coffees retain most of the bean’s original characteristics, offering bright, acidic flavors with fruity or floral notes. They are light brown in color and have no oil on the surface.


Medium Roast

Balanced and Sweet: Medium roasts are balanced in flavor, aroma, and acidity. They often feature a sweet, caramelized taste with a slightly darker color than light roasts. These are sometimes referred to as "city" or "breakfast" roasts.


Dark Roast

Bold and Smoky: Dark roast coffees are dark brown to almost black, with a shiny, oily surface. They have bold, smoky flavors with notes of chocolate or caramel. The acidity is lower, and the original flavors of the bean are more subdued.


Summary

Choosing the right roast style is the main choice that every coffee consumer must make. This is because the same coffee bean can taste vastly different when roasted to different levels. As a beginner, light or medium roast would be the best as they are often less bitter and "burnt" tasting compared to dark roast coffees.

Holy Grounds Coffee bag next to dark roasted coffee beans on a silver coffee scooper

At Holy Grounds Coffee we offer a variety of roast levels across our coffee options, but for beginners we suggest our Do Good blend which is a medium roast with sweet and cocoa tasting notes.


Plus this Do Good blend embodies our great mission of "Do Good for yourself by Doing Good for others."




Exploring Coffee Flavors

Coffee can offer a wide range of flavors, influenced by the type of bean, its origin, and how it's processed and roasted. Here are some common flavor profiles:


Fruity and Floral

Often found in light roasts from regions like Ethiopia and Kenya, these coffees can have notes of berries, citrus, jasmine, or even wine-like qualities.


Nutty and Chocolaty

Medium roasts from regions such as Colombia and Brazil often exhibit nutty or chocolaty flavors, with a smooth, balanced profile.


Spicy and Earthy

Coffees from Sumatra and other parts of Indonesia can have spicy, earthy flavors with a full body and low acidity.


Caramel and Sweet

Dark roasts, especially those from Central and South America, can have caramelized sugar and sweet, toasty flavors, making them perfect for those who enjoy a rich and comforting cup.


Summary

Coffee is a unique plant that can naturally create hundreds of distinct flavor notes. This is especially true when buying higher end, quality grade coffee beans (like the kind we sell!) that are expertly roasted to best display their flavor characteristics. Why buy artificially flavored coffee when you can get the natural taste of cherries in our Pomegranate blend!


Specialty Coffee Association flavor wheel.  A multicolored flavor wheel that describes the many flavor characteristics that coffee can have.

Beginner's Coffee Journey tips


Experiment with Grind Size

The grind size of your coffee beans affects the extraction process and ultimately the taste of your coffee. Experiment with different grind sizes to see how they change the flavor of your brew. Generally:

  • Coarse: Best for French press and cold brew.

  • Medium: Suitable for drip coffee makers and pour-over.

  • Fine: Ideal for espresso and Aeropress.


Buying a home coffee grinder may seem like a big first step, but it makes a world of difference in fresh tasting coffee. Plus, buying bags of whole bean coffee makes them last longer, therefore opening up so many opportunities to experiment with new blends and single origin coffees.


Pay Attention to Water Quality and Temperature

Using filtered water can significantly improve the taste of your coffee. Aim for a water temperature between 195-205°F (90-96°C) for optimal extraction.


Explore Different Coffee Origins

Try coffees from different regions to explore a wide range of flavors. Coffee from Africa, Central and South America, and Asia each has distinct characteristics worth exploring.


Keep a Coffee Journal

Documenting your coffee experiences can help you understand your preferences better. Note the type of coffee, roast level, grind size, brewing method, and your tasting notes for each cup.


Learn from the Experts

Feel free to ask us! We are always taste testing coffees and would love to talk about them with you. Plus keep an eye out for future videos and blogs to help you keep learning about the wonderful world of coffee.


Conclusion

Beginning your coffee journey is about exploration and enjoyment. By trying different brewing methods, understanding roast levels, and appreciating the diverse flavors coffee has to offer, you'll develop a deeper connection with this beloved beverage. So grab your favorite mug, start experimenting, and savor every sip of your coffee adventure!


Two men wearing Holy Grounds Coffee aprons.  One man is holding cold brew coffee kits from CoffeeSock and the other man is holding a Venegas Cold Brew coffee blend from Holy Grounds Coffee

25 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page