Coffee: Simply more than enjoyment


A cup of coffee as part of the morning ritual is - according to surveys - for well 60 percent of the population at the beginning of a new day. Be it filter coffee or espresso is a matter of faith for many. However, few people know that, in addition to the type of preparation, it depends on the harvest, the roasting and the right water, but first and foremost on the variety and quality of the beans. Option makes you a Barista, a true coffee expert.

Coffee in its prime: The quality of the hot drink depends on many factors.

From a botanical point of view, the coffee bush belongs to the Rubiaceae family, genus Coffea, and counts 124 different species. However, Arabica and Robusta have established themselves as the most important coffee varieties. Arabica is generally considered to be the highest quality coffee variety. In comparison, your beans have a lower content of caffeine and chlorogenic acid and therefore taste milder. Although it is often referred to as the highland bean, there are also countries where it can be found at lower elevations. The Robusta variety, on the other hand, grows in deeper, hotter locations and defends itself against the more common predators by producing more caffeine. In addition to the above, there are a number of other varieties that are grown for commercial use and are relevant for local needs or niche products for coffee lovers, but these play a subordinate role in the world market.

"This Satan potion is so delicious it would be a shame to leave it to the unbelievers."
Pope Clement VII

Traditionally one speaks of a coffee mixture with Robusta portion of a (southern) Italian blend. In Italy, especially in the south, the cheaper, often maligned Robusta beans were added to pure Arabica mixes to round off their flavors and create perfect crema. The Robusta bean is earthier, stronger in flavor and produces a firmer crema.

Factors such as temperature, rainfall, sunshine intensity and soil quality during the harvest year affect the taste. Therefore, the harvests of different years from the same region may differ aromatically.

Other coffee varieties

• Liberica - The natural range of the species is in the lowlands of West Africa, but it is also grown in Southeast Asia. Very resistant plant with high caffeine content.

• Stenophylla - Grows in the Ivory Coast, but is now also cultivated in Ghana and Nigeria. Needs little water and is hardly imported to Europe.

• Excelsa - Actually a variant of the Liberica bean. Grows well on dry soil. Mainly grown in Chad and accounting for about one percent of world coffee production.

• Maragogype - If you cross beans of the Arabica plant with those of the coffea liberica, you get the variety Maragogype. This is characterized by mild aroma and low caffeine content. Main cultivation areas are Nicaragua and Mexico.

Single Origin - varietal purity

The English term "Single Origin" refers to the origin of the coffee. For a coffee to be awarded this title, all coffee beans must come from the same region and must not be mixed with other types of coffee. The coffee comes from a location, a farm. It is similar to wine with varietal coffee: the taste characteristics are much more pronounced and correspond exactly to one type, while a "blend" - like a cuvée - was "pimped".

The many different flavors are achieved by blending. Depending on the variety combination and mixing ratio always new flavors arise. In terms of taste, the spectrum ranges from dark chocolate over roasted peanuts to fruity forest berries.

Very expensive usually those beans are sold, in whose creation an animal had the hand in the game. So there is a strain that has been digested and excreted by chicken-like birds (Jacu). Something similar is the case with the Kopi Luwak, which can be found in the excrement of a stalk cat species.

"For me it's the nicest in the coffee house. You are not at home and yet not in the fresh air. "
Lecturer Peter Altenberg

Coffee for everyone!

Still in the middle of the 19. In the 19th century, coffee was considered a luxury that only aristocracy and the upper bourgeoisie could afford. Today, this versatile bean is a treat for everyone. Between 7,5 and 8 millions of tons of roasted coffee are consumed worldwide per year. Austria ranks second among Finland and Norway in terms of per capita consumption. To meet this enormous demand, cultivation and processing are now largely industrialized.

The roasting does it

Baristas among themselves: Oliver Götz (r.) And Christian Schödl from the Kaffee-Roesterei Alt Wien
Baristas among themselves: Oliver Götz (r.) And Christian Schödl from the Kaffee-Roesterei Alt Wien

Most coffees of the major brands are shock-roasted in the hot-air process for two to five minutes at 600 to 800 ° C. Up to half a ton of coffee can be processed in huge systems at once. The hot coffee is then cooled with water. The bean absorbs some moisture again, so that the penetration, ie the weight loss of the green coffee through the roasting, is counteracted. For the founders of the online coffee shop "Coffee Circle" ( such a process is out of the question: "Less weight loss means less coffee beans per pound of coffee results in less costs with less flavor. The hot air roasting process is overall a process driven by economic interests. Although most supermarket coffees can be sold cheaper at the end of the day, they taste bitter and are relatively unpalatable. "Oliver Götz and Christian Schrödl, founders of the coffee roasting plant" Alt Wien "(, roast their coffee beans using a different, much gentler method: “With us, the temperature at the zenith of the drum is between 200 and 220 degrees. A roasting process takes between 15 and 25 minutes, depending on the type of coffee. Then the finished coffee has to cool down in the cooling sieve for ten to 15 minutes with constant movement before it is freed from stones and other impurities in a mechanical stoner. "

Roasting is therefore the last important step in refining coffee beans, with very complex chemical reactions taking place. Sugars and amino acids are being reassembled and valued 1000 flavors are forming. Katrin Engel of the Coffee Circle knows: "Even the compatibility of the coffee depends on the type and duration of the roasting. The aggressive fruit acids contained in coffee are gradually reduced during the roasting time. In the case of very short and hot industrial roasting, these still largely remain in the coffee beans and may lead to irritation of the gastric mucous membranes. "

Light or dark?

The right roasting is crucial for the final product in the cup. Oliver Götz: "Too bright and the coffee turns sour. Too dark, and he gets bitter, because all the fragile taste nuances are burned. Our way of roasting lies between the two extremes: We are trying to find a golden mean between the slightly lighter roast type, which is mainly used in Northern Europe, Germany and the USA and produces very light, acidic coffees, and the southern Italian, very dark roast type that tends to cause bitter, burnt end products. We believe that our coffees can develop so optimally. It's difficult to put it in drawers, but most likely it's the so-called Full City Roast. So we can avoid disturbing acidity in the coffee and still not destroy the taste nuances. "

Ground coffee quickly loses aroma. Here there are probably differences, since ground coffee, for example, less noticeably lose their freshness than for Siebträgerzubereitung ground, yet ticks in coffee, which was already ground, the clock faster than the beans. So: do not store ground coffee for longer than a week.

The perfect espresso

Expert Oliver Götz knows exactly how to make the perfect espresso: "Of course, the choice of machine is important. But even more important is the cleanliness in the preparation. The machine must have a water outlet temperature matched to the coffee and the correct boiler and pump pressure. You just have to try it out, every machine is different. Mostly the connection of a water filter is advisable, in order to have a constant mineral condition of the water. Water that is too soft or too hard destroys the crema. Assuming that you have now purchased the coffee beans that best suit your tastes, you will have to grind them first. Best shortly before the coffee. The degree of beating is perfect when the portafilter machine needs between 15 and 25 seconds to fill out of the small portafilter an espresso cup to about two-thirds, the coffee has a nice crema and a clear taste and tastes not too sour or too bitter. From the big portafilter the coffee should run between 20 and 40 seconds. "

Fair trade & organic

At the harvest: Not only variety purity, also the pure conscience by Fairtrade makes the good coffee.
At the harvest: Not only variety purity, also the pure conscience by Fairtrade makes the good coffee.

Bio stands for a biological rearing of the coffee without chemical pesticides, herbicides or insecticides. Organic coffees must be kept separate from conventional coffees during transport as well as storage and must also be processed strictly separated. Conventional coffee must never come into contact with organic coffee so that when roasting both coffees on the same machine, it must be cleaned very precisely.

It is important to coffee expert Oliver Götz that his beans are traded fairly. He himself visited many different growing areas, knows the local conditions and is therefore convinced: "Fairtrade is effective poverty alleviation and creates a world in which smallholder families and plantation workers in developing countries sustainably lead a safe and decent life and shape their own future. While no certification can be 100-percent accurate, I think it's very important to put a lot of energy into the effort to achieve the Bio and Fairtrade goals. "

The right preparation

With some basic rules, the coffee preparation can be easily optimized at home. Use fresh coffee if possible. Tip: Fresh coffee comes directly from the roaster or from the Internet dropship. Cleaning all containers that come into contact with coffee: Coffee leaves fats and oils. These deposits react with oxygen and become rancid. The taste is transferred to lack of cleaning on the next cup of coffee. Use the right water: The water hardness changes the coffee taste. An appropriate water filter reduces the carbonate hardness (lime) of the tap water and protects the coffee machine from stubborn limescale. Ideal for making coffee is water with a pH of 7,0 and a total hardness of about 8 ° d.

coffee substitute

Lupines, chicory root, as well as various cereals such as malt, barley or spelled are used as coffee substitutes. But real coffee can not really replace that, baristas are agreed worldwide.

Photo / Video: Roastery Alt Vienna, Coffee roasting Alt Vienna, Coffee Circle.

Written by Ursula Wastl

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Helmut Melzer

Phoenix - Editorial by Helmut Melzer


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