Taste The Difference: Premium vs. Cheap Coffee

There are tons of coffee companies in the world. Every company has their own roasts, their own blends, and their own flavors. Like most other products in the world, there are premium quality coffees and low grade coffees. You have your common gas station or restaurant coffees, some chain coffees, and then you have specialty coffee. Often times people will say that all coffee tastes the same. If you have ever actually stopped and compared different coffees, you know that that is not the case. Coffee is very similar to wine. You don’t hear people saying that all wine is the same. So, what are indicators of high grade coffee? The first is the mouthfeel of the coffee. Low quality coffee can seem very thick, gritty, and acidic. High grade coffee can have a balance of sweetness and acidity. Another characteristic that distinguishes good coffee from bad coffee is the aroma. Cheap or bad coffee will often smell “burnt” and hint of ash or smoke, while premium coffee will usually be fruity or nutty.

The aftertaste of coffee is also very important. Cheap quality coffee can linger for hours in your mouth and be quite unpleasant. You probably don’t want the taste of cigarette ash. A good coffee will provide the notes of fruit or nuts that it is supposed to and then dissipate a little later. These are just some of the differences between good coffee and bad coffee. You can really be a coffee snob and dig deeper into these differences. The Specialty Coffee Association of America is a great resource to help you in familiarizing yourself with the different coffees of the world. Next time you find yourself at your favorite coffee shop, ask to try their different roasts and compare them to other coffee shops in the area. See if you can tell the differences in coffee characteristics.