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What Makes a Good Cup of Coffee? Part 1

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Mmmm… Coffee.

According to Justina Chen, ‘Adventure in life is good. Consistency in coffee, even better.’

It would be hard to find a coffee drinker who disagrees. Coffee has become the gasoline of the modern world, fuelling millions each day with the sweet promise of productivity and wakefulness.

But for those of us lucky enough to live amidst the thriving café culture and innovative coffee scene of Melbourne, it’s easy enough to take our morning coffee-fix for granted…
Until we have a bad coffee.

It doesn’t have to be awful. It doesn’t necessarily have to burnt or bitter. There’s just something not quite right.
You know the feeling: a mixture of betrayal and contempt.
The sad realisation sinks in as you take that first sip and suddenly your whole day is ruined and everything in life is futile.

It seems strange to consider that a cup of coffee of all things should have such a profound effect on us, but for those of us who live in the ‘lucky country’, particularly in Melbourne, where the options for our beautiful, balanced early-morning cup are plentiful, coffee is not just fuel for the day, it’s a ritual, an experience. It is ceremony.

And that leads us to wonder, what makes a good coffee? What is it that dictates the difference between a steaming cup of liquid gratification and the borderline criminal act of enduring sub-par coffee?

A good cup of coffee is subjective to some extent.

Some, as T.S. Elliot wrote, may measure out their life with coffee spoons, preferring a stronger start to their day, whilst others prefer a sweetener of sorts to aid in their consumption.

Another variable is milk of course, from full cream to soy and more recently the options of specialty ‘milks’ such as Almond and coconut.

Then there’s the amount of milk and how much of it is foamed, of course.

One can always go further still, preferring mocha, various flavourings, decaffeinated, or even iced coffee, a visit to a coffee shop is daunting to a novice, yet even the most experienced of baristas is surprised by a new combination every so often.

To counter this, there is always the steadfast traditional, the one who refuses to tarnish their espresso with any additions and savours the purity of the solid short black.

Despite the differences in preferences we might have for taste, there is still a definitive line between good and bad coffee for any seasoned drinker.

Coffee, as we know it today, is the wonderful fusion of both art and science.

Although the brewing of this humble bean has come a long way since its beginnings in 15th century Ethiopia and the early coffee trees of Yemen; innovation, invention, technology, and passion have all played a part in how we relate to coffee in modern times.

Throughout the years and despite differences in taste, we now know the four absolute factors that make a good cup of coffee. The 4 Ms as we like to call it, are essential to producing a good cup of coffee. Today we’re going to cover the first of the four Ms, La Miscela!

La Miscela – The Mixture

The mixture, or more aptly, the blend, is the first of the four Ms, and for good reason. Coffee begins at the bean.

Although single-origin coffee is gaining popularity amongst purists and coffee aficionados, blends remain popular for producing a greater balance in flavours.

It is important to have a trusted supplier for quality coffee beans to ensure well-designed flavour and aroma.

Attention to detail during the blend assembly is paramount, and it takes a lot of time and research to develop the perfect composition of flavours to compliment or contradict one another.
See our range of quality coffee for quality coffee beans, ground coffee and pods.

Selecting the right beans to enhance flavours and complement or contradict one another is the first step in the crafting of a good cup of coffee.
Like an artist choosing their paints, the roaster must choose the right beans, always keeping in mind the bigger picture.

A good cup of coffee, when looking at that bigger picture, doesn’t just mean taste and mouthfeel.

It’s becoming more and more important for consumers to know the origins of their brew and whether the beans are sustainably grown and if they have been ethically sourced.

These days, thankfully, there is much more awareness of the unfair conditions and mistreatment endured by coffee farmers.

As conscientious wholesale coffee suppliers, we strive to provide Fairtrade coffee and are excited to bring the Global Café Direct range to our customers as part of our extensive Coffex range.

If you want to know more about Fairtrade certified coffee providers, there is a list available on the Fairtrade website.

Knowing your choices improves the lives of farmers and their communities makes your cup of coffee the best kind of ‘good’.

The use of synthetic chemicals, fertilisers, and pesticides is another factor that leaves a bad taste in your mouth, no matter how delicious the coffee.

The next step of course, is the roasting process.

This process is what actualises those complex flavour profiles that are signature to our beloved coffee, turning the simple green seeds into the aromatic beans that we adore so.

Although we source our beans from over 25 countries across four continents in the hunt for the most enticing of flavours, we bring them back to Melbourne for roasting at our Brunswick plant.

Our master roaster uses modern techniques to ensure optimal flavour extraction during every step of the roasting process.

This, combined with our high-grade European equipment including a 300-kilogram Brambati roaster and 120-kilogram and 22-kilogram Probat roasters, allows us to produce large commercial quantities as well as smaller bespoke orders.

Local roasting ensures freshness.

Once a coffee bean has been roasted and is exposed to air, it begins to degrade and lose its flavour.

It is important to know when your coffee is roasted and to know when the optimum time is to consume it.
There is no telling how long the products have been on the shelves, and in many cases products are poorly packaged and improperly stored.

Shipping coffee online is actually a better option than supermarkets for the most part, as the product is not left to languish in storage or long transit- in most cases. However, ensure you purchase from a reputable dealer that understands correct handling and the importance of freshness to avoid the disappointment of poor quality coffee.

That’s why it is imperative to find a trustworthy supplier, who is experienced, and local! That way you know that you are getting the freshest, highest quality of coffee possible. (We know of an exceptionally amazing supplier if you’re still wondering…)

Coffex is one of the largest coffee manufacturers in the Southern Hemisphere, enabling us the capacity and resources to undertake contract roasting for private labels and other brands.

We use premium quality foils for packaging to ensure freshness as well as coming in a range of colours and blank finishes for unique branding.

Find out about the other crucial elements that go into making a good cup of coffee in Part 2, but until then keep in mind that with 50 years of producing award winning coffee, we have La Miscela down pat.

Contact us today

A good cup of coffee begins with the bean. Coffex Coffee wholesale coffee suppliers sell premium coffee and commercial espresso machines for businesses across Australia. Contact us online or call 1300 263 333.