Coffee Express

Providing great service to coffee houses and other specialty retailers in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana

Posts Tagged / Taste

The Current State Of Specialty Coffee

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We are now roasting new crop Central American coffees, and they taste fantastic. Some of these are used in our House and House Full City blends, which translates to a lot of of fabulous flavors for you to try. Scott is partial to the milder coffees, so new crop Costa Rican or House Blend is what he’d brew if given a choice. Walt is enjoying the fresh crop Centrals, and organic French Roast (for his espressos) – which also has new crop in it.

We always brew the coffees right after roasting and again the next day, but the flavors continue to develop three or four more days. Roasting changes the chemical makeup of the beans. The heat burns the sugars that are inside, and brings the oils that carry much of the flavor to the surface. On close inspection of a roasted bean, you will notice – especially in a dark roast – a speck of oil emerging. That speck will continue to spread, covering the whole bean, and subtly changing the flavor as it goes.

How do cantaloup, hibiscus, or soy sauce grab you as tasting notes in coffee? There is an updated coffee tasting flavor wheel that has some interesting descriptive terms. Though some of the identifiers are a bit outside the pale, we at Coffee Express have picked up and recognized many of these taste notes. See what you think for yourself at

We hope you enjoy these excellent new crop coffees, and that you’ll have some fun picking up some of the flavors from the wheel!

Espresso Roasts and Blends

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Decades ago, espresso coffee in the U.S. was more generic: dark roasted, and of unknown origin. In the late 1970s, Peet’s Coffee of San Francisco raised the quality level of the beans they were using; they didn’t view dark as a way to mask the poor flavor of inferior beans.

More recently, a trend has developed that has baristas brewing espressos with single origin coffees, and/or much more lightly roasted beans.

Leaving aside brew strengths for now, how do you go about determining your favorite espresso? Does that espresso shot have the character to hold up well if you want a cappuccino or latte?

When cafes are putting together a blend for espresso brewing, they understand that some coffees are tart, and some are softer. Using the espresso method of 130 psi, coffee beans are ground to allowed an enormous amount of the surface area of the bean to become exposed to the hot, pressurized water and steam. Intense flavors come through, and both the good and bad are revealed.

The West-coast coffee chains that grew in popularity in the 1980s & 1990s are hugely successful, and responsible in many ways for what’s called the “second wave” in coffee. Better quality, very darkly roasted coffee is now the norm for a majority of espresso, cappuccino, and latte drinkers. The “third wave” is easing up a bit on the roast, and using even higher quality coffees. Is there a certain standard flavor you expect from an espresso? Are you willing to take a walk along the cutting edge?

You can experiment by asking your favorite local cafe to pull a shot of medium, or full-city roasted beans – espresso ground, of course – and see what you think. Be prepared for the results though; this will be an entirely new (and hopefully fun) experience for your taste-buds!

It’s in the Cup

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While there are many aspects to running a coffee house, or a store selling coffee among its various products, the taste in the cup still rules. Finding what you like is a process filled with a sometimes confusing array of choices – each of which affects your end result. Read More

How We Choose Our Coffees

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Folks who make coffee their profession understand – there are many steps to a great cup. It starts with green beans, and involves roasting, brewing and serving. The green beans alone require a certain depth of knowledge, including genetics, growing regions, processing techniques, sorting, and shipping. Let’s take a look at how we choose our coffees. Read More