如何挑選才能買到有甜感的豆子 How to Select Beans to Find Ones with a Sweet Taste?
This coffee is so sweet ! When a cup of coffee smells or tastes sweet and satisfying, or has a sweet and sour flavor, it's like indulging in a dessert and brings contentment to both the mind and body. Interestingly, the sweetness in coffee not only balances acidity but also balances emotions. But how do you choose beans to find those delightfully sweet ones?
The sweetness in coffee comes from the natural sugars absorbed by coffee trees, which accumulate in the seeds inside the fruit, also known as the coffee beans we roast. The sweetness we taste in coffee comes from these natural sugars, which are preserved after the roasting process. During roasting, various sweet aromas are produced, and the appropriate level of sweetness is retained, ending up in your coffee cup through brewing. Therefore, two important factors influence the sweetness of the coffee drinking experience. First, the coffee beans must contain a significant amount of sugars, and second, the roaster must preserve sufficient sweetness.
For coffee beans to have abundant sugars, each growth factor is crucial. Arabica beans tend to be sweeter than Robusta beans. Fertile soil with ample nutrients, adequate rainfall, and sufficient sunlight in regions between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn support the process of photosynthesis, which produces glucose stored in the seeds. High altitude, significant temperature differences between day and night, prolonged growth periods, or appropriate shading trees can also contribute to sweetness. Proper handling of the beans during processing, including knowing the ideal harvesting time, fermentation process, and drying methods, ensures the delivery of the highest quality and sweetest beans to the next stage of roasting.
Roasters must retain sufficient sweetness by understanding the characteristics of the green beans. They should have extensive roasting experience and consider the flavor profiles provided by the green bean suppliers when formulating the roasting plan. While aiming for a full-bodied flavor, they must preserve the coffee's sweetness, achieving a well-balanced and sweet result. When the sweetness is well-preserved, both light and dark roasts can exhibit their respective characteristics. Light roasts generally offer a balanced sweet and tangy flavor with floral and fruity aromas, while dark roasts provide a balanced bittersweet taste with a rich and mellow flavor.
│Further reading: How Baristas Capture the Roasting Sweet Spot
If a cup of coffee tastes low in sweetness or not sweet at all, it could be due to a lack of control in the aforementioned factors. It may indicate that the green beans didn't contain sufficient sugars or that the roaster failed to retain enough sweetness. It's also possible that the brewing method didn't bring out the sweetness. If the brewing process is over-extracted, it can result in a less sweet coffee. Therefore, the sweetness can be a reference for judging the quality of the beans. Essentially, beans that lack sweetness are not suitable for light roasting as they will be too acidic without a balanced sweetness. It's better to opt for a dark roast to avoid excessive acidity while enjoying the roasted flavors.
To buy coffee with a high level of sweetness, all the aforementioned factors must be present. This implies higher costs as the price generally reflects the coffee's quality. Additionally, the roaster's experience in retaining sweetness is crucial. The flavor description of the coffee can provide insights into the sweetness of the beans. For example, a description of the top-ranked Kenyan coffee in the 2023 TOH Washed category includes: Plum-like sweetness, juicy, full-bodied, lingering sweet plum aftertaste, and intense and juicy sweetness structure. It represents a high-quality bean that is consistently sweet from start to finish, with plum flavor. Specialty coffee lover seem to love the exquisite acidity and the tantalizing touch of sweetness, creating a delightful sensation on their taste buds amidst the full-bodied flavors.
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