All coffee lovers, rejoice! Today is International Coffee Day. Whether you’re a new coffee drinker or a coffee addict, I am here to tell you all about coffee.

Shall we begin?

Everything you need to need to know about coffee is all around us but I’m here to give you the coffee 101 lowdown. Coffee is delicious, it’s distinct, and it’s what can get many of us out of bed to get our days started.

I have been drinking coffee since I was about 17. My love for good quality coffee grew as the years have passed. Coffee is delicious, uplifting and the aromas always spark something deep inside you.

Coffee 101 for International Coffee Day

What are the different types of roasts?

Well you have blonde roast, medium roast, and also a dark roast. Any coffee blend will consist of one of these. There are distinguished differences in the flavors, the smell and even the color of the coffee.

Blonde roast, which happened to be my personal favorite, is underrated! I don’t know why. Contrary to popular belief, blonde roast is actually the strongest coffee. Many people think that because it is a lighter roast that it is less potent but that is not the case. Blonde roast is a lighter taste and I feel like it actually has the most pleasant taste over the medium or dark roasts.

Medium roast is also another popular roast. You will find that this roast is served as the house coffee in most cafes. Starbucks house roast is typically pike place which is also a medium roast.

Dark roasts have the least amount of caffeine but also have the strongest taste. It’s very distinct and I know quite a few people enjoy this roast the most. When I first started drinking coffee I used to always order dark roast, not realizing it was not the strongest of the 3 types of roasts.

Regardless of your preference, all three roasts have unique flavors and all go well paired with some creamer of your choice.

Espresso

Espresso is the icing on the cake for coffee drinks. The espresso bean is basically a coffee bean that has been roasted longer. It equates to a dark roast but with more potency. Espresso is essentially, a shot of concentrated coffee, made by forcing very hot water at a high pressure through finely-ground coffee beans. While light, medium and dark roasts are for coffee beans, espresso beans simply have one type of roast, dark. Espresso also requires a different brewing process than normal coffee roasts.

Exploring the different types of coffee/espresso drinks.

When you go to a cafe, some have a crazy variety of menu items while some simply have the basics. Some of the more common espresso drinks are latte, cappuccino, americano, and macchiato. Each drink is crafted differently and using similar but different steps.

  • Latte – Shot of espresso topped with steamed milk and foam
  • Americano – Hot water and espresso
  • Macchiato – Equal parts steamed milk and espresso
  • Cappuccino – Shot of espresso with steamed milk
  • Ristretto – Single shot of espresso
  • Red Eye – Coffee with a shot of espresso on top (not for beginner coffee lovers)

Ordering the right coffee drink

What’s neat is that most cafes have altered these drinks with syrups, flavors or different types of milks. It’s fun to play around to see what you like best. For the different milks that can be used, it ranges from 2% milk, nonfat milk, almond milk, half and half, heavy cream, soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk…the list goes on! The flavors that are used can range from different chocolate flavors, vanilla, caramel, and any kind of nut flavor.

Chances are you have had some kind of sugary coffee-based drink. Yes, those can be addicting but can also be delicious. I used to think that Frappuccino’s were the best invention and now my go to drink is an iced latte. And again, there is a different in taste in an iced coffee versus and iced latte. Different potency, different taste, etc.

With coffee you can’t go wrong. You will often find new and exciting coffee drinks being crafted at different cafes. What I truly love is walking into a locally-owned cafe that has a story of where they get their beans from and that prides themselves in making the basic coffee drinks taste magnificent. So maybe instead of your usual Starbucks drink venture out and explore.

A local cafe will likely have a much tastier version of a normal latte but without all the sugary add ins. What makes it great is the freshness of the bean and also the way they brew their espresso or coffee. That, my friends, is what makes good coffee. A person who knows how to brew just right, and they have the best grown beans around. Every time I go to a locally-owned cafe, I can hardly wait to try one of their drinks because it will almost never disappoint! Now, go get a good latte or an americano. Visit your local coffee shops, and support small business always. You won’t regret it.

Happy International Coffee Day! Let us know how you’re celebrating in the comments below.