Coffee Savvy

The ripe berry on the tree is processed in one of two ways:

Dry method – the ripe berry  is picked, cleaned and dried and then hulled.

Wet method –  the berry is immersed in water and then put through a screen that removes the skin and some pulp. Additional flesh surrounding the seed/bean is removed  either by fermentation (to break down the cell walls) and washing or via mechanical scrubbing to obtain the bean. The bean is then cleaned and dried.

The structure of coffee berry

1: center cut   2:bean (endosperm)   3: silver skin (testa, epidermis),   4: parchment (hull, endocarp)   5: pectin layer 6: pulp (mesocarp)   7: outer skin (pericarp, exocarp)

source:  YT Yambe

Roasting the Bean

Coffee beans are green and almost lentil like in texture.

As they are roasted, some steam is formed as the beans loose moisture and turn yellow.

Then the coffee beans turn tan in colour, and soon you will hear a crack as the bean turns brown.

Coffee can be roasted to various degrees to suit different tastes:

1. Light/American/Cinnamon roast – after first crack and before second crack, light bodied taste, tangy acidity

2. Medium/City roast – first audible snaps of second crack – caramel taste

3. Full/High/Vienna/Light French roast – second crack is under way – caramel-chocolate undertones

4. Full French/Double roast – quite a lot of smoke, oily sheen, second crack rapid and near its end – little acidity and burnt undertones in taste – espresso lovers like this level

5. Italian/Spanish roast (where sugars are heavily caramelized) – after second crack has slowed and beans are carbonised – flat flavour with charcoal overtone.

Ways of enjoying coffee

Do you know your cafe from your cappuccino?

Ordering a cafe in Europe often gets you an espresso.

lungo or alto is expresso with a little water. 

Doppio simply means a double espresso and yes, doppio ristretto’s exist – four doses of expresso but in about the same volume as an expresso.

Note however a double latte is not an upsized latte but the standard latte with two ’shots’ of expresso. And when in Australia, children not yet of age can partake at the coffee table but they get babiccino – steamed and frothed milk, sans coffee.

Like it with a little kick? Then ask for a Cafe Corretto – which contains some liqueur or spirits- usually Grappa.

Cafe Freddo – Could James Bond have ordered this at the bar, on the Mediterranean, early one morning ?   Cafe freddo is an expresso shaken in ice but not stirred!

Ordering ‘local’ coffee of ‘kopi’ in Singapore

Kopi-gau – coffee (strong brew – “gau” is “厚” in Hokkien)

Kopi-po – coffee (weak brew – “po” is “薄” in Hokkien)

Kopi-C – coffee with evaporated milk

Kopi-C-kosong – coffee with evaporated milk and no sugar (’kosong” means empty in Malay)

Kopi-O – black coffee with sugar

Kopi-O-kosong –  coffee without sugar or milk

Kopi-O-kosong-gau –  a strong brew of coffee without sugar or milk

Kopi-ping or Kopi-ice – coffee with milk, sugar and ice

Kopi-xiu-dai – coffee with less sugar

Kopi-gah-dai – coffee with extra sweetened milk

Taste of Coffee

Cupping describes the sensory evaluation of coffee. In essence, it involves putting to words the look, smell, taste, flavour, style and a qualitative assessment of the coffee.

Acidity – rather than the unpleasant sour-sharpness, it is the pleasing tanginess that brings about a dryness in the mouth.

Aromas and flavours – they range from fruity to the woody. Other descriptors include char, caramel, lemon, cereal, floral, cocoa, chocolate, malt, earth, herbal, smoke, ash, nut, tobbacco, hay, spice etc.

Bitterness – considered desirable up to a certain threshold.

Body – a combination of texture and the weight of the coffee, described as thin, light, medium, or buttery/heavy/big bodied. Kenyan coffee is often light bodied whilst kopi (local Singapore/Malaysian) coffee and even Thai or Vietnamese coffee is big bodied.

Aftertaste & finish – like for wine and most other foods – a good finish is defined as a pleasant lingering taste in the mouth long after consuming the product. Some coffees finish sweet whilst others finish dry.

Did you know? : Civet coffee or Kopi Luwak is coffee obtained from coffee berries which have been eaten by and passed through the digestive tract of the Asian Palm Civet. Yep, the faeces of the civet is collected, the beans are extracted and then washed and dried in the sun before roasting. I did try the coffee. A bit muddy in taste and didnt do much for me.

Coffee and Cheese go well together


  • ristrettos with a triple cream cheese
  • espressos (sweetened) with blue cheese
  • macchiatos with edam
  • long blacks with tete de moines
  • mochas with an aged cheddar of parmigiano