Coffee 101 - Adda Coffee & Tea House

Coffee 101

 As coffee professionals, we know how intimidating the world of coffee can be when you step up to the counter to order. Just the vocabulary alone can be enough to boggle the mind! We want you to feel confident when you’re at Adda, so we decided to tackle some commonly-asked coffee questions.  


Q: What’s the difference between a dark and light roast?

A: Roast makes a huge difference in the overall flavor of a coffee. Light roasts are not heated for as long as dark roasts, and so the flavors tend to be brighter, more fruity and more herbal than their dark roast counterparts. Light roasts also tend to have more caffeine, ideal if you’re looking for a strong kick. 


Dark roasts lean toward having a heavier body, with lots of baking spice flavors, like caramel, chocolate and graham cracker.  The longer exposure to heat through roasting also extracts more coffee oils from the beans. 


Q: What is a single origin coffee?

A: Simply put, single origin means that the coffee was harvested from one producer, crop or region. It denotes a high level of traceability for that coffee, allowing the consumer to find out more about each coffee’s specific qualities, growing methods, the labor methods used to harvest it and more. Some coffees go a step further and are single farm or single estate coffee, allowing further tracing to the coffee's origins. Single origin coffees are all made from a single varietal unlike blended coffees which may contain several. 


Q: What exactly is espresso?

A: Espresso is a concentrated coffee, made by taking finely-ground and tightly-packed coffee beans and forcing a small amount of nearly-boiling water through them. This method of extraction pulls out a higher amount of caffeine and flavor from the beans. Coffee beans that are used to make espresso are generally roasted for longer and ground more finely than those used for other methods of brewing coffee. 


Q: What is cold brew? Is it different from iced coffee?

A: Cold brew is a brewing method that uses room temperature water and time to extract the flavors from the coffee instead of hot water. To make cold brew, a barista will take ground coffee and soak it in room temperature water for about 12 hours. This long extraction process typically results in a less acidic and more highly caffeinated coffee than iced coffee. Iced coffee is made by using heat to brew the coffee and then cooling it down and pouring it over ice. 


Q: What’s the deal with pour over?

A: Pour over has become an increasingly popular brewing method in coffee shops across the country. The method involves the manual pouring of hot water over coffee grounds. This hands-on approach allows the barista more control over factors like water temperature, grind, saturation and water-to-coffee contact all of which can contribute to a more “dialed in” cup of java. Check out our pour over guide for a step-by-step walkthrough of this method. 


Still not sure what kind of beans to buy for your morning coffee? Let us take out the guesswork and sign up for our Coffee & Chocolate Subscription Service. Select biweekly or monthly delivery to get a 12 oz. bag of Adda Coffee & Tea House label, whole bean coffee from Verve Coffee Roasters and a select specialty chocolate bar.