A Complete Coffee Guide For Beginners – Take A Good Start!

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Do you wonder if there’s a coffee guide for beginners? You’re not the only one.

Coffee has been a staple drink for more than anyone can remember. Since its discovery, people have used this beverage as a wake-up boost, a guest drink, or sometimes for pure recreation. 

It’s hard to find anywhere in the world without it. If you are looking for a decent one, please read on. This article will tell you about different types of beans, how to have your first cup of java, and the best coffee out there for starters. Stay tuned!

What You Need To Know About Coffee?

Why Drink Coffee?

To start with, we’re sure you have had your reasons to drink this beverage in the first place. However, for better consideration and understanding of coffee, there are some benefits you need to know so that at least you won’t regret having such a wonderful beverage.

Besides its boosting effect that anyone knows, this caffeine-packed drink has been found to have multiple nutrients that aid in fighting diseases. It packs with potent antioxidants and vitamin Bs. 

What’s more, while caffeine has many side effects, it is still effective in helping you burn fat and maintain excellent performance at the gym.

Not to mention coffee is a cultural figure for so many countries globally that its variety has reached further than any other beverage. 

Believe it or not, you can make friends and have great stories just by sharing your coffee experience and grabbing a cup with others. No wonder why coffee shops have always been a perfect place for dates.

Last but not least, the process of enjoying coffee is pure beauty. Its incredible smell and flavor, how you prepare coffee for yourself, or how you drink it all contribute to a spiritual ritual and can light up your day more than anything. 

Imagine sitting next to a window on a rainy day, slowly sipping your cup of joe while reading your favorite book. Isn’t that beautiful?

Types Of Coffee Bean

Now that you are ready to step into the coffee world, we want to make sure that you first have every basic knowledge about the beverage. 

Not all coffees are the same. Although they all come from coffee beans, the types of beans will drastically affect how you feel about your drink. 

There are two types, namely Arabica and Robusta. They have different aromas, flavors, caffeine content, and usage. 

Arabica

Arabica, also known as Arabian coffee, originates from Ethiopia and is cultivated in many regions such as Brazil and other South American countries.

It is the most widely used type of coffee, making up 60% of the world’s consumption.

Arabica is famous for its mild, soft, nutty flavor with a touch of fruity aroma. It has a higher acidity level than its counterpart Robusta; that’s why it is slightly sourer.

Generally speaking, Arabica is also harder to harvest and takes many years of taking care to grow. That’s why it’s more expensive and is featured in so many quality coffee shops. Arabica is also the predominant choice in the West and developed countries.

Robusta

Making up the remaining 40% of the global coffee market, Robusta is mainly grown in countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, India, and some countries in Africa. 

These beans are famous for their stronger flavor with double the caffeine. The name also speaks a lot about it since it’s a more robust plant than Arabica, is easier to harvest, more resistant to diseases, hence a lower price. 

Robusta is also the primary source of retail and instant coffee. It might come in handy if you want a quick boost for the working day.

Coffee Roasting

Coffee roasting is an essential process in which the raw beans are transformed into a dark, delicious versions we bring home and enjoy. Besides the type of beans, this process also heavily affected your final cup.

Professionals rate types of roasting based on their color. The longer the beans are roasted, the darker it gets with less and less caffeine.

Roasting is a process that brings out the most aroma and quintessence of the beans; hence they are usually done by manufacturers. However, some fanatics still roast coffee on their own, and you can definitely try it at home.

Types of coffee roasts are:

  • Light roast: It has a mild flavor with more caffeine content and a featured acid taste.
  • Medium roast: It comes with a bittersweet aftertaste and brings out a stronger note with a nutty flavor.
  • Dark roast: This type is popular in Europe and has the strongest flavor. It has the lowest caffeine content and has a touch of bitterness and smokiness.

Types Of Brewing Methods

Finally, brewing is the process of bringing roasted coffee to your cup. There are multiple types of brewing coffee, but they mainly consist of ground beans infused with water following a specific ratio to create its aroma bomb.

Popular brewing methods include but are not restricted to the pour-over coffee maker, French Press, AeroPress, Siphon, and Cold Brew.

For beginners, we highly recommend the French Press since it retains a lot of flavors while going insanely well with milk and cream. It is also straightforward to make and can take no more than 15 minutes.

How To Start Drinking Coffee?

Best Ways To Prepare Coffee For Beginners

This part will have an overview of some of the most popular preparation methods and see which one is the best choice for you.

Instant

Instant coffee is undoubtedly the worst type of coffee for beginners. Its purpose is not for enjoyment, but rather a quick way to boost energy for workers. It’s often made in bulk with poor-quality coffee to save costs.

Because of its origin and manufacturing process, the instant type has low caffeine content and poor condensation of distinctive coffee taste. However, it’s the cheapest and easiest to make. So if you want to go with instant, at least choose a reputable brand.

Pod Coffee

Simply put, pod coffee is like the instant type but better. It saves you from the hassle of making and brewing coffee for yourself, which might be overwhelming for beginners. However, it has a higher caffeine content and a much more brushed-up flavor than instant.

Pod coffee usually comes in a one-time pod and is easy to make at home with a pod machine. It is also very popular with many brands making good-quality products.

Drip Coffee And Pour-Over

There’s no turning back when you step into the world of brewing. Drip is essentially the automated version of pour-over that requires a coffee maker. Though being brewing methods, they only require ground coffee, filter, and water.

With drip, the process is really straightforward. To make it, 

  • Grind your beans to medium-sized particles. 
  • Place a filter on the filter basket of the machine.
  • Add six oz of water for each 1 tbsp of coffee for a cup.
  • Then press the start button and let the machine do its magic.

As you can see, dripping is a very simple method suitable for a quick morning routine while retaining some of the best flavors. Pour-over is the same, only without the automation of a machine.

You can also easily adjust how you want your final result to be. If you want a stronger cup, use as little as four oz of water per tbsp of coffee, or grind your beans to finer particles. 

Do the opposite for lighter versions. Play with the ratio and roasting methods a bit to find out the best match for yourself.

You can enjoy coffee alone, but if it’s too strong for a beginner, a splash of milk or sugar will surely help.

How To Drink Coffee For Health?

Yes, we have mentioned that coffee is beneficial for your health. But that’s only true if you know how to drink it properly.

Due to the caffeine content, it can have many side effects and is not suitable for anyone. Besides raising heart rate, it also causes anxiety, digestive problems when misused.

In order to make the most out of your drink, some experts recommend not consuming it after 2 pm. Since caffeine is a stimulant, it can mess with your sleep if you have it too late in the day.

It’s also a good choice if you try consulting your doctor if you have any psychological, heart-related, or digestive issues before attempting the beverage for the first time.

What’s more, many people tend to balance the acidity and bitterness in coffee by adding in milk, sugar, or cream. However, be aware of the number of calories (especially in the case of sugar) that you use with your caffeinated drink. Some varieties like mocha, frappe, or Vietnamese iced coffee usually contain more sugar than you think.

Some people with lactose intolerance will also find the combination of caffeine and milk to be their bowel’s worst nightmare and can ruin your day.

Finally, you can also add some nutritious foods to make your cup healthier. The best choices for both flavor and health are cinnamons and cocoa.

How To Properly Drink Coffee?

To be fair, there is no strict way of drinking coffee “right.” After all, it comes down to your personal preference. Some may find the A way of drinking is the correct way, but others will argue B is undoubtedly a better choice.

Yet, you want to follow a set of rules before creating your own. They are there to make sure you have experienced the best out of the beverage and are ready for your personal adjustment.

To begin, choose high-quality beans. You can start with popular brand names and then find roasteries and independent coffee shops in your area. It’s a tried-and-true process, so be patient. Then, you can speed it up by connecting to reliable baristas, building a friend circle with like-minded hobbyists, etc.

Learn brew techniques by yourself. It’s another long journey but is definitely worth the time and effort. Once you have your first successful cold brew, chances are your addiction to coffee is on a whole new level. 

You will also have to experiment a lot with timing, ratio, and roasting techniques, which is challenging yet exciting.

Finally, the beverage doesn’t need to go alone. You can have a great meal with a cup of joe. Consider tiramisu, scones, and croissants. Even eggs and ham with toast will make a great breakfast combined with coffee.

Best Coffee For Beginners

Depending on how makers prepare and mix your cup of joe with other ingredients, you can find the best coffee for first-time drinkers. You may have heard of mocha, latte, espresso, etc. Yet they each have distinctive flavor and experience.

For example, espresso is a very strong and dense type. If you have little to no experience with caffeine but still get a single shot of it, you might be shocked.

One of the best ways to approach your first cup of joe is to have other ingredients with it to tone down the strength and intensity. That means you can have sweeter varieties like mocha, latte.

Mocha is considered the rookie version of Joe. In its essence, it’s espresso but comes with chocolate syrup, steamed milk, and maybe whipped cream. It has a milder taste while retaining the acidity with a touch of chocolate and sugary. 

On the other hand, a latte is mocha but with more milk and no chocolate. It’s still on the sweeter side and very easy to be familiar with.

Other choices include frappe, cappuccino, cafe au lait. As a general rule of thumb, you should choose an ingredient with a sweet note to balance the intense, dark flavor.

After getting used to the essence of coffee flavor, you can start opting for “purer” types like Americano, black, red-eye, or espresso.

Finally, you can experiment with a more exotic side by trying cocktails (Irish coffee, White Russian), Vietnamese coffee (iced coffee, egg coffee), and even more expensive types like kopi luwak.

Coffee Guide For Beginners: Tips For First Time Drinkers

To Milk Or Not To Milk?

Milk and coffee are like Batman and Robin. They are the prime example of a great combination that perfectly represents the definition of bittersweet. 

However, it’s not only reserved for dairy when we talk about milk. While dairy milk already has a lot of varieties based on fat content and preparation (i.e., steamed milk, condensed milk, milk foam, nonfat milk, whole milk), plant milk only increases the range of choices.

Oat milk, almond milk, and even soy milk also make great cups of joe for those who have lactose intolerance or are vegans. They taste great, if not better, than dairy milk, so rest assured that you can still get the most out of this divine combination.

Also, consider cream with a dairy base. Some coffee comes with a top layer of whipped cream besides milk, so remember that before chugging in your cup of joe. The cream creates a soft, easy texture that can contribute to the mildness and balance of your drink.

And milk or cream is not the only additional ingredient for your beverage.

Additional Flavor

Other than milk, cream, or chocolate in the case of mocha, there are multiple other choices to spice up your cup of joe. The popular options are syrups like caramel, vanilla, hazelnut. They are often more widespread at modern and branch coffee shops.

So next time you order your drink, you can have a closer look at the ingredients and choose something that can lift your mood. 

Know Your Order

Not all your coffee will be homemade. Sometimes, if you want to hang out with your friends or have a date, or if you want a quick takeaway, a coffee shop like Starbucks can be your choice. 

However, these branches tend to play with sizes, so knowing your order first would be great if you don’t want to waste your drink.

There’s no cut-and-dried rule for sizes in all shops. However, small size usually has about 12oz, medium 16oz, and large 20oz of liquid. You can also ask the barista to know how much they are putting in before getting your order.

The size will determine the number of calories, sugar, the caffeine you will chug in, so if you are on a diet, definitely give it a look.

Other than sizes, pay attention to your coffee types, additional, and adjustments. Add it up together, and you can get something like a medium white chocolate latte with skimmed milk—the more specific, the better.

FAQs

Is Coffee Bad For You?

Coffee has been a staple drink for centuries, so it’s not inherently bad for anyone. What makes it beneficial or harmful depends on who is drinking it and how they are drinking the beverage.

Almost every possible harm of coffee comes from its caffeine content. For children or pregnancies, it’s recommended not to consume the substance too much since it can cause adverse effects.

You also need to pay attention to the daily limit of caffeine consumption. According to the FDA, 400 mg of caffeine is usually safe for most healthy adults. 

That amount is equivalent to about five shots of espresso; one Starbucks Venti brewed coffee. The caffeine content varies for each drink, so do your calculations carefully.

Other than messing with your effects, caffeine is also related to anxiety, raising heart rate, digestive issues, or muscle aches. For first-time drinkers, you shouldn’t drink too much the first time, or else you would experience the buzzing effect of a caffeine rush.

Finally, caffeine can take up to 10 hours to be cleared out of your system. Nevertheless, for most people, considerate consumption is safe.

Who Should Avoid Coffee?

Other than children and pregnant women, it is recommended that these people should avoid this drink, or at least limit their daily intake:

  • People with heart-related diseases
  • People with an anxiety disorder or any psychological issues
  • People who have a hard time falling asleep
  • Teenagers
  • Seniors

You should also ask yourself if you experience any listed side effects of coffee. Not all people are a good fit for this beverage based on bodily reactions. In that case, tea can be a friendlier option.

Which Is Better, Homemade Coffee Or Starbucks?

That shouldn’t be a legal question to begin. Most coffee fanatics believe that Starbucks doesn’t make any sense. Some will go as far as calling it sugar water with coffee taste.

Of course, no one has the right to judge anyone else’s personal preference. Some like homemade versions, but others can advocate a popular drink such as Starbucks.

However, there are a few reasons some coffee drinkers hate Starbucks that much and will consider calling it coffee a crime:

  • Starbucks is much more pricey than your average, high-quality homemade cup of joe.
  • Some people prefer too many additional flavors to overwhelm the coffee taste.

Other than that, in some fanatic coffee cultures like Italy, Australia, or Vietnam, people can find quality coffee shops on every street corner with prices of a fraction of a Starbucks. 

Some people there prefer their native, homemade flavor more than an industrialized brand.

Flavor aside, Starbucks still has some edges over homemade cups. It is fast, convenient, and is an excellent takeaway on your way to work. People who have a rushed, busy lifestyle and don’t mind spending a few more bucks on this kickstart drink will find it a better suit.

Final Words

Nowadays, it’s hard to find anyone who has never tried or at least wanted to try a cup of hot java. Coffee is not only a wake-up drink, but our culture has made it much more meaningful than that: something that can connect people and a cultural symbol.

Nevertheless, whether you are ready for your first cup or not, we hope that our coffee guide for beginners is helpful and interesting. Remember, humanity runs on coffee.

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Almost 20 years already spent committed to coffee and more than 3 years of experience as a barista at Starbucks. Madelyn Doyle graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutritional Science from the University of California and finished the Coffee Skills Program at the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA).