Coffee in the Classic City: An Immersive Dive into the Craft of Coffee Brewing

When surveyed by the University of New Hampshire, 64 percent of Americans said they drink at least one cup of coffee per day. For some, coffee is an enjoyable beverage. For others, coffee is a necessary habit. Yet for a particular crowd, coffee is an exploration.

Ronald  Pegg  is a  professor at the University of Georgia studying the health benefits and properties of the natural protectants (phenols) that are found in plants. For the past eight years,  Pegg has led a course on coffee production at University of Georgia’s Costa Rica campus.

From soil to cup, every single step  affect  the ultimate quality of the coffee. Specifically, every step affects the tannins that are found in coffee. Tannins are coffee’s natural protectant that give  it its defining flavor.

“Coffee gives you that pucker at the back of your throat- that’s the astringency from the tannins. If coffee tastes bitter, it’s because the beans were  burnt,” Pegg said.

Lots of things are considered when creating a cup of coffee. But it all begins with a simple, but an impactful decision. The beans that are going to be grown.

According to  Pegg, Costa Rica only grows Arabica beans because those are considered the highest quality. Yet even with quality beans, the soil, the climate, and even the water can affect the flavor.

All of these factors are considered  by the  harvesters, the  roasters and  people like Molly Stokes.

Stokes is  a  barista  at  1000 Faces Coffee– a coffee roaster and shop based  in  Athens, Georgia. Stokes began her coffee career as a student at the University of Georgia.

After her first day working at  another  local  coffee  shop, Jittery Joe’s, Stokes knew coffee  was going to be more than just a part-time job.

“I remember calling my mom and  saying, ‘This  is it! I’m  gonna ‘  do coffee forever!’”

Since that day seven years ago, Stokes has dedicated her life to creating the best cup of coffee. From Jittery Joe’s to Portland, and now 1000 Faces, Stokes has used all of her experience  as  a basis of consistency  and  as the building blocks  for  a new endeavor.  Her own shop.

She is still scoping out potential locations and the opening date is still far in the future, but her focus is  clear. Stokes wants to produce  coffee that preserves an attention to detail but still attracts a casual consumer.

With so many factors to consider, it may seem  as though  there’s a clear way  to make  and  consume coffee. Yet when asked, both  Pegg  and Stokes had the same conclusion. The best cup of coffee is the one the consumer wants to drink.

To help find your best cup of coffee, here is an infographic overview of coffee considerations.

Yazmarr Williams is a senior majoring in journalism.

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