Do You Believe These Coffee Myths?

Coffee facts and coffee fun, coffee features, news and reviews.

Myth: Shiny Oily Coffee is better than Dull Coffee


It is a common misconception that shiny dark oily coffee is better than dull lighter oil-free coffee. In actuality the oily surface is caused by a degradation of the bean that allows oils to bleed through pores onto the bean surface. This degradation can be caused by age, a very dark roast, or both.

These oils actually retain the complex aromas of the bean. So if these oils are allowed to escape, the coffee will quickly become bland tasting with a strong stale odor. Over time, these oils will actually coagulate on the surface of the bean to give the coffee an even more bitter, stale taste.

Myth: The names French, Italian, Vienna and Espresso Roasts define the color of the roast.


When the names French, Italian, Vienna, and Espresso are used, it typically implies that the coffee is black and oily. Beyond that, they are only names that are not defined by any industry standard.

A French roast could be lighter than a Vienna Roast in one café, but it could be darker somewhere else. The only true standardized measure of a roast is the Agtron Scale which rates the roast according to the actual color of the roasted beans.

All roasters use the names French, Italian, Vienna and Espresso in different ways.

Myth: If I grind my coffee finer, I can use less of it.


Each scoop of coffee, regardless of the grind, imparts a certain amount of flavor. As well, when coffee is ground too fine, bitter flavors emerge from the coffee. Using less coffee only adds to this problem, but also gives the coffee a weaker taste. Usually a coarser grind is recommended and about 1 scant scoop of coffee per cup.

For most brewers, 1 cup equals about 5 oz’s of brewed coffee. Adjust the proportions to your preferred taste.

Myth: The higher the price, the better the coffee.


Some coffees demand a higher price because of their longstanding reputation or limited supply, like certain island coffees, or coffees from regions like Yemen. Other coffees, like Kopi Luwak have a certain ‘mystique’ which can drive the price up to, in some cases, $300 a pound or more.

Kopi Luwak is known for its bizarre processing, in which it is digested by a civet, then picked off the ground, before it is roasted. So buyer beware, higher price doesn’t necessarily mean higher quality.

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