I'm No Coffee Aficionado, and That's OK


I first started drinking coffee out of desperation (who didn’t?) I was working long hours and my natural energy wasn’t keeping up with life’s demands. Yet I felt jittery or got a headache when I drank certain coffees. I became weary when trying a new coffee brand or coffee shop. I couldn’t figure out what was going on!

I was on an eternal hunt for the perfect cup of Joe. The one that tasted smooth without any bitterness. The cup of coffee that left me with a nice buzz that didn’t leave me jumping out of my pants. My hunt had not been going well. I had no clue what roasts, blends or origins were better for me. I didn’t even know what those words truly meant. **Don’t worry, if you don’t know these words, I put a list of definitions at the end of this post!!**

I certainly didn’t feel like I could ask the baristas behind the counter. What if they realized I wasn’t a coffee aficionado, declared me unfit to drink their coffee, and sent me out of the café?! You may have had the same thought (with less drama.)


Since starting my job here at LCCR, I found the perfect cup of joe for me. It all came down to a little bit of knowledge.

Because I now work in a community of coffee lovers that don’t judge; I feel free to ask all my burning coffee questions. The roaster, Dave, answers my questions and most staff members assure me they didn’t know much about coffee before joining the team.

The first thing I learned was that the amount of caffeine actually decreases the darker the roast of coffee. WHAT?! I always thought the darker the roast, the higher the caffeine content!
No wonder I always got so jittery or felt sick after drinking light roasts. I should have been ordering dark roast all along, or drinking much less of the light or medium roast in order to give myself a smaller dose of caffeine.

OK, but why is there less caffeine in a darker roast?

It all has to do with the roasting process. Coffee beans arrive green to our Roastery, and the longer they roast; the more caffeine is cooked out of the beans. Coffee beans also release more oils and expand the longer they roast. Mind blown, right??



Origin is the country that the beans come from. For example, Guatemalan, Ethiopian, Colombian grown coffee beans. Each of these areas are known for having different flavor profiles to their coffee, much like grapes in different wine regions. Often this is due to minerals in the soil, and weather unique to these areas. If these beans are roasted and not blended with any other origin, they are called “Single Origin” coffees.


When any 2 or more single origin coffees are blended in any mix of percentage, the coffee is considered a blend. Roasteries guard these blend recipes and often give the blends fun names, such as our well loved “Starbarn”. Blends can be any roast; light, medium or dark. Blends are also created by combining a light and dark roast, etc, to create a unique flavor. Blends can be created by combining 2 blends as well. For example, blending our Lancaster County blend (medium roast) and our Starbarn blend (dark roast) would create a whole different blend! In my opinion, blending is where the real fun can happen.


Beans are typically roasted in light, medium or dark roasts. Some roasts border between a traditional light, medium or dark. For example, our Old Amish blend is considered a darker medium blend. No t all beans do well with all levels of roasting. For example, we prefer to roast our Ethiopian on the lighter side, so that the gentle floral and nectarine notes are not lost.


These are the descriptions you see written underneath single origins or blends after they have been roasted. This can describe the roasted bean, or the coffee produced from the bean. Words such as, “earthy, smoky, nutty and floral”. It is essentially the notes you would smell and taste if you drank the coffee black, swirled it in your mouth and spit it back out. I’m joking but I suppose you could do that.

Written by Prescott Smith

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