5 myths and misunderstandings surrounding coffee

Tonight I decided to check out some of the draft files and 'coffee' files I had sitting around gathering dust in my laptop.  I found part of an article I saved in my files last summer 2014, because it had 5 coffee myths - some of which I knew already but thought it would be a great idea to get the word 'out' there to other coffee affectionatos. 

Chris Vigilante, owner of DC-based Vigilante Coffee Co., fully admits that he originally got into coffee as a way to avoid the real world and elude the dreaded cubicle job. But what started as a long stretch of slackerdom while surfing in Hawaii has turned him into something of a java superstar among those who know coffee in DC.

“It’s a great time to be in coffee and have people appreciate it,” says Vigilante. “We’ve never had access to great coffee like we do now. It’s pretty damn similar to pot, wine or beer.”

Here are five myths and misunderstandings surrounding coffee that Vigilante would like to see debunked once and for all:

1. The freezer is best: “Everyone thinks they should store it in the freezer. It’s actually kind of the opposite. You can grow mold on the coffee if moisture builds up - and you don’t want to be drinking mold.”

2. Dark roast = more caffeine = more flavor: “Everyone thinks dark-roasted coffee has more caffeine. It’s the opposite - you actually roast out the caffeine when you heat it. The higher the temperature, the more you’re burning out the caffeine. I think people associate the stronger taste of the coffee with the higher caffeine content.”

3. Espresso is a bean: “It’s a process, not a type of coffee. You can make any coffee bean into espresso [by grinding it finely and brewing it in the style of espresso]. Some beans are roasted specifically to be brewed into espresso, but there’s no espresso bean.”

4. Coffee should be cheap: “Coffee is a commodity that's already undervalued, as far as I’m concerned. A lot of times farmers can’t make ends meet with the market price of coffee. Vigilante pays well above the market price for our raw green beans, and we pay based on quality - but it shows up in the cup. Consumers are used to paying low dollar, but that’s unsustainable. We’re eventually not going to grow enough coffee to supply everyone.”

5. Italians rule the coffee scene: “Everyone thinks Italians are the top dogs in coffee, and that’s not the case anymore. For Vigilante Coffee, we look to Japan, Australia and New Zealand for examples in the coffee industry. If you go to Japan or Australia, it will really blow your mind where they’ve taken the level of their coffee culture. The culture of Italy is more about quantity.”