As ubiquitous as coffee is, it still manages to maintain an air of mystery. Even java junkies may not know what it means when a coffee is high in acid, which blends taste best iced, or that when you're munching on multigrain toast, Serena Organic Blend is the way to go. We asked Scott McMartin, director of coffee and tea education for Starbucks, to debunk a few common myths, make recommendations, and give us the lowdown on all things coffee. -Haley Shapley



What to Sip, Based on How You Take It

Black
Almost any coffee brewed with a French press, also known as a presspot, will produce a good cup for those who like to drink theirs straight up.

Milk or Cream and Sugar
This is especially subjective, but coffees that have less natural acidity tend to take milk or cream a little better. Coffees from the Asia-Pacific region, such as Sulawesi and Sumatra, are ideal for sweetening.

Iced
On the flip side, the brighter and more acidic a coffee is, the more it lends itself to tasting good on the rocks. The best crisp, citrusy coffees can be found in East Africa and include Ethiopia, Sidamo and Kenya.



Now You Know
  • For a jolt in the morning, Australians love cappuccinos, Moroccans go for lattes, the French sip espresso, and Americans prefer good old-fashioned coffee.
  • Two out of three Americans say they can't get their day started without a caffeine boost.
  • Only 14 percent of Americans consider getting coffee a social activity.
  • Starbucks is the most popular coffee chain in the United States, Britain, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Source: Synovate survey



Myth Busters

Fiction: Coffee will stay fresh virtually forever if you put it in the refrigerator or freezer.
Fact: Both ground coffee and whole-bean coffee should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place away from the fridge or freezer and away from light and heat. Plus, grinding coffee beans straight out of your freezer can wreck your grinder.

Fiction: Espresso has more caffeine than regular coffee does.
Fact: Because the flavor of espresso is more intense than that of brewed coffee, people assume espresso has more caffeine, but the reverse is more often the case.

Fiction: Acidity in coffee correlates to the drink's pH level and isn't a positive attribute.
Fact: Acidity refers to a coffee's characteristics and taste and is believed to come from the acids present. More acidity translates into a very crisp and bright brew.



PAIR IT UP

  • Image about Starbucks


Chocolate chip cookies and The mellow and soft Brazil Ipanema Bourbon (a Starbucks blend), with hints of cocoa and a mildly nutty aftertaste, is perfect for pairing with a good cookie.

Oatmeal and Starbucks’ Yukon Blend is a medium-bodied mix of Asia-Pacific and Latin American coffees that is well rounded — just the right accent for a hearty breakfast of oatmeal.

Caramel apples and a cup of Guatemala Antigua, elegant and complex with its soft spice flavors, instantly turns this childhood favorite into a treat fit for adults.

Grilled steak and coffee isn’t just for after dinner: Sumatra, a smooth, full-bodied blend with an earthy flavor and subtle spicy notes, is a popular Indonesian coffee that pairs nicely with meats and eggs.