The best coffee in St. Andrews

With a plethora of coffee shops in St. Andrews, it may be difficult to choose where to go to get good coffee. There are local establishments such as Taste, Zest, North Point, and Balgove, along with franchise coffee shops like Starbucks and Costa. When asking customers:

“what do you look for in a cup a coffee?”

I received a variety of answers. “I want it really strong and hot.” Another commented, “I don’t want to burn my tongue and I don’t like it when it is too bitter.” One man said he doesn’t care what it tastes like as long as it contains caffeine. A fourth customer described her perfect coffee as having low acidity and a hint of sweetness. Coffee professionals and connoisseurs have terms and definitions to describe coffee, which can help individuals articulate what makes good coffee to them. Some of these terms include:
Acidity: acidity is to coffee what dryness is to wine. Acidity in coffee adds a sharp taste described as a “bite” or “snap” and without acidity the coffee can taste flat. Darker roast beans have less acidity. Acidity can be considered part of the coffee’s “taste” and also includes bitterness, sweetness, saltiness, sourness.
Aroma: this is the scent of the coffee and is responsible for most of the flavour. Examples of coffee aromas might include earthy, caramel, floral, chocolate-like, smoky, or nutty.
Body: used to describe the physical properties of the coffee such as the weight of the coffee physically in the mouth. Body can be compared to drinking milk; where whole milk would provide a heavy body and skim milk would be a light body. Darker roasts tend to have more body.
Finish: the finish is the sensation or after-taste that lingers after coffee is swallowed. The coffee’s finish may be quick or lingering, dry and light and crisp, or sweet and heavy.
Flavour: an overall perception of the coffee’s descriptors (taste, aromas, body, finish).

Coffee seems to be a necessity, an art form, a drink, a hobby, and a science. There are so many opinions on what makes a good cup of coffee that it seems impossible to label any one place as having the “best coffee.” Even so, Zest is still going strive to have some of the best coffee in St. Andrews.

Two staff members of Zest went to Holland in July to complete the SCAE Intermediate Barista course. Zest also invested in a new coffee machine and grinder. Another important factor to making a good cup of coffee is of course, the coffee. All the training and machinery can’t turn poor coffee into good coffee.

Zest uses Puro coffee, which is an organic, fair-trade coffee described as having soft notes of chocolate with strong citric over tones. There is so much work that goes into coffee before it even reaches Zest that it seems disrespectful not to have the best training and the best coffee machines to allow the coffee to reach its full potential.

Through better training, good coffee beans, and the use of consistent and exact machinery, Zest hopes to increase to an excellent standard of coffee and hopefully be known as a place to get some of the best coffee in St. Andrews.

For more information on Puro coffee and the “Path to ‘good’ coffee,” check out this link: