Darren Olagues

Darren Olagues

About Darren Olagues

Darren Olagues is a business development professional and hobbyist based in Houston, TX. In Darren’s free time, he enjoys exploring new food spots in his area, trying new coffee locations in search of the perfect brew, and building skills and knowledge in houseboat renovation.

Darren J. Olagues Explores What Makes A Great Cup of Coffee

Darren J Olagues

As a coffee enthusiast, Darren J. Olagues is constantly exploring new shops, brews, and java products in search of the best the space has to offer. Darren mentions that Houston has a plethora of excellent coffee shops providing some of the best cups that he has ever tasted, which brought him to the question of “What exactly makes a great cup of coffee?”.

Here, Darren provides a bit of insight on both the production factors, brewing variables, and taste qualities that combine to create the best cup of joe.

Before the Brew

Darren finds that, while many will focus on the taste of the coffee first and foremost when evaluating the best brews, how the coffee came to be is equally important. Many of the highest quality coffees around were made with beans that were greatly cared for well before they were ground and steeped.

It all starts with plantation. Factors such as climate and altitude can greatly impact coffee’s taste. With that in mind, many of the best beans were grown at high altitudes as it keeps them from overheating and growing at an unsustainable pace. Coffee plantations dedicated to quality ensure that land elevation, temperature, soil quality, and water are all in place to ensure the beans raised are perfectly.

Darren J Olagues

Harvesting and roasting are also vital in the process. Farmers must pick coffee cherries at the perfect stage in their development when they are both full and meaty. The coffee cherries then are transported and milled while they are still in their prime to preserve the quality and flavor of the coffee bean.

From there, roasters transform them from raw into the coffee beans we’ve come to recognize. The best of the best beans are roasted at temperatures that maintain great flavor. Beans can be roasted to be anywhere from light to dark brew, each necessitating a different temperature range.


The coffee bean has undergone quite the journey to get to the brewing stage, and how the coffee is brewed can make or break the quality of your cup of coffee. Darren J. Olagues mentions that one of his favorite things about coffee is that there are so many ways to brew a great cup. Drip, AeroPress, French press, and espresso machines are just a few common ways that brewers make your coffee. Each requires different methodology and timing, and mastering factors such as grounds to water ratio, steeping times, etc. go a long way towards ensuring consistent, quality results. What you’ll find is that the best coffees you have ever had have been brewed masterfully, with the brewer paying proper attention to technique at every step of the way.


With the coffee brewed, it is now important to evaluate the qualities that make a great cup of coffee so special. While there are certainly different characteristics associated with different beans and brew techniques, it is generally agreed that there are a few things that one should be able to find in a high-quality cup.

A few characteristics of the best cups of coffee include:


One of the first things that we notice about a cup of coffee is its aroma. Smelling your brew will give you a pretty clear idea of what it will taste like since smell and taste are so closely linked as senses. Most coffee drinkers know that feeling of those initial smells of someone brewing coffee that we just have to try, and this is where the importance of aroma comes in. Some notes that can be found in the aroma of great coffee are fruits, floral, chocolate, caramel, etc., while negative notes can be associated with wood, rubber, ash, straw, and sourness. Aroma can certainly be subjective, however, as you try more high quality products you will definitely establish which smells you most associate with great coffee.

Darren Olagues


Brightness, or acidity, is something that is very common in quality coffee. In many brew types, there is an inherit citric, lactic taste that awakens the taste buds and invites you to take another sip. It is important to note that, while brightness is vital in a quality cup of coffee, you also want the overall product to be balanced. Cups that do not feature a great balance of brightness relative to its other tasting notes can wind up tasting sour, bitter, or otherwise unpleasant.


Another factor of coffee’s taste that impacts its quality is its body. The body of a cup of coffee can be one of the hardest things to properly describe, but many experts have come to use words such as “mouthfeel” among others to make it a bit easier. All coffee drinkers have had experience with watery coffee, for example, and know how it washes over the palette and does not stick with you. In contrast, cups with great body have a mouthfeel that empowers you to better taste its complex flavors and encourages sipping rather than just downing.


Many who are new to coffee are unaware of just how much color impacts the taste and quality of your cup. We’ve come to associate dark black coffee with full-bodied and rich flavors, darker brown coffee with smooth, clean, and mild flavors, and light brown with sweeter, less fuller notes. The coffee color spectrum and its corresponding flavors are quite diverse and are influenced by the type of coffee and roast. Color can clue coffee drinkers in on the quality of a brew because, if they are experienced with certain roasts, they know what color ranges their cup should fall in to.

Interested in More from Darren J. Olagues

DarrenOlagues.com was created as a platform for exploring some of Mr. Olagues’ favorite hobbies and interests. Darren speaks on how, in today’s world, it is crucial to maintain passion for the things that we are interested in as a way to foster a better understanding of oneself, uphold motivation in our lives, and keep exploring new things.

This site will, therefore, include information about topics such as:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Coffee
  • Houseboat Renovation

Want to explore more interesting content on coffee, food, houseboats, and more? Tune in frequently for future posts inspired by Darren Olagues’ experiences and insights.