Finding the “Best of the Best” in Coffee

There is coffee and THERE IS COFFEE! You likely know about the generic quality coffees you find at the supermarket, using the inferior Robusta beans. And, in contrast, there is the alternative: the coffee regularly termed Gourmet Coffee you buy direct from roasters around the country. Popular large volume roasters, like Starbucks as well as most of the the smaller roasters dispersed about town, essentially utilize this far better grade, high altitude, shade grown Arabica bean.

That being said, and broadly known by all nowadays, how can you siphon out the crème de la crème of gourmet coffee beans to purchase?

To begin with, let’s hone in specifically on taste. Nowadays, coffee has become a “drink of experts”…
evolved into an art of reflection! We’ve begun to savor our coffee…flavor identify and define the subtle hints and nuances, as well as the qualities that identify the bean’s continent of origin. You as a coffee drinker, can begin to explore and experience the undertones of your coffee’s region, but better yet, begin to revel in the independently specific flavors of the bean defined by the specific hill and farm where it’s grown.

Coffee Cupping: Defining Coffee by its “Underlying Flavors”

There are, nowadays, a limited number of coffee roasters that independently test their coffee beans for taste observations and aromas. These beans are graded and assessed just like fine wine. This activity is called Coffee Cupping or Coffee Tasting. Professionals known as Master Tasters are the assessors. The procedure involves deeply sniffing a cup of brewed coffee, then loudly slurping the coffee so it draws in air, spreads to the back of the tongue, and maximizes flavor.

These Master Tasters, much akin to wine tasters, then attempt to measure in detail, every aspect of the coffee’s taste. This assessment includes measurement of the body (the texture or mouth-feel, such as oiliness), acidity (a sharp and tangy feeling, like when biting into an orange), and balance (the innuendo and the harmony of flavors working together). Since coffee beans embody telltale flavors from their region or continent of their origin, cuppers may also attempt to predict where the coffee was grown.

Tips to Make a Delightful Cup of Gourmet Coffee

When brewing gourmet coffee, it’s essential to combine several factors that will make your cup of coffee a dreamy blend of flavor. Gourmet coffee is in and of itself delicious, but it’s even better when made a certain way.

Before getting started, be sure to select only the finest gourmet coffee beans. Look for your favorite brand of coffee or sample several new types of coffee. If you visit an online gourmet coffee retailer, you can try numerous types of imported coffee beans from places around the world such as South America, Central America, Africa, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the North Highlands. You can also save money by finding an online store that offers high quality discount coffee beans. Determine how you will order your coffee – whether you would like ground coffee or whole bean selections. Many retailers allow you to order gourmet coffee both ways.

Brew with the Right Kind of Water

The type of water you use to brew gourmet coffee can make all the difference in its flavor. Tap water that has a strong, unpleasant smell or taste can negatively affect your coffee’s flavor. Keep in mind that your taste buds will be more sensitive when drinking a hot beverage such as coffee, so you’ll be able to detect any unpleasant impurities caused by your water. Opt for bottled waters instead, but avoid distilled water, as it doesn’t have the appropriate level of dissolved mineral solids, which are needed to give the coffee a fresh taste.

Even with the right quality of water, be sure to measure your coffee/water ratio appropriately. For optimum results, use two tablespoons of ground coffee per six ounces of water (or 3/4 cup water). This ratio produces strong, rich gourmet coffee while using only one tablespoon will produce weaker coffee. Another way to reduce the coffee’s strength is to dilute the coffee with a little bit of water after it has been brewed.

Order Fresh Coffee Beans

Whether ordering gourmet coffee online or buying in a nearby store, make sure the coffee has been freshly roasted. The absolute best time to produce coffee is within 12 to 24 hours of being roasted. Some online coffee roasters will ship your coffee beans on the same day the beans are roasted, giving you ultimate freshness. If you plan to grind your own beans, be sure to wait until right before you plan to brew the coffee. The freshness of coffee beans will start to decrease once the coffee beans have been ground.

Grinding Your Own Gourmet Coffee Beans

How you grind coffee beans will also make a difference in the coffee’s excellence. It’s important to know what type of grind you’ll need, whether a finer or coarser grind. A fine grind works best with the drip brewing method, while a coarse grind works well if using a French press. If you want a fine grind, then a common inexpensive blade grinder will suffice. With French press brewing, use a burr grinder.

Gourmet coffee also tastes best when brewed using clean equipment. Coffee makers can build up minerals, oils and residue over time. These will taint your coffee flavor and strength as well as hinder how well your equipment functions. Look for cleaning brushes and safe solutions for your coffee maker, and clean it often if you brew frequently.

When shopping online for gourmet coffee, be sure to try all a roaster has to offer. There are many flavored coffees today including chocolate blends, hazelnut, banana nut fudge, pecan, raspberry almond, cinnamon, vanilla, cookies and cream, creme brulee, English caramel, ginger bread, English toffee, etc. You should also try some espresso blends such as Italian espresso, Spanish espresso, and Vienna roast blend. Go online today to discover the gourmet coffee that excites your taste buds. You’ll never return to mundane coffee once you’ve tasted the best!

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