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Posts Tagged ‘ Quality Coffee ’
Specialty coffee is coffee made from exceptional beans grown only in ideal coffee-producing climates. The unique characteristics of the soil where the coffee plants are grown combined with the ideal climate creates distinctive flavors that makes specialty coffee beans so sought-after. For this reason, they are sometimes referred to as gourmet or premium coffee.
The First Specialty Coffee
The first person to ever use the phrase “specialty coffee” was Erna Knutsen, who coined the term in the 1974 issue of the Tea & Coffee Trade Journal. Knutsen, then a coffee buyer for B.C. Ireland in San Francisco, came up with the term while trying to describe beans with outstanding flavors due to the special microclimates used in their cultivation.
From then on, the phrase became a common term used to describe flavorful, high quality coffee. But it was not until the late 1990s, when the proliferation of cafes and gourmet coffee retailers, that the term specialty coffee entered common usage.
That, combined with the ever increasing popularity of coffee drinking has made specialty coffee one of the fastest growing food service markets in the world. In 2004, specialty coffee netted an estimated $9.6 billion in the US alone.
Why Specialty Coffee?
For the simple reason that a cup of specialty coffee tastes infinitely better than a cup made form ordinary coffee beans. From the time the coffee plant was cultivated to the time they are harvested, dried, and roasted, specialty coffee beans are prepared according to exact standards to ensure great tasting coffee. What’s more, specialty coffee must pass stringent certification process to ensure that it is free of flaws and imperfections, in an test called the “cupping method.”
What is Cupping?
If you consider yourself a specialty coffee aficionado, then you probably heard of the term “cupping” and probably even know the meaning of it. But for the benefit of others who don’t, cupping is a system of evaluation used to test the aroma and taste of coffee beans. Growers, buyers, and roasters employ the cupping method in order to “grade” the quality of a particular sample of specialty coffee.
Generally, there are six things that you should look into when cupping:
* Fragrance or the smell of the beans after grinding
* Aroma different from fragrance in that it is the smell of ground-up beans after being steeped in water
* Taste or the flavor of the coffee
* Nose in much the same way as the term is used in wine tasting, it means the vapors and flavors released by coffee in your mouth
* Aftertaste – or the vapors and flavors that remain after you swallow
* Body the feel of the coffee in the mouth
The steps involved in cupping specialty coffee are often very exact and is actually a step by step process. That is why buyers, owners of specialty coffee houses, and brewers hire only trained individuals to do their cupping for them.
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Peet’s Coffee & Tea
At the present time, many coffee companies are using computers to roast their coffees, but the people behind in Peet’s Coffee & Tea believe that no computer can roast beans like a skilled roaster can. There are many factors that affect each roast. Beans from different regions require different roasting techniques and every nuance affects a roast. Only highly trained roaster can monitor air temperature and humidity and make some adjustments to achieve for the desired results. To guarantee quality, Peet’s roasters sample each batch of coffee to ensure the rest tastes right. This is how committed they are in providing only the best quality coffee and I bet, this is one of the reason why Peet’s continue to serve their loyal customers until now.
For over 40 years in the business, Peet’s Coffee is known as the grandfather of specialty coffee.
But what really that made them outstand the others, depends only on four things, and these are:
o Peet’s buyers select only the finest green coffees from around the world.
o They deep roast each coffee individually in single-batch roasters.
o They ship coffee immediately to their stores and mail order customers.
o In their stores, they brew coffee every 30 minutes to serve only the freshest coffee.
At Peet’s, they specialize in deep roasted coffee, but the darkest is not always richest. French is their darkest roast followed by Italian. Both blends have well-known smoky or roasty remarks. All of Peet’s coffees are deep roasted, which most of them are very full bodied with rich and complex flavors, like Sumatra and Top Blend. They don’t have slightly roast coffees, although, they claim that their coffees are naturally milder than that of others, such as Gaia organic Blend and House Blend.
Peet’s Coffee & Tea also have flavored coffees, but not the same as what you think; but rather they have naturally occurring flavors. The fine distinctions of flavors are subtle in Peet’s, but some coffees have distinctive chocolaty, fruity, or spicy tastes. They prefer these flavors to artificially flavored coffee available in most coffee shops. If you want a flavored coffee at Peet’s, all you have to do is add flavors such as cinnamon sticks and vanilla extracts to brewed Peet’s coffee. That is if you can’t let go of the old-style coffee you always order every day. Nothing compares to the original and classic tastes of coffee, do you agree?
Peet’s Coffee have added new ways to sell their coffees and teas, which are available at peets.com, through mail order service, specialty food and grocery stores, offices, fine restaurants and hotels, in addition to their retail stores. At Peet’s, you can be sure that the coffee you buy in their stores, grocery, or online is the freshest and most flavorful it can be. This is what makes Peet’s continue to survive even in the midst of budding coffee shops.
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The Green Mountain Coffee Roasters’ Top Sellers
Founded in 1981, the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) has long been considered as one of the leading producers of high quality coffee. The company is based in Vermont, and has been publicly traded since the year 1993. They even had sales that reached an excess of $137 million just for the fiscal year which had ended in September 2004.
The Green Mountain coffee is generally noted for its excellent taste and aroma. It comes in a number of varieties though, and each variety if highly valued by thousands of customers throughout Vermont and the world. The Green Mountain coffees are produced from the superior grades of coffee beans which are bought by the company from around the globe. The beans are roasted and vacuum packed to provide the public the finest and the freshest coffee products available.
Here are the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters’ top sellers:
Breakfast Blend: As the name implies, the Breakfast Blend is one of Green Mountain’s most popular coffee blends. According to some claims, this product has a rich taste with a medium level of acidity. It is part of the Green Mountain Coffee’s classic line and is produced from the blending of the crispy and citrusy Central American coffee and the sweet and full bodied Indonesian coffee.
Newman’s Special Blend: Available in K-Cup nowadays, this Green Mountain Coffee is noted for its full bodied blend of medium and dark roasts. The origin of this blend is actually Nell Newman’s preference for light roast and Pa’s preference for a coffee that is roasted dark. Placed together, this variety is the result. This product is deemed strong, yet refined and smooth.
National Wildlife Blend: Created in cooperation with the National Wildlife Federation, this Green Mountain coffee is a Fair Trade Organic product in which the sales are given to the Federation to help provide habitats for the songbirds and other wildlife. Just like the Newman’s Special Blend, this Green Mountain Coffee is currently made available in K-Cup form. Aside from that, the National Wildlife Blend is produced from the combination of the Fair Trade and Organic Central and South American coffees which are cultivated from the coffee farms owned by families. And, unlike the other Green Mountain varieties of coffee this blend is highly noted for its sweet finish and chocolate notes.
Vermont Country Blend: This product occupies the fourth place in the line of Green Mountain coffees. This is actually a combination of light and dark beans and is noted for its level of sweetness and for its being highly aromatic. The coffee beans used for this blend are basically light and dark American beans.
There are other varieties of coffee included in the list of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. You can choose your favorite coffees either based on their origin or the roasts style. You can even select from the decaf, flavored or regular coffees. The decision is yours.
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So coffee drinker that you are, you’re probably no stranger to gourmet coffees. But have you ever stopped and wondered what makes gourmet coffees gourmet coffees? Is it the gourmet coffee beans? The roast? The blend? The grind? The flavor? The freshness?
The answer is: it’s all of the above.
The truth is that gourmet coffees are the culmination of every characteristic and consideration you can think of when it comes to choosing quality coffee. After all, why do you think they call it “gourmet coffees”?
As you probably know, coffee is a bean. But did you also know that there isn’t just one coffee bean being sold commercially? There are two types Robusta (Coffea robusta) and Arabica (Coffea Arabica). Robusta is the bean used to produce everyday instant coffee while Arabica is what gourmet coffees are made of.
Why the difference? Because unlike Robusta, Arabica coffees are very particular about their growing conditions: the plant only grows at high altitudes in tropical or sub-tropical climates.
So these growing conditions combined with the particular soil type does all sorts of nice things to the coffee bean so that when you make a beverage out of these beans, your cup of java gives off unique flavors, aromas, and other characteristics that you commonly identify with gourmet coffees.
Where Are Gourmet Coffees Grown?
As there are specific regions where grapes used for winemaking grow, there are also specific regions that are ideal for growing gourmet coffees. There are actually many countries that grow the Arabica plant, but there are only three major growing areas:
* South and Central America Gourmet coffees from this region are known for their lively acidity, crisp and sparkling quality, and sweet or spicey side. Some of the more famous gourmet coffees grown in this region include Columbian Supremo, Costa Rican Tarrazu, and Guatemala Antigua.
* Africa and Arabia As the place where coffee was first discovered, this particular region is known for producing gourmet coffees with a wide range of flavors, mellow taste, and fine balance of acidity and body. Gourmet coffees include Kenya AA, Ethiopian fancy, and Yemen Mocha.
* Pacific or Island Known for producing rich, full-bodied gourmet coffees, this region is particularly identified with coffees that have a very earthy and nutty quality and smooth, dry finish. Gourmet coffees from this region include Sumatra Mandheling, Jamaican Blue Mountain, and Hawaiian Kona Coffee.
Before the beans are roasted, they are just beans, not much different from even those beans taken from coffee plants grown in less than ideal conditions. So how does one turn these green coffee beans turn from just another ordinary bean to something more profound?
The answer lies in the art of roasting.
Roasting to the coffee beans to perfection is what makes gourmet coffees what they are. And there are so many considerations to think of from the process itself to the timing, moisture, and content.
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Different Kinds of Costa Rican Coffee
How would you know that your cup of coffee is perfect? Is there such a thing as perfect coffee? That is the critique labeled on Costa Rican coffees. They categorized their type of coffee as the classic cup, the traditional balanced coffee that has no defects or flaws. But there’s more to a Costa Rican coffee, for they are prized for their exceptionality- bright citrus or berry-like flavors in the acidity and in the best cups they fade into chocolate or spice flavors in the aftertaste.
Costa Rica sets the standards for fine wet-processed coffee for the rest of Central and South America. The most famous Costa Rican coffees by region are Tarrazú, Tres Rios, Herediá, and Alajuela. Most Costa Rican coffees come from a hybrid called caturra, a mutation of Bourbon discovered in Brazil, and is characterized as bright and full bodied. Other popular varieties are Mondo Novo and Catuai. The best coffees that are grown above 3, 900 feet are designated or classified as strictly hard bean, while the good hard bean are those grown from 3, 300 to 3, 900 feet.
The Tres Rios region near the pacific coast produces coffees that are mild sweet and bright. The Tarrazú region, which is situated in the interior mountains of Costa Rica, produces a fairly heavy coffee with more aromatic complexity. The La Minita estate is the most much loved coffee in all Costa Rica. What about the kinds of coffees that Costa Rica is so proud of?
The different kinds of coffee in Costa Rica are characterized by their type and from what zone they are harvested from. Let’s take a look at the different kinds of Costa Rican Coffee:
Cafe La Carpentira- This coffee is strictly classified as hard beans grown in La Carpentira Hill, Tres Rios, where perfect for producing the best quality coffee possible.
Cafe Atarazu- This bean comes from the volcanic mountains of Dota off the Great Mountain Range named Talamanca with rocky ladders and fertile valleys. It is classified as strictly hard beans from Tarrazú region.
Cafe El Gran Vito- This coffee has a string taste, and at the same times it is light and grateful like the mountains and forests that surround the city. It is classified as medium hard bean for Coto Brus region.
Cafe Zurqui- This coffee is cropped in one of the oldest plantation areas due to kindness of the soil and the excellent bean quality that it produces. On the slopes of Zurqui Hills is where this unique coffee with high acidity, very good body and aroma in produced. It is strictly hard bean from Herediá.
Cafe Ujarraci- This coffee grew on a beautiful landscape, fertile valley, and a lake with crystal clear waters near the zone of Cachí in the reventazón River Basin. This type of Costa Rican coffee is classified as High grown Atlantic from Cachí zone.
Cafe Buena Vista- This coffee has good aroma and body with a delightful acidity form San Isidro Del General and is a medium hard bean type.
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