Over five hundred billion cups of coffee are consumed each year making it the most popular drink on this earth. For centuries, this aromatic, spirit-lifting drink has been the beverage to serve at any and all events. Many board meetings and friendships have thrived over a cup of coffee. Extracted from the seed of cherries growing on coffee trees, coffee is grown extensively in fifty-three countries across the equator.
Speciality gourmet coffee is very popular among coffee drinkers today. As a matter of fact, statistics show that it is one of the fastest-growing food retailers netting approximately $8.5 billion a year. People enjoy the taste of the sophisticated beans used in the making of this delightful gourmet drink.
The beans are grown at very high altitudes on Arabic trees and feed on volcanic ash. A cool climate and lots of moisture result in a high-quality bean group. The soil the beans are grown produces the very distinct flavours of the gourmet beans.
Gourmet coffee has a more balanced flavour and richer taste than the standard mass-produced coffee. The beans go through a rigorous process of certification that is very strict to help keep the quality high. To help keep standards high, the Specialty Coffee Association of American was created in 1982, for the speciality coffee trade.
The word Gourmet is used to refer to the fancier grade, cut, or quality of many of the foods and beverages we consume. Gourmet foods and drinks have long been associated as the regular fare for the rich and famous who can afford the higher pricing that often accompanies many of these finer food and beverage versions.
Coffee is a beverage that has been available in cheap, regular and gourmet versions for a long time and the consumption rate of coffee among people from around the world continues to increase every year.
Gourmet coffee may have once only been served in the finest dining establishments and found being served mostly in the homes of the upper class, but gourmet coffee is widely available and affordable to a variety of people and is found in a variety of settings today.
Coffee is made from coffee beans which are found within the berries that develop and ripen on a number of smaller evergreen bush plant species known as the Coffea plant.
After ripening, coffee berries are harvested and then undergo processing which also includes drying them. It is the coffee beans that remain after the processing and drying of the coffee berries. The beans are then roasted to various degrees which cause them to change physically and in the tastes they produce.
Finally, the coffee beans are grinded down into a fine consistency that is commonly known as coffee grounds, and packaged and shipped to destinations around the world where consumers can buy and brew coffee grounds to make coffee in commercial, hospitality, institutional, and residential settings.
Some people prefer to grind their own coffee beans before brewing them for coffee. Packaged coffee beans that have not been ground can be purchased in stores and ground using the grinding mills that are made available in most of the stores selling them, but also with grinding machines in the home.
You can find gourmet coffee in most grocery stores, specialty shops, restaurants, and coffee shops. If you are a true connoisseur, you might compare gourmet coffee to a wonderful bottle of wine.
The two most commercially grown species of the coffee plant that produce the coffee beans used to make the coffee that the world's population consumes, are Robusta and Arabica.
Gourmet coffee is made from the top-tier coffee beans from the arabica coffee plant. These top-tier arabica coffee plants are typically grown at very high altitudes (above 3000ft) with ideal soil and climate conditions.
The coffee beans produced have fuller flavours, are more aromatic, and have less caffeine in them than other varieties of coffee beans such as Robustas.
The coffee beans of arabica coffee plants grown at lower altitudes are still noted among consumers as having richer flavours than the flavours produced by Robusta coffee beans, but it is only the top tier arabica coffee beans that are considered to be Gourmet, and thereby from which gourmet coffee is derived.
Coffee bean grounds and coffee beans that have not been grinded down need to be stored in air-tight containers and kept cool in order to protect them from losing their flavour. The containers that coffee is typically sold in are not the most ideal for storing coffee for a long period of time.
When you arrive home after purchasing coffee grounds at the store, consider transferring the fresh coffee grounds to appropriate storage containers to extend their shelf life and full flavour.
Coffee can be brewed in many ways such as boiling, pressuring, and steeping. Most of us brew our coffee using automatic coffee brewing machines and percolators which use gravity to pull hot water through coffee grounds where the hot water mixed with the oils and essences of the coffee grounds empties into a liquid holding container below.
Filters are used to keep coffee granules from being emptied into the carafe or liquid holding container from which the brewed coffee can then be served from because most people do not want to drink the coffee granules.
Coffee granules can be very bitter once the flavour able oils and essences have been removed through the brewing process. Plants and flowers love coffee grounds though for anybody who is looking for a greener alternative of what to do with coffee grounds after brewing instead of just throwing them in the trash.
Of course, Gourmet coffee beans are only the beginning to creating a truly gourmet coffee experience for many gourmet coffee drinkers. Some people are quite content with drinking their gourmet coffee black, without adding anything like milk, creamer, sugar or other sweeteners or flavourings, to their coffee.
While many others want to enhance their gourmet coffee and drinking experience by drinking iced coffee or with tasty additions like milk that is whipped into a froth, sweeteners, and mixing in other flavours like chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, and mint, to name just a few.
Big-name coffee chains sell a wide variety of gourmet coffee with different tasty additions and flavours to appeal to gourmet coffee lovers.
Brewing gourmet coffee at home is usually much cheaper, and you can add what you want to your coffee to satisfy your refined, gourmet tastes.
There are a number of countries that produce coffee and new regions are converting their crops to the mighty bean as our demand for different tasting coffee increases. We are also adding more exotic flavourings to our coffee. It comes as no surprise that the number of coffee shops and stores that sell coffee beans and all the associated paraphernalia to be able to make our own perfect coffee at home.
Coffee houses are a great place for us to go and relax with friends and family over an expertly made cup of coffee. We often ignore how much effort has been put into our drink by the coffee maker that roasts the beans, grinds them up, and then uses the exact quantity required to brew a satisfying cup of coffee for us.
There are a number of techniques involved in making a cup of coffee and a lot of us are happy to leave someone else to make it for us. The equipment used is only part of the story; you also need to practice with various quantities of coffee and water until it reaches your optimum strength.
We are almost overwhelmed by the huge variety of types of coffee that are available. Not only does the coffee taste different depending on the country and region that the beans were grown in but also from year to year. This is due to the changes in weather from one coffee growing season to another.
If you go to a specialist coffee shop you are likely to be confronted with a huge selection of flavourings that you can add to your coffee to make it even more to your liking.
The strength and bitterness of the coffee can be adjusted by using different quantities of water and coffee, adding sweeteners and milk as well as adding milk.
One tip for lowering the bitterness level is to never use boiling water as this scalds the coffee and gives it a bitter taste. Always use water that is just below boiling temperature when making your coffee.
Everyone has their own opinion about what makes the perfect cup of coffee but you will find your own technique through trial and error.
You wake up to the smell of coffee brewing--but can you tell if it is gourmet coffee?
Gourmet coffees, which like fine wine were once a symbol of prestige, are now sold everywhere--fine coffee houses, grocery stores and retail discounts stores. Franchises have been built around the sale of gourmet coffee in the past 20 years and many will allow you to order your cup of gourmet coffee through a drive-thru window.
What caused the increase in popularity of gourmet coffees? Did everyone just decide they need a dash of mint, a hint of vanilla or an ounce of caramel? It is unlikely that the rise in gourmet coffee sales was due only to a change in our taste in coffee.
Marketing and a good product is most likely the reason for the increase in gourmet coffee sales in the past 20 years. It is fashionable to walk around with a coffee cup sipping on the latest gourmet coffee sold at the trendy coffee house.
Many people are introduced to gourmet coffees when they receive a gift set at Christmas or for a special occasion. These gift sets may included a variety of flavored gourmet coffees such as almond, chocolate and Irish cream. The gourmet coffee is often placed in a designer mug that you will most use when you drink your gourmet coffee after it is brewed.
Many convenience stores offer flavored coffees that are marketed as gourmet coffees, along with espresso and cappuccino. While these coffees may taste like they are gourmet, they are usually derived from coffee grounds found on grocery store shelves.
That?s because the real secret to gourmet coffee is not in the flavor, but in the type of coffee bean. Gourmet coffee is composed of Arabica beans, while most canned coffees are made from robusta beans. These Arabica beans will grow in mainly sub-tropical regions. Good weather is important to the growth of these gourmet coffee beans.
Gourmet coffee is often identified by its name and that name can come from a variety of derivatives, include the region where the bean is grown. You may want a cup of Colombian gourmet coffee. This type of gourmet coffee gets its name from the country where it is grown.
But another type of gourmet coffee, French Roast, has nothing to do with France but with how the bean is roasted.
Gourmet coffee has found its way to grocery stores in recent years and you can find a variety of inexpensive gourmet coffees to try at home. Many of the packaged gourmet coffees are paired with a hint of flavor. Favorite gourmet coffee flavors include vanilla, hazelnut, mocha, peppermint, chocolate mine, Irish Cream and caramel to name a few.
Some people like to add more than just cream and sugar to their gourmet coffee. Whipped cream, chocolate chips and fruit juices are popular additions to gourmet coffees.
So when you wake it to your morning cup of java, why not make a cup of gourmet coffee? Try exotic gourmet coffee flavors and add more than cream and sugar. You may find yourself addicted to gourmet coffee.
If you are really fed up with having the hum drum coffee all the time. Then it?s time to recompense yourself with something diverse and exciting. Why not spritz up your morning routine with a cup of exquisite ?gourmet coffee?.
The dictionary definition has gourmet food down as this, ?Gourmet food is that which is of the highest quality, perfectly prepared and artfully presented.? If you want the maximum quality food you go to a star class restaurant, but if you want the premier quality coffee, this can be achieved by you at home. That gourmet meal is in all probability staying at the restaurant where you ate, unless you become friends with the chef and invite him over, but as for the cup of gourmet coffee you can make it where ever you desire.
Gourmet coffee is more expensive than the standard supermarket brands, but there is simply no comparison in the quality of the coffee. If you are wealthy then you could enjoy such gourmet coffee when ever you wanted, otherwise it would be a nice thing to keep for weekends or when ever you had special company over for a visit.
To make your own gourmet coffee, start with the coffee beans. Gourmet Coffee beans can be purchased in several forms, by the pound or by the kilo and so on and there are several varieties from which to choose. Some of the most admired gourmet coffee beans include Kona, Jamaican Blue Mountain, and Sumatra types.
Coffee beans are similar to wine in that they name the coffee beans after the region of origin. In the world of wine you have the well-liked Sonoma wines which come from Sonoma Valley in California. In the world of coffee the equivalent would be Kona coffee beans which come from Kona, Hawaii.
Kona coffee beans are developed in rich volcanic soil and the placid tropical climate of the Kona coffee belt on the west side of Hawaii. It has a superbly full, rich and silky flavour with little or no bitter after taste. Be sure that you buy Kona coffee beans and not a Kona blend. A Kona blend can legally be labelled as Kona with as it consists of as little as 10% of actual Kona coffee bean.
The next thing you will need to do is grind your gourmet coffee beans. Ground coffee starts to lose it?s flavour once it has been grinded and exposed to the fresh air.
So to keep the optimum freshness you will only grind what you need for that one gourmet cup of coffee. You will want to grind your coffee beans until they are extremely fine, but don?t pound them into dust. If the ground coffee is to fine the heat of your coffee machine with dry up all the oils of the coffee bean and it is this part that gives the gourmet coffee its exquisite flavour.
Another key element in good coffee making is to clean your coffee machine on a daily basis. A clean coffee machine makes a major distinction in the final taste of your coffee. At least once a month pour a mixture of 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water into your coffee maker. Allow the mix to travel through the complete brewing process. Repeat the procedure again using only water this time to rinse out any junk or vinegar left inside. Do this until the smell of vinegar is no more.
Now your work is finished and it is time for the coffee machine to pull it?s weight. Use clean filtered water and fill the coffee maker to the desired level. Use about 6 ounces of water for every 2 heaping tablespoons of coffee. Turn it on and hang around while it brews. You will want to present to soak up the delightful aroma.
Everyday coffee is perfect for everyday use. But every once in a while you should treat yourself to something special. And what better way to start a special than that with a special cup of coffee. Gourmet coffees can really jazz up your day.
You are hooked as you stop every day at the local coffee shop and order a latte or other gourmet coffee drink. You have been alternating between ordering hot and cold beverages when you go. This gives you an opportunity to try the many different flavors that are sold there. Did you that there are literally hundreds of different flavors that you can try?
If you are looking for a real treat, try ordering special gourmet coffee drinks. Coffee beans are grown throughout the world and you can have coffee from the Middle East, America, Asia, Africa and even from Hawaii.
The different types and flavors are particular to each growing area and are influenced by 6 important elements: soil, altitude, sunshine, cloud cover, rain and slope.
So, you now know a little more about where the coffee is grown but what is really the trend behind gourmet coffee drinks? Is it the coffee itself or the amazing sweet flavored syrups, the steamed milk, the whipped cream or the little shavings of chocolate and other flavoring added to the top?
Many believe that you should start with a flavored coffee in order to create a great gourmet coffee drink. Some of the more popular flavors are:
* Amaretto Supreme - almonds and almond flavored liqueur.
* Apricot Creme - fruit flavored.
* Butter Rum - buttery rum flavored.
* Caramel Creme - old fashioned caramel.
* Cinnamon Viennese - spicy cinnamon flavor.
* Cookies and Creme - Oreo cookie flavored.
* French Vanilla - sweet flavor of vanilla.
* Hazelnut Creme - classic nut flavor.
* Irish Creme - flavor of a famous liqueur.
* Southern Pecan - a classic flavor of the South.
* Ultimate Chocolate - a favorite for chocolate lovers.
Others believe that the right coffee is only the beginning. You also need to grind your own coffee beans so that they are always fresh and to make the flavor pop when you brew it. Your final gourmet coffee beverage will only be as good as your coffee pot can make it?especially since coffee is the main ingredient in these drinks.
No matter what flavor of gourmet coffee you start with, the other ingredients you add will enhance the flavor of your freshly made cup of gourmet coffee. Do not skim on your other ingredients. Purchase a good brand of the flavored sweet syrup and real whipping cream from a can. Invest in a milk steamer to properly heat the milk to the correct temperature. Now, put all of your ingredients together into a drink that will thrill and delight your friends and family-great gourmet coffee at home, any time of the day or night.
So whether you make it a hot cup or a cold frozen delight, sit back and enjoy the experience. Share your drinks with your family and friends-you will never have to think twice about having a special gourmet coffee drink if you can make it yourself at home.
If you are a gourmet coffee lover you will know that there are many related products and items that are connected with it, the thing is there are many people just like you who are also bewitched by gourmet coffee and these people can be found talking about the subject on many forums and news groups around the internet. Finding these fellow enthusiasts is pretty easy but you need to know the facts.
For a small minority items you might even wonder why such a message board might exist but let me tell you now there are news groups all over the web on the most unusual and weirdest of subjects, coffee makers and those closely linked to the industry will themselves join and take part in news groups targeted at food and drink and the general sphere of coffee products and connected accessories, it is in such places that a person will be given the insider secrets on such areas and also get an idea of the latest coffee merchandise to get released.
Whilst searching for coffee details on a message board you can normally guarantee that the tips you will gain will be a hundred percent honest and very reliable indeed, somebody may have ordered a Green Coffee product or a Kona Coffee Beans product however not have been happy with their purchase, by carefully checking some message board posts on the chosen coffee product before they purchased they could very well have obtained some vital advice aimed at their coffee related purchase.
Furthermore newsgroups can give you some real positive guidance on coffee products and accessories, It only takes a couple of minutes of your time to divide the best goods from the bad. Pretend for a minute you have read numerous forum posts talking about a wood coffee table, if this food and drink merchandise was included on your shopping list then this may be one coffee product that you can happily buy and know that you are getting a wonderful deal for your cash.
The selection of individuals that appear in the gourmet coffee forums is also amazing, there are people who work in the industry, people who are retired from it, the coffee advice that these kind of folk can provide is simply priceless. It is in these forums or even blogs that you will learn the insider coffee secrets, where to get the real wholesale prices, where not to buy from, all kinds of wonderful facts and data. Best of all these folk are not charging for what must be considered the best information there is on coffee, it is just like sticking your head into a classroom on a subject you are totally interested in, experts on blends, specialists on rare coffee beans, all providing their knowledge for free.
Pretend for a minute you are searching for a vintage coffee table, why this item? well it just so happens a colleague of yours bought one, you too are wishing to buy the same merchandise however check a coffee forum first, there you find out the item is not as wonderful as you thought and end up ordering an alternative product. This can be applicable to any region of coffee products, office coffee grinders, insulated coffee pourers it doesn't matter what the merchandise is, select coffee or food and drink news groups are of great value for any possible buyer of these kind of products.
Whilst you are hunting for gourmet coffee or an associated food and drink accessory it is essential that you make use of the large number of articles that are provided on a great many of the coffee related websites or directories, in other words if you are hunting for an italian coffee pot or a german coffee jug then locating some first hand guidance from a coffee professional is bound to supply you with an advantage over other shoppers.
You should be particularly wary if the so called "coffee expert" gives a product guide but also has a buying button on his or her own website, for example if you should find a really hot review on latte coffee and there just happens to be a "purchasing" link then the chances are the expert who wrote the review is clearly selling coffee products and such under a pretence. The trick is to look at coffee reviews from specialists who are genuinely interested in this specialist sector of coffee.
The ideal coffee review site will contain a varying variety of reviews on subjects including how to locate the highest quality coffee for your requirements or best coffee product comparisons, furthermore if the writer has many articles more on subjects like bunn easy pure coffee pots or bunn espresso machines but does not provide the reader any clear means in which to get these food and drink products then without a doubt this free coffee guidance is most likely compiled by somebody who just writes and reviews the subject of coffee out of sheer interest.
The coffee manufactures might often contact reliable comparison directories the minute they launch a brand new model, say for a minute some new world coffee blend baskets have just been launched, it is certainly worth the manufacturers sending out a free coffee product for review simply because they can be certain that if the coffee reviewer gives their products the ok then sales of their product are bound to increase.
Sourcing advice on new coffee items is fairly easy however the typical food and drink buyer may need some assistance, depending on the coffee products you want enter these types of search terms into the search engines but ensure you use inverted comma's, for example "write ups on bunn coffee makers" or "gourmet coffee sampler bag kit reviews", this will ensure you locate the exact information you need and also this without wasting too much time.
Another interesting thing about coffee write ups is that if you find them in food and drink journals then most times the items will be offered for free in competitions, you have to remember that these sort of places are given a bundle of coffee focused merchandise to review, On one occasion myself once won a years supply of gourmet coffee which I subsequently auctioned so that I could buy a antique coffee table, this was possible because I was hunting for product guides on coffee table plans, product reviews are absolutely priceless.
Could you ever resist the craving to have a second cup of that beautiful, strongly aromatic and lazily steaming cup of coffee? Perhaps no one can do it. A passionate Gourmet?s delight, freshly brewed, thick and dark brown and irresistible coffee just brightens up your day like no other drink or anything else can do.
One might be tempted to ask why gourmet coffee is so special. Well, here is the answer. For starters, gourmet coffee is always made by high quality fresh Arabica coffee beans which are always hand picked unlike other commercial coffees which are mostly machine graded. Hand picking of coffee beans eliminate chances for dirt such as twigs, leaves etc to sneak in and spoil your coffee.
Secondly, gourmet coffee beans are specially treated with oils after roasting which enhances its flavor to no end. The oil used for coffee bean treatment is a blend of many natural oils which do not have their adverse effect on the shelf life or stability of the ground powder unlike synthetic oils. The oils are so mixed that their characteristic flavors neutralize each other.
You can have different tailor made roast for your gourmet coffee. Deep roasted beans some what loose their natural aroma and this is why you feel the ?roasted flavor? when drinking it. Rather you would prefer a lighter roasting which retains its entire natural aroma.
Arabica coffee beans are ground to the exact perfection of fineness to get its best taste. But generally a finer grind results in a full-bodied cup of coffee, but as many would like it, coarser grinds are preferred to make coffee with coarse filters.
Finer grinds are preferred by those who like espresso but true lovers of gourmet coffee will almost invariably go with the coarse ground coffee powder as boiled water takes its own sweet time to pull out the flavor completely, especially in drip type filters.
Arabica coffee beans are never stored in warehouses as they are dispatched quickly after harvesting. It is the same story after roasting and grinding them, too. The beans from Arabica trees are, by nature, tastier than Robusta, another cheaper variety.
To its credit, Robusta coffee bean offers you higher caffeine content along with that characteristic acidic taste. Another little known fact is some marketers mix a small percentage of Robusta with gourmet coffee beans.
NamSing Then is a regular article contributor on many topics. Be sure to visit his other websites Coffee Resources, Coffee Grinder and Tea Resources