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Coffee Buying Guide

Posted By: Aabree Coffee
Posted At: Nov 25, 2011 at 4:56 PM
Related Categories: Coffee Guides

Cup of Espresso

Quentin Tarantino nailed it on the head in the movie Pulp Fiction during the Bonnie Situation when he gave John Travolta a tongue lashing about coffee.

“I know how good my coffee is because I'm the one who buys it,” his character Jimmie shouted, disparaging the coffee that his wife, Bonnie normally buys.“ I buy the gourmet stuff because when I drink it, I want to taste it.”

And he's right. Most people buy gourmet coffee because they want to taste it. But, with so many different gourmet coffees available it's difficult to know what to buy and why.

Know your Beans

Beans from South AmericaOne of the most important things you can do to familiarize yourself with gourmet coffee is to become aware of its origin. Because there are more than three-dozen coffee producing countries, beans will vary in taste significantly.

For instance, beans grown in Central America are generally light-bodied, meaning they have a lighter taste than a heavier Indonesian coffee. Arabica coffee, which is predominately grown at a high altitude in Central America, has a well-balanced body and smooth taste.

Coffee grown in South America, specifically Brazil, is noticeably heavier bodied than coffee grown in Central America. Coffee from South America also has a distinct aroma and a crisp bold flavor. Many coffee aficionados attribute the taste difference to the low altitude style of growing the farmers in South America use.

Indonesian coffee on the other hand has a very heavy body, full flavor and low acidity. Sumatra Mandheling and Yemen Mocha Java, both grown in Indonesia have a very heavy body, rich aroma and sweet aftertaste. And although Indonesian coffee is considered somewhat rare, it usually remains relatively low priced.

And African coffee has a taste all to its own. Ethiopian and Kenya AA are considered by many to be relatively mild, but because of its strong aroma, it often has a higher price tag.

Espresso Roast

We all know that espresso is not specifically a bean, but the end result of the brewing process. That being said, roasters have begun catering to the particular palates of coffee lovers.

Italian roaster Illy, known worldwide for their espresso, has taken Arabica beans from Brazil and Guatemala and blended them together in their Café Espresso Whole Bean. By coupling body and flavor, Illy created a Medium Roast that fills your mouth with caramel undertones. And the Illy Dark Roast is perfect if you enjoy Americanos because of its understated flavor.

Espresso beansLavazza, another Italian roaster uses beans from around the world, including South America, Central America, the Caribbean and Indonesia. Their Gold Selection uses only Brazilian coffees, that when combined, creates a smooth tasting espresso that has a noticeably chocolaty aftertaste.

West-coast roaster Supreme Bean gathers and roasts beans from all over the world too. DiAbruzzo, a medium blend, utilizes beans from Asia and Central and South America and is smooth bodied and great tasting. The DiAbruzzo is perfect for those looking for a great straight shot. While DiPalermo, a blend of seven beans from around the world, produces a fantastic shot – similar to that of a southern Italian style espresso.

If you're looking for full-flavor and no bitter aftertaste, Café La Semeuse Classique Espresso is for you. The full-flavor in their Classique Espresso is the result of roasting beans from Central and South America in small batches at high altitudes. Because Café La Semeuse roasts at higher altitudes there is reduced atmospheric pressure – allowing the beans to be heated longer without risk of burning.

Drip Coffee

These same roasters know that brewing great tasting coffee can be done in several different ways - whether it is with an espresso machine or drip coffeemaker. Taking that into consideration, these roasters have created blends ideal for drip coffeemakers.

Illy Drip Ground Coffee is the ultimate ground coffee if your looking for a medium body coffee that has a smooth, mellow taste. Cup of drip coffee

The roasters at Lavazza have several great tasting roasts perfect for drip coffeemakers too. The Lavazza Ground Premium Drip and the Grand Filtro Dark Roast Whole Bean are ideal for any occasion. Both are blends of Arabica beans from Central America and Africa and are perfect examples of how well balanced blends results in coffee with rich aromas.

California roaster Supreme Bean has several great blends for drip coffees as well. Their Yemen Mocha Java is the perfect combination of two great tasting coffees – Yemen Matari Mocha and Java Gondang Estate. The rich tasting Yemen Mocha Java blend will leave you wanting more! Supreme Bean also roasts an amazing Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee. And while it is well balanced, it has a fruity flavor with an aroma characteristic of berries.

While this is just a sampling of espresso and coffees we offer, it gives you a good idea what gourmet coffee is out there. So whether it's a light roast from Central America with a crisp bold taste, or a Yemen Mocha Java blend from Indonesia that leaves your mouth with a full flavor, these will surely please your palate.

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