There’s nothing like the smell of fresh coffee in the morning, but gourmet coffee isn’t just for the morning, it can and should be enjoyed regardless of the time of day. Coffee culture is something that can be found the world over and some countries are known for their excellence in producing the drink. Those who know and love coffee often swear by a favorite and turn up their nose at anything less than a handcrafted blend. Gourmet coffee blends result from the exact art of selecting and blending the best coffee beans from different origins to enhance the best qualities of each and they are all the rage amongst coffee drinkers these days. It’s no mystery why gourmet blends are becoming popular; they allow coffee drinkers to enjoy multiple favorites all in a single cup. People can spend endless hours in cafes trying out new flavors and the best blends win their creators renown.
What Makes a Gourmet Coffee?
A cup of gourmet coffee stands apart from a normal coffee. The key to any blend is in the ingredients and gourmet blends have their foundations in the type of coffee bean used. Around 70 percent of the inherent qualities of a coffee bean are genetic characteristics from the seed while the other 30 percent is based on the environment the coffee is cultivated in. To produce a gourmet coffee one must begin by growing a quality bean in an ideal ecosystem.
The Coffee Plant
Arabica and Robusta are the two main types of coffee plants; Arabica is the more expensive, better tasting bean and is considered premium. Robusta is cheaper, easier and faster to grow along with being more disease and weather resistant. In exchange for these qualities, however, it loses some of the taste. Needless to say, the best gourmet coffees are made from 100 percent Arabica beans. In fact, Costa Rica, known for the quality of its coffee, bans the planting of anything besides Arabica beans.
The Ideal Environment
The Arabica beans used to make gourmet coffee are quite susceptible to disease and pests, growing best at altitudes of at least 1,200 meters in temperatures averaging 20° C (70° F). Climate, latitude, altitude, and regional soil all play an important role in coffee production. Some of the countries famous for growing quality beans include Costa Rica, Brazil, Colombia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Puerto Rico, Ethiopia, and Kenya, amongst others.
Processing & Blending the Beans
Beans must be harvested, water or dry processed, and sun dried before being roasted to perfection. From here those who know how to select the perfect beans can create superb gourmet blends. It takes years of study and requires a vast degree of knowledge to know how to select the proper beans and know which coffee profiles go well together. Experts in the industry often guard their roasting process and blending techniques, leaving people to enjoy the drink and wonder at its creation.
Choosing the Perfect Blend
What gourmet coffee blends a drinker prefers is largely a matter of personal preference, but it helps to know what kind of taste one can generally expect with certain coffees. Trying out a few and studying the ingredients can be a great way to discover what taste one prefers and where they come from. Maybe it’s a smooth, full-bodied Mocha-Java complemented by deep cocoa flavor, with beans hailing from Yemen and Sumatra; or perhaps the drinker prefers a drip mélange with Colombian and Kenyan beans that have been blended into a balanced body with a bittersweet kick. Whatever the case, gourmet coffee blends equals more coffee options for drinkers to try.