Gourmet Coffee: Assessing the Quality

Creating gourmet coffee is all in the growing and the processing. Coffee, when grown at different altitudes and under different conditions, will result in subtle flavorings that eventually become the gourmet coffee you know and love. Just like fine wine, gourmet coffee has certain characteristics that coffee connoisseurs can identify.

One attribute that a coffee possesses is an aroma or smell. Even the unroasted beans have a certain smell. The aroma can be nutty, citrusy, smoky, even chocolaty. Of course, the smell gives away the coffee's flavor.

Acidity is another thing to concider with gourmet coffee. This comprises the tartness in coffee. Some people like it, some people do not. There is wide range of acidity in coffees depending on how they are grown. Brazilian coffee is not usually very acidic because it is grown at lower altitudes. While East African, Kenyan coffee is highly acidic.

The body of the coffee refers to the "mouth feel" of the drink. When drinking coffee does it coat the mouth? How does it feel on your tongue? Coffees can have a light body or full body.

The flavor is, of course, the most important part, and coffee can have a wide range of flavors. It can be bitter which means it is rather too acidic, or it can be bland. It can have a fruity taste or nutty taste. If the coffee is astringent it is referred to as sharp. If it is acrid then it is called sour. Coffee can be spicy, sweet, and even winey tasting!

Gourmet coffees can also be flavored with various spices such as vanilla or cinnamon.

Next Page: History of Coffee


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