Many people claim good and bad addictions, some detrimental to economical health, others to physical health. I must confess, I am a coffee addict. My addiction isn’t an over consumption. I have a genuine love for delicious coffee. My family and friends tease me that I am a coffee snob, but I would rather have an excellent cup of coffee than any other offering.
I have developed a knack for separating a good coffee from a mediocre one. A coffee that is bitter is usually stale, sometimes over processed. Coffee must be freshly roasted or stored carefully to ensure coffee is as fresh and delicious as possible.
Coffee roasting is an art. Coffee micro roasters have emerged presenting some of the best coffee tasted. I am partial to a company called Blue Bottle Coffee Company in California. Their roasts are wonderful, and they have such an excellent assortment of coffees and the product descriptions are well written and concise.
I am sure other excellent coffee micro roaster companies have coffee their legions of fans will attest to as some of the best coffee that they have enjoyed. The challenge with large roasters is to me the coffee tastes a bit over processed, sometimes the slight taste of being burnt. Coffee requires careful roasting because the overall quality of the coffee will be compromised.
Each coffee has a unique flavor depending on growing conditions and location. I believe that about seventy countries grow coffee, influenced by climate, soil and altitude. Coffee falls into two categories, Arabica and Robusta. The finest coffees are from the Arabica because of their high-quality tastes and caffeine levels are not overwhelming. People do not often realize that caffeine is bitter and the roasting process will reduce the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee, and produce a mellower, less acidic cup.
Picking, grading and roasting coffee beans can be an art to produce a wonderful cup of coffee. Coffee bean size is important in the size, shape and constancy in their sizes. Once a coffee bean is harvested, drying beans is a critical step in the process and when roasting even their color is important because the evener the color, the more consistent, the roast. When coffee is roasted, the beans pop so beans need to be as congruent with one another as possible.
I find one step fascinating in the drying process of coffee beans. Not only is immediate drying of coffee beans recommended, sorting beans is often done by floating beans in water. Because coffee beans have various densities, coffee can be sorted by their floating level. Of course, the fine and rare beans are not subjected to water, but dry roasted and there is another level of understanding of how to sort and grade those beans dried in this manner. Dry roasting is an art and requires careful attention because incorrect drying causes beans to become uneven and affects the coffee adversely.
Selection of beans, drying, roasting, storing the roasted coffee and grinding are all skills important for that special cup of coffee. I have found burr coffee grinders the best for grinding coffee beans. I have tried other types of grinders, but my preference for a uniform grind that does not affect taste is the burr grinder. I am also very careful how I store my coffee and only grind enough for a certain amount of cups of coffee.
Coffee could become stale so easily, and staleness creates a bitter taste in coffee. I never store coffee in the refrigerator. I have found that the best way to store coffee is in bean form. I have discovered if I used a metal or plastic container, the coffee was affected, so I use a glass container and try to store the coffee in a dark place. I never buy more than two weeks of coffee at a time. Longer than two weeks, coffee starts to change flavor.
If I had to select three favorite coffees in a blend, my choices would be Jamaican Blue Mountain Estate, Kona Prime Estate and Celebes Kalossi golden roasted. I call this blend my royalty blend and I will use this blend to celebrate a very special occasion, as people might pop champagne for the same type of event. I do think though I would draw the line on one coffee that is the Kopi Luwak. Somehow drinking coffee that was once ingested by animals, expelled, cleaned and processed just loses its appeal to me.
I admit, I read about coffee, the perfect way to brew coffee and drool over coffees I look at in shops and online. Central Market in Austin has such a wonderful variety of coffee selections, and sometimes a rare one pops in that I must sample. Although people may wonder how I can spend twenty or more dollars a pound for coffee, fine coffee is like fine chocolate, wine or liquor.
Coffee is comforting to me. The aroma of coffee triggers childhood memories of Grandma and me sharing coffee as well as other events in my life. To me, coffee is a necessary luxury that must be selected and brewed in such a manner to produce a fine cup of coffee that requires no sugar, no cream, but pure heaven on the lips.