Gourmet foods and drinks have long been associated as the things for the rich and famous who can afford the higher pricing that often accompanies foods and beverages with a name »gourmet«.
Coffee is an example of a beverage that has been available in regular and gourmet versions for a long time. Gourmet coffee have been once served only in the finest dining establishments and only in the homes of the upper class. However today gourmet coffee is widely available and affordable to a variety of people.
Coffee is really a fruit. Coffee branches form delicate white blossoms, that last for a not more than a day or so. These blossoms give way to coffee “cherries” that are red and round ot look quite like the native cherries that we all know. It takes 3 to 5 years for the plants to begin producing and that is possible only with the right combination of climate, rain sunshine and even shade.
The two most commercially grown 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. Arabica coffee plants do best in rich, volcanic mountain soil. The higher elevations cause the coffee bean to grow more slowly, which in turn leads to a more aromatic and flavorful coffee. These top tier Arabica coffees have less caffeine in them than other versions of coffee beans such as Robustas. And it is important to know, that only the top tier Arabica coffee beans that are considered to be Gourmet.
Soon after harvesting coffee cherries must be processed to prevent the pulp from fermenting around the bean. There are two types of processing known as dry and wet processing. But the most important step in getting coffee into your cup is the roasting. Roasting coffee is both an art and a science, requiring years of experience and the right type of roasting equipment.
Green coffee beans are roasted at temperatures ranging from 370 to 450 degrees for up to 20 minutes. During this time they lose 18 to 23% of their weight and increase in size by 35 to 60%. And they change color to medium brown or dark brown, depending upon the degree of roast. The bean splits open and brings out the rich aroma of the coffee.
But Gourmet coffee beans are only the beginning to creating a truly gourmet coffee experience. Some people are quite content with drinking their gourmet coffee black, without adding anything like milk, creamer, sugar or other sweeteners or flavorings, to their coffee. However many others want to enhance their gourmet coffee and drinking experience with tasty additions like milk that is whipped into a froth, sweeteners, and mixing in other flavors like chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, and mint, to name just a few.