How to Make World Class Gourmet Coffee Every Time

How to Make World Class Gourmet Coffee Every Time

Did you know that you can make a nice cup of gourmet coffee on your own at home? Here are some simple steps to brewing the perfect cup of coffee every time.

Start with Quality Beans.

One of the most critical aspects of brewing satisfying gourmet coffee is the grade of the coffee you start with. If you have a favorite flavor, purchase whole beans in that flavor. If you do this, it will allow you to start with the freshest, most flavor-filled coffee possible.

Grind Away.

Purchase a quality coffee grinder. The best grinders available today are fairly low cost, easy to use and easy to clean up. By grinding your own coffee beans, you’ll be able to only grind what you need, meaning that you will have complete freshness in your coffee.

Store It Right and Tight.

It is very fundamental to store your coffee tightly sealed. Air oxidizes the coffee and can make it turn bitter quickly. Metal canisters may also impart a metal taste to into the coffee, making it taste bad.The best solution is to use a plastic or ceramic airtight container for your coffee and coffee beans.

Also, store the coffee at room temperature because the moisture in the fridge or freezer can make it go bad faster. But if you think you won’t be using all the beans soon, freezing them is fine and will help them keep fresh-tasting longer.

The Maker Is Crucial.

The coffee maker that you choose to use, and its condition, is also critical to that gourmet cuppa. No matter what style of coffeemaker that you choose, you can get a good cup of coffee out of it if you take the essential steps to keeping it working at its best.

For example, you should ensure that the coffee maker is cleaned after each use. In fact, you’ll need to detail clean it, with the assistance of vinegar water, every so often as well. Your preferences can determine which style of coffee maker you will use. A coffee maker with a permanent filter in it is a good idea.

It’s the Water.

Even the water that you use is central to the quality of the coffee you will make with it. It is essential that you use water that is free from chlorine and too many minerals. Often, using bottled water rather than tap water will augment the quality of the coffee. Also, keep the water nice and hot. A good temperature for the water when it hits the coffee is about 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93.3 Celsius).

Use the Right Amount of Coffee.

It is also of utmost importance for you to use the right quantity of coffee grounds in the coffeemaker. Too much ground coffee and you will have a very strong cup of coffee and too few will make it to be too weak. Follow the directions provided by the coffee producer for the best cup of coffee.

Lastly, and probably the most vital aspect, of getting a great cup of gourmet coffee is to make sure to enjoy your coffee when it is hot and fresh. Most restaurants are told to keep coffee for less than thirty minutes, but at home, the best tasting coffee is the coffee that was just brewed, or at least that hasn’t sat for more than twenty minutes since it was brewed.

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Coffee Pros and Cons

Coffee Pros and Cons

There have been so many studies and reports about the effects of coffee over the recent decades that many people are confused about the real results.

For a number of years we were told that coffee drinking was unhealthy, but now more recent studies tell us that is not true. Over four hundred million cups of coffee are consumed per day in this world, so of course this is an important issue.

The main problem that people may have is with the caffeine in coffee. Caffeine is a mild stimulant, and therefore raises blood pressure and can increase heart rate. This was of concern to earlier researchers; today, researchers think the effect is so mild and short-lived as to be negligible.

In fact, we are actually hearing about the benefits of coffee consumption. Some studies have even shown that the consumption of coffee reduces the incidence of colon cancer, but at such high levels that the negative effects of coffee may once again be an issue. But moderate levels of coffee drinking may actually be good for us. We know that it helps keep us alert. It has been discovered that wine contains certain antioxidants that help prevent heart disease and some cancers by removing free radicals from the blood system. The same may be true of coffee. Studies have shown that the concentration of antioxidants in coffee is greater than in cranberries, apples or tomatoes. Of course, those other fruits and vegetables also give us many other benefits such as vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Chinese studies have indicated that coffee consumption reduces the effects of Parkinson’s Disease. Some studies in both America and Scandinavia indicate that coffee may reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. And there is growing evidence that coffee can reduce the incidence of kidney stones and gallstones. Benefits have also been noted in the digestive system, since caffeine stimulates the production of stomach acid, aiding in digestion. In moderation, the consumption of coffee has been shown to reduce the constriction of the airways in asthma sufferers. A bronchodilator called theophylline, contained in coffee, helps this effect.

But, of course nearly everything, even things as good as coffee, also has negatives. Excess coffee consumption has been linked with infertility or reduced fertility. Higher blood levels of homocysteine and LDL cholesterol have been associated with coffee drinking; these are both factors in coronary heart disease. Since coffee contains cafestol, which raises blood cholesterol, this is one of the main reasons it has been indicted in the heart disease debate. However, the European method of making coffee, which is to boil the ground beans, is the real culprit in cafestol; the American method of percolating or filtering coffee removes it.

Another issue that has been raised regarding coffee drinking is that coffee may contribute to loss of bone density in women. In addition, women who drink four or more cups of coffee a day may be prone to incontinence.

The bottom line? As always, is moderation. The many benefits of drinking coffee are available, and the risks avoided, if coffee is drunk moderately. Get a one cup coffee maker and enjoy one or two good cups a day, or splurge on your cappuccino instead of endless cups from the coffee vending machine.

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Alternatives To Giving Up Coffee for Health Reasons

Alternatives To Giving Up Coffee for Health Reasons

So you are a coffee lover, and you have all the gadgets and gismos to make that perfect cup. You know all the different coffee types available and your idea of a perfect Sunday morning is to relax with your favorite newspaper and a giant mug of a classic Columbian brew.

So what happens when for health reasons you are told to cut down on the coffee? There are so many reasons these days why you might need to cut down on your caffeine intake, perhaps you are pregnant, or suffering from a heart condition that makes excessive caffeine consumption unwise. As a coffee connoisseur the idea of drinking decaf leaves you cold, but when it is a choice between your health and your coffee you probably don’t have much choice. To make your transition easier, there are few things to consider before you stock up on decaf beans.

Be prepared to spend a little extra on high quality decaf to get a decent taste. There are various processes used to remove caffeine from coffee beans and the most economical uses chemicals to accomplish this. Although the chemicals are washed away, small traces can remain that impact the taste of the resulting brew. Some of the good coffee flavor can also be washed away with the caffeine.

Some more expensive decaf beans go through the Swiss method, where the beans are heated with water and then passed through activated charcoal, which bonds with the caffeine, leaving the beans with reduced caffeine but the majority of their original taste.

Another, more recent addition to these processes is known as Hevla. Coffee beans are steamed at high pressure and the caffeine removed, without any real impact on the flavor. The use of this process is becoming more widespread, but is unlikely to be used on the standard decaf for sale in your local supermarket.

As well as checking the manufacturing process used before buying decaf coffee, you should also have a careful look at the caffeine content. You may think you have been clever enough to find a great decaf that tastes just like regular coffee, for a reasonable price. But you may in fact find that the caffeine content is only slightly reduced, hence the more complete taste, and you can probably do yourself almost as much damage with this as with a regular brew. Also beware of drinking decaf coffee when you are out and about. Because the same machines are often used to make decaf as regular coffee, you might unintentionally be getting a large dose of caffeine anyway.

If you really can’t stomach changing to decaf, you could just reduce the amount of coffee that you drink and really savor those occasional cups. You could also switch to a darker roast such as an Italian roast, popular for espresso making, which are naturally lower in caffeine because most of it has burnt off during the darker roasting process.

So don’t despair if your doctor gives you the bad news. Just because you have to cut down on caffeine, this does not mean that you have to give up good coffee altogether.

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How That Elixer Known as Coffee Gets to Your Cup

How That Elixer Known as Coffee Gets to Your Cup

Coffee is the brew that more than half the people around the world need to kick start the day. Ever wondered about the origins of this humble but oh so important cup of joy and how it landed up on the shelf in your neighborhood store? Did you know that every day there are about four hundred million cups of coffee consumed around the world? It all began about two thousand years ago and today it has a market in which the output as a commodity is a close second to petroleum in its dollar value.

Coffee is broadly categorized into two main types – the Arabia which started out on the Arabian Peninsula and the Robusta which has twice the amount of caffeine. Apart from this there are at least a dozen bean varieties in common use today. The beans are red or green in type. The red is known for its higher aroma and lower acid content and it is this type that is used to make some of the finer coffees of the world.

The coffee berry, or ‘cherry’ as it is called, is not of much value by itself, but the bean inside it – that’s the part that has all the importance. It is this bean that is aged, roasted, ground and then sent on for brewing. Coffee picking is done by laborers who pick a few baskets a day, and they have to be skilled in separating the red from the green beans. The sorting of the beans has a very definite role to play in the final product. The time of picking of the cherries is of the utmost importance, as it has to be done just when the berry changes from green to red.

Once picked, the fruit undergoes a process of being soaked, scoured and rubbed mechanically to remove the fruit, and the bean is then washed to ensure no flesh of the fruit remains. Then the beans are fermented. Once the proper amount of fermentation has occurred, the resulting beans are then sun-dried on large concrete or rock surfaces until their water content has dropped to about 12 percent. This is followed by the sorting of the beans based on size and color. After “polishing” to remove any remaining skin they are then either sent on for roasting or kept to age for from three to eight years.

Roasting is done at about 204 Celsius (400 F.), where the beans expand to almost double their size, then crack and turn brown as the oil inside is secreted out. This oil is where the difference in the basic flavors comes from. After the roasting, the beans are de-gassed, which means that the beans produce a lot of carbon dioxide and this is removed by airing them out or packaging them in semi-permeable bags for shipping.

At the roasting stage, a lot of in-house techniques have been developed which basically account for the difference in flavors between the different coffees. So, for example, coffee from Kenya or Java will taste different from that roasted some other country. At the grinding level there are again a lot of differences in styles and the results of those styles. The Turks pound the beans into a powdery consistency using a mortar and pestle and in some other places the ‘burr’ grinder crushes the beans to a regular sized granule. Yet others chop the beans to a less homogeneous size using a chopper.

The final cup of delicious coffee that you get is actually either boiled, which means hot water is poured and the grounds are allowed to settle, or it is pressure-prepared, which refers to the espresso type of preparation where not quite boiling hot water is poured through the grounds at very high pressure. The third way is “percolating,” where hot water drips onto the grounds and is filtered. And more rarely, coffee grounds are steeped like tea is, but in larger bags.

So there you have the journey of coffee from the plantation to your cup, and with research coming up with the benefits of drinking coffee, let’s raise a toast to the cup that cheers!

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What Happened to Coffee?

What Happened to Coffee?

It’s sad to know that a lot of people think that premium coffee at a fast food restaurant is as good as it gets. Coffee is more than a way to wake you up in the morning. It’s about the aroma, the flavor, the conversation, and the relaxation.

The days when we used to wake up in the morning, grab the morning newspaper, and brew up a wonderful cup of coffee, have started to disappear. If you’re a morning person who can get out of bed hours before anyone else and somehow start the day without the typical morning rush then consider yourself one of the lucky ones. Most people are usually running around the house, getting the kids ready, getting themselves ready, and running out the door. Some days they manage to squeeze some time into the morning routine to roll through a drive-thru coffee stand or even worse, a fast-food restaurant, to pick up a cup of java. Or they can wait to get to the office where they brew up the cheapest stuff that their employer can get, as they load it down with cream and sugar. How can this be? How does what is supposed to be one of the most relaxing and satisfying routines of the day become part of the rat race?

As you may know, coffee is the second most important commodity in the United States. If you turn on your TV to watch the news you’ll know what is first. But the coffee industry is big business.  The coffee you get at the fast food restaurant or at the office doesn’t even touch on the quality that is available out there. It’s funny and sad that nowadays anything that doesn’t come out of the can is considered gourmet coffee.

Gourmet coffee is not something that you can’t buy at the grocery store; the most expensive stuff there doesn’t even begin to touch on the quality that is available. Coffee roasting has become an art form. In a day when big companies use computers to do the dirty work, small specialty companies are still doing it the old-fashioned way with their experience and their brains. Roastmasters spend years honing their craft, and their experience is what makes for a great cup of coffee. These companies rely on freshness and quality to compete with the big boys who stock the grocery store shelves or ship out to your local drive-thru. You won’t see any of their commercials on TV, even really late at night when there is the cheapest air-time.

These specialty companies are successful simply based on their reputations. They work to get the highest grade beans from all over the world. They test everything to make sure the quality is as good as it gets. And then they baby it. Gourmet coffee is usually roasted in small batches to guarantee that nothing can go wrong. The time and
temperature is under their complete control, and experience tells them when the beans are roasted perfectly. Any imperfections and the beans are tossed out and a new batch begins.

The really good specialty roasters can do anything with coffee. They can create the perfect blends, add the best flavors, and guarantee that you will get the best cup of coffee that you have ever tasted. They rely on word of mouth, reviews and tasting competitions to get their names out there.

In most situations the only way to place an order with them is through the Internet. Gourmet Coffee sites are everywhere on the web, but it is often hard to determine which is the best place to go. If you want a head start read some of our reviews about some of the best gourmet coffee companies out there. And believe or not, most of their coffee costs no more that what you pay for a bag of beans at the supermarket that have been sitting around for a couple of months. But best part about it is that you can have all of this in the comfort of your own home. This may give you the little extra that you need to get out of bed in the morning.

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