With so many gourmet coffee possibilities out there, how on earth do you go about choosing one?
It partly depends on what you are after in your coffee. Are you looking for a particular taste, or maybe you just want to sample coffee from many different exotic regions. Though the differences between various types of gourmet coffee may be subtle, they are certainly there.
Blue Mountain coffee is considered to be one of the best gourmet coffees out there, but you may be disappointed in it if you enjoy a really bold cup of coffee. The flavor of this Jamaican coffee is actually very mild and won’t appeal to everyone. For something stronger, try some Kona beans from Hawaii. Still a smooth cup but with some spicy hints that make it a bit more interesting. Coffee beans from Ethiopia, like the Harrar or Yirgacheffe regions, will give you a coffee with very noticeable fruity tones, or even a “winy” taste.
So if you have a particular palate, do a bit of reading on the various gourmet coffee regions before spending a fortune on a pound of beans. You may find that the taste isn’t what you were expecting. Of course, that might be half the fun for someone who likes variety. Check out your local coffee shop and see if they have any freshly brewed coffee with these regional beans. Then you can taste for yourself before you buy.
You may also want to keep some ethical issues in mind when choosing gourmet coffee. Organic coffee means it was grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides, and fairly traded coffee means that it was purchased for a fair price, usually directly from the coffee growers. Another environmentally friendly choice is shade-grown coffee, found in plantations where the natural forest hasn’t been cleared and the coffee is just grown among the existing trees.
For anyone cutting back on caffeine, don’t worry. Nearly any gourmet coffee you can buy is also available in decaf.