Read these 18 Gourmet Coffee Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Coffee tips and hundreds of other topics.
Espresso grounds, according to Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, feel almost like confectioner's sugar in your hand and can be compressed with little effort. The brew from these grounds is heavily extracted and tastes rich and heavy.
Green Mountain's Dark Magic Extra Bold K-Cup offer the rich aromatics and flavor qualities of espresso, but they are designed for the K-Cup.
If cappuccino is your drink, texturing milk for lattes and cappuccinos is something of an art. The right tools include a 20-ounce steaming pitcher is perfect for steaming and stretching milk for one to four espresso drinks.
Made of durable stainless steel, it features a reverse bell shape — with walls narrowing toward the rim — which helps keep steamed and stretched milk in the pitcher during spinning and twirling. A pouring lip directs textured milk and foam, making it easier to control your pour.
When texturing milk for coffee drinks, start with ice-cold milk and an ice-cold pitcher, too.
Need more milk? Invest in the Bodum Frother, which froths milk quickly and easily. Insert the whip end into cold milk and then push the button. The frother whips into action, creating a nice froth that will last in hot beverages. It works best with cold milk.
Gourmet coffee makes a great coffee beverage. Here are a few recipes you might enjoy:
Iced Coffee Recipes
Flavored coffees and decafs make nice great iced coffee cocktails.
Flavors: caramel and brazil nuts
Café con leche is Spanish for "coffee with milk," and it means the same thing as café au lait, which is French, and caffè e latte, which is Italian. Also, the word "misto" is often used to refer to a café au lait.
This drink is made by mixing coffee made from a drip or French press machine and scalded (not steamed) milk in a 1:1 ratio.
In some American coffeehouses, a café au lait is actually a cappuccino or latte (made with steamed, not scalded, milk) with regularly brewed coffee instead of espresso.
If you have more questions about coffee, check out: http://www.coffeeforums.com/
The increasing popularity of gourmet coffee has made gourmet coffee gift baskets a popular gift for any occasion, from a birthday to the holidays.
Specialty coffee shops in shopping malls dedicate more space to coffee-related products than they do to the beans or the coffee counter. These include prepackaged gifts at the holidays.
Specialty coffee companies sell their gourmet signature roasts and blends, but many go beyond the bean to provide gifts that complement the coffee. Some also sell food, mugs and products made in the countries that produce gourmet coffee beans.
Are you buying a gift for a dessert coffee drinker? Gourmet coffee companies make it easy to pair it with chocolates, dessert baking mixes, hot chocolate and a mug to drink their evening beverage in.
Gourmet coffee has made coffee a more personal gift because of the many different roasts, flavored coffees, whole beans, fine grinds and coarse grinds. Getting just the right beans shows that you know something about the person to whom you are presenting the gift. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has gourmet coffee gifts for people who drink a little or a lot of coffee, coffee enthusiasts, coffee drinkers who like to make their own mocha by combining coffee and hot chocolate. There is a better world gift basket with organic and fair trade products, coffee cakes, insulated glasses, coffee presses and more.
If there is any question whether gourmet coffee is growing in popularity, check to see how many coffee houses are in your town.
Seattle, Wash. gave birth to the café or latte culture in the 1970s to a café or 'latte' culture. This has improved the general quality of the coffee Americans drink, according to the National Coffee Association.
Coffee franchises no longer focus on major metropolitan areas. Today, most public place have at least one coffee cart. Suburbs outside cities, as well as those in more rural areas have some major chains serving coffee. It just took a little longer to get to t hem.
The specialty coffee sector has improved the image of coffee in the eyes of American consumers.
In 1991 it was estimated that there were just 500 gourmet or specialty coffeehouses. By 2005 there were an estimated 10,000 or more. This number excludes coffee carts, kiosks, vending machines and cafes in bookstores, sporting arenas and transportation facilities, which have also grown.
The National Coffee Association predicts that gourmet coffee consumption grew from 12 percent in 2003 to 14 percent in 2004, according to 2004 National Coffee Drinking Trends . Consumer awareness of the origins they drink does lead to product loyalty and the development of a brand image, which only leads to the belief that the gourmet coffee drinking public may continue to grow.
Gourmet, or specialty coffee, is made from beans grown in ideal coffee-producing climates. Start with checking to see if your coffee is made from Arabica beans.
Gourmet coffees tend to feature distinctive flavors, which come from the soil of the coffee growing region that produces them. Beans become gourmet during the “green bean” phase and those beans must have no defects.
Next, comes the roaster's talent. He or she must bring out the coffee's distinctive quality and it the roasted bean must be aromatic. Master roasting involves matching roast temperature and time with a given bean to maximize its potential, so that it does not obscure the coffee's origin flavors and aromas.
There are several things to look for in a gourmet coffee: fragrance, aroma, acidity or brightness that leaves a pleasant taste on the tongue, flavor, body, finish and balance. Truly great specialty coffees have distinct flavor profiles without flavor additives.
In 2005, approximately 15 percent of the adult population in America said they enjoyed a cup of specialty coffee. Gourmet coffee comes from many places. You can get it from a coffee shop, a specialty coffee company or, in come cases, the supermarket.
Coffee beans are the seeds of a berry that grows on trees. The coffee berries grow in clusters and are usually harvested once they turn red in color.
The coffee berries are difficult to chew so early coffee experimentation involved roasting the coffee beans to make them edible. Gradually, people began pouring hot water over the roasted coffee beans to make the well-known cup of coffee.
We've all seen those glass-fronted bins in supermarkets. You select the type of bean and then fill one of the bags provided - with whole beans or ground. What's the problem here? These bins are not air-tight and you have no idea how long the beans have been there. Roasted beans start losing their flavor from the moment they are expose to the air. So while buying from these 'hoppers' may seem like a good idea, you could be buying some very stale coffee that has lost all the subtleties of its original flavor.
To be sure of a fresh brew, you can choose from a large variety of gourmet coffee beans in airtight packages here.
It's tempting to buy your beans from the coffee shop where you first enjoyed their taste. And there's nothing wrong with that - so long as you don't mind paying top dollar for your beans. Alternatively, find the kind of bean and roast you prefer, and then start looking for the same thing elsewhere. With a bit of research you'll find the same taste and quality, at a much better price.
It's a common misconception that espresso has more caffeine than regularly brewed coffee. The average single shot of espresso (made with arabica) contains between 45 and 70 mg of caffeine. A 12 ounce cup of instant coffee can have as much as 350mg of caffeine.
However, since espresso doesn't refer to a type of coffee, but rather the brewing method used to make it, how much caffeine in it will depend upon the beans used. Robusta coffee beans contain 40-50% more caffeine than arabica coffee beans. In Italy, many espresso blends are based on dark-roasted robusta.
If you're concerned about how much caffeine is in your espresso drink, ask your barista whether they use arabica, robusta, or a blend. Or ask them to make your espresso with decaf.
As you browse the supermarket shelves, be careful about what you select. First, look for whole beans. If you buy ground coffee, you can be sure it won't be as fresh as coffee you grind yourself. And if you buy tins of ground coffee, more often than not you'll be buying a blend of all kinds of different coffees, some of which may have come from lower-quality beans. And when you buy bags of beans, make sure the packaging is air-tight and that the bag has a special one-way valve. (Sometimes hard to find - but these valves are usually on the front of the bag, near the top.)
Espresso is a straight, one-ounce measure of coffee made in a very particular way - and generally known as a 'shot'. Finely ground coffee is tamped into a special holder and then has water forced through it at exactly the right temperature, the right pressure and for the right length of time. It's not easy to get it exactly right! But when you sip an Espresso made by an experienced Barista at your local coffee house, you'll experience the best of all coffee moments. When making your own Espresso, choose the right gourmet coffee bean. Try Espresso Dark Roast.
A cappuccino is 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, and 1/3 frothed milk.
To make cappuccino, you will need an espresso machine with a steam wand.
How to make one shot (30 ml) of espresso:
- Take seven grams of coffee.
- Force water at 90 degrees Celsius through the grounds at a pressure of nine bar (130 PSI) for 25 seconds.
How to froth milk:
- Fill a stainless steel milk pitcher with milk.
- Place the steam wand in the pitcher and open the steam valve.
- Put your steam valve hand under the pitcher so your palm touches the bottom of the pitcher
- Place the steam tip just below the milk's surface. If it's too high, the bubbles will be too big, too low, you won't get bubbles at all. The steam tip should be exactly in the middle so that tiny bubbles will rapidly expand the milk. Raise the wand as the milk expands. Be sure to listen for the whispering/hissing/sucking noise.
- If the pitcher against your palm is body temperature (about 37 degrees Celsius), stop expanding the milk and lower the wand slowly into the milk. Whirl it over the bottom to heat the milk slightly.
- If the pitcher against your palm becomes too hot to touch, turn off the steam, knock the pitcher gently on the counter, and whirl the milk slowly for a couple of seconds.
- Pour the milk into the espresso in a continuous stream.
For more coffee tips, check out: http://www.toomuchcoffee.com
The way most of us have come to know the great taste of specialty coffees is through the ever-growing number of coffee bars like Starbucks. It's a great way to find out what you like. Once you have found the kind of coffee that suits your taste best, you are then ready to start buying beans and make the same fresh brews in your own home.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|