July 11, 2008, Newsletter Issue #168: What Makes A Coffee Gourmet

Tip of the Week

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.

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