What is gourmet coffee?
Gourmet is a relatively general term that refers to a fancier or higher quality of food and beverage. Gourmet food and drink is often associated with rich and powerful people or those of us who just want to feel that way. Even a drink as common as coffee has not escaped the reaches of the gourmet craze.
However, gourmet coffee has made its way out of the homes of the upper class and is now widely available and very affordable to almost anyone. As such, it is for sale in a variety of different settings such as grocery stores and supermarkets as well as coffee shops and cafes.
Quick recap where coffee comes from
Coffee, as you well may know, is made from coffee beans that grow within the Coffea plant. The beans are found within the berries of this evergreen bush like plant. After the berries ripen, they are harvested and then go through the extensive process of drying.
The process then continues to roast the beans to a variety of different degrees depending on the desired taste. The roasting actually changes the bean physically and the amount of roasting has a huge affect on the taste that they produce. These beans are then either packaged as is or are ground to a variety of consistencies before being packaged and shipped off all around the world to reach consumers.
Different coffee plants
There are several different species of the Coffea plant – but the two most commonly grown species are the Robusta (also know as Canephora) and Arabica plants. Gourmet coffee, as opposed to more common types of coffee, is made from the top tier coffee beans pulled from the Arabica Coffea plant.
So, is Arabica beans then gourmet?
Well, gourmet coffee is subjective, anything can be gourmet, but technically speaking, it should be 100% Arabica beans, since they do tend to yield better beans.
These beans are usually grown at a very high altitude of at least 3000 feet which creates ideal climate and soil conditions for a great taste.
Because of the way that they are grown, these beans have a full flavor and are much more aromatic than other varieties of beans such as those made from the Robusta Coffea plant. They also contain less caffeine, which is often considered a point of quality. Even though all coffee beans derived from Arabica are considered higher quality than most, only these top tier beans are used to make ‘gourmet’ coffee. The result is a rich flavor with more finely tuned oils and aromas than anything that you can get from other types of beans.
Back to defining gourmet coffee
Sealing in the flavor of the coffee bean is incredibly important, so gourmet coffee is sealed in an airtight container as soon as it is done roasting. After sealing, the beans will be kept in a cool area to avoid any loss of flavor.
Unfortunately, the containers that gourmet coffee beans are stored in are usually less than ideal for long-term storage so anytime that you purchase these higher end beans, you should definitely consider transferring them into an appropriate storage container so they can last for a longer time. An appropriate container would be one made of glass or thick plastic that can be sealed off from all outside air.
After you have your gourmet coffee beans, you can prepare your drink in a number of different ways. Even though most of us use automatic coffee machines or percolators, many coffee experts recommend preparing gourmet coffee through a French Press. A French Press is one of the best ways to extract the most flavor from each and every bit of coffee ground.
The ability to brew gourmet coffee in the comfort of your own home is an affordable luxury. In years past, these coffee beans were only available to those with wealth and power. However, these days just about anyone is able to afford the highest end Arabica beans which will result in a great tasting cup of coffee every time.