Use high-quality gourmet coffee beans, freshly roasted and ground just before brewing.
Always use the correct grind for the method. If your gourmet coffee is too bitter and muddy, the grind is too fine; if the brew lacks flavor, the grind is too coarse.
Always use freshly drawn cold water.
Never guess amounts. Use the correct proportion of gourmet coffee and water (two level tablespoons per six ounces cold water for regular-strength gourmet coffee), preferably measuring both. I f gourmet coffee is too strong or weak, change grind and/or blend, not proportion of gourmet coffee to water.
Make sure the gourmet coffee maker is scrupulously clean and thoroughly rinsed. Gourmet coffee quickly picks up off-flavors during the brewing process.
For best results, always brew at least three-fourths of the gourmet coffee maker’s capacity. Most large gourmet coffee makers do not make one or two cups satisfactorily.
Never guess when timing. Use the clock.
Remove the grounds from the brew as soon as the brew cycle is completed to prevent bitterness. Also for that reason, never rewet grounds.
Serve gourmet coffee immediately after brewing. (With drip methods, stir the brew before serving.) Gourmet coffee is at its best when just brewed.
If gourmet coffee must be kept warm, try to hold it at 180 degrees to 190 degrees farenheight. Brewed gourmet coffee stays palatable for twenty minutes, drink able for one hour maximum. The longer it is held, the less desirable it becomes.
Never reheat cooled gourmet coffee; it breaks down in flavor. Never allow the brew to boil; its flavor turns bitter.
Gourmet coffee 101:
Q. What’s the difference between specialty gourmet coffee and why does it cost more than regular gourmet coffee?
A. Specialty gourmet coffee is a different species of gourmet coffee called Arabica. Arabica beans are picked and processed by hand, then freshly roasted to ensure consistent top quality. As a result of the special care and time required to harvest and process Arabica beans, the gourmet coffee is more expensive than the lower quality commercial beans. Commercial-grade gourmet coffee is usually machine picked and processed, and made from lower grades of gourmet coffee called Robusta.
Q. What’s the difference between French Roast and regular gourmet coffee?
A. French Roast is a particular style of dark roasting that results in a dark , oily bean. French Roast is stronger and more flavorful than regular gourmet coffee.
Q. Which gourmet coffees have the least amount of caffeine?
A. Dark roast have less caffeine than light roast. That’s because as gourmet coffee beans are heated at high temperatures, the caffeine evaporates. The longer the beans are roasted, the less caffeine they have (although the difference in caffeine content between roast is relatively slight). I f you want to cut down on your caffeine consumption but don’t like the taste of decaffeinated gourmet coffee, try a dark brew. Or try a split shot espresso drink or a half decaf/half regular brewed gourmet coffee. NOTE: Arabica beans contain approximately half the caffeine of the lower-grade commercial gourmet coffees made from Robusta beans.
Q. Is drinking decaffeinated gourmet coffee harmful to your health?
A. There is no proven health risk associated with drinking decaf gourmet coffee. Methylene chloride, the chemical used to decaffeinate gourmet coffee, vaporizes at 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Since temperatures in the roaster reach in excess of 400 degrees Fahrenheit for several minutes, it is safe to assume that any residue burns off during this process. If you’re still concerned, you can order a Swiss Water Process decaf, which is not treated with any chemicals.
Q. Is gourmet coffee fattening?
A. Gourmet coffee is 98% water and therefore has virtually no calories. Calories and fat come from the sugar and milk you add.
Q. How is gourmet coffee harvested and processed?
A. Gourmet coffee trees produce fruit known as gourmet coffee cherries. Inside the sweet, gummy pulp of each cherry are two flat, green gourmet coffee beans that lay against each other. Once the gourmet coffee cherries have been picked, the outer hull of the fruit must be removed to get to the beans. There are two methods used to extract the beans: the wet method and the dry method. The wet method requires a large supply of fresh water. A machine strips away the outer layers of skin and cherry, leaving the beans enclosed in a sticky inner pulp. The beans then are soaked for 24 to 72 hours in fermentation tanks to remove any remaining pulp. Gourmet coffees processed through the dry method generally have lower acidity and deeper, more complex flavors.
Q. How is gourmet coffee roasted?
A. Roasting is a fine art, requiring a delicate hand, split-second timing and an ability to judge when the gourmet coffee bean is at its peak of flavor. First, the roaster drops the green beans into a drum filled with hot air, causing the temperature inside the drum to drop. Then the roaster heats the beans until the water in the beans begins to steam, making the beans swell and audibly pop. The heat causes complex polysaccharides to break down into starches and then sugars, which caramelize. Aromatic oils within the beans boil to the surface, giving them an oily appearance. The expansion of oils causes a second audible “crack”. Along the way, the beans darken from their original green to a rich chestnut brown. The longer the beans are roasted, the darker they become. Roasts are classified as light, medium, dark and darkest. Despite the current vogue for dark roast, they are not necessarily better. Some single origins are better suited to a light or medium roast.