When One Loves Cappucino

There is a type of coffee, called Fair Trade coffee, that is produced a little differently than other types of coffee. By “produced differently”, we do not mean that the beans used are inferior, or that the coffee produced will be different. The purpose of Fair Trade coffee is to protect coffee workers, and any coffee grower or producer in this organization agrees to make sure that the people who harvest and sort coffee products are treated fairly.

In the United States, we consume a great deal of coffee. Most people can’t imagine starting their day or finishing a meal without a cup of coffee. But we never give a thought to how coffee beans are produced, harvested and shipped. We just drink it and take all of that for granted. But maybe we should think about fair treatment for coffee workers.

In many areas of the world, coffee workers are treated unfairly. Large plantations hire laborers at paltry wages and then expect them to work long, backbreaking hours in the sun.  Plantations that are part of Fair Trade Coffee have agreed to respect coffee workers’ rights.  They agree to meet certain minimum standards for working conditions and worker compensation.

The organization behind Fair Trade Coffee tries to educate the coffee consumer so that he will be encouraged to buy products that are not being produced by exploited laborers. Fair Trade Coffee encourages consumers not to buy products they do not certify, and they will not certify a product if it comes from a producer who has unfair conditions.

The concept is that American coffee drinkers will not want to support a company that mistreats its workers, any more than the American consumer wants to buy clothing that is produced in sweatshops. Excellent products for your coffee, your cappuccino or your espresso are available from producers who treat their workers fairly.

As a matter of fact, some people have referred to exploitative plantations as “sweatshops in the fields”. And even the small farmer who sells his coffee bean to big exporters is treated unfairly since he gets very little pay for the coffee, even when rates are high. This leads to poverty and destitution in the countryside.

If you believe that it is wrong to support organizations that do not treat their workers fairly, it is time for you to start paying attention to Fair Trade Coffee labels. You can find very good quality coffee that is endorsed by this organization.

You can go to the Fair Trade Coffee website, and you will find a list of producers who are part of their agreement and have been certified to be fair to their workers. Dean’s Bean brand is just one example of how you can enjoy your cup of morning mocha while you make sure that the people who worked so hard to bring it to you are not being treated unfairly.



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Buy Kopi Luwak Coffee For A Taste Of Something Special

One of the rarest treats in the world, Kopi Luwak coffee is hard to come by in many places. This is because of the rarity and unique quality of the coffee bean. The method that results in the delicious Kopi Luwak coffee is natural and takes more time and effort than that of regular coffee. The rich, smooth flavor of Kopi Lowak comes from a caring and delicate process that begins with the beautiful, tropical climate of Indonesia and ends with the packaging process before it’s shipped to other locations.

Kopi Lowak coffee is so expensive because it is grown and gathered with pride and care toward a truly quality result. The natural environment of the Indonesian islands results in a long growing cycle and a well-nourished coffee plant. When the fruit of the plant ripens into bright red berries the civet comes to take on his part of the process. Choosing only the ripest and best tasting Kopi Lowak berries the animal eats them. As the bean passes through his digestive system the harsh proteins that we detect as a bitter taste are removed and the bean is passed through his system.

Once this process is complete, the Kopi Luwak beans are gathered and thoroughly cleansed before being dried in the sun. This process takes a great deal of care and you should know that when you buy Kopi Lowak coffee, this is the quality you get along with the natural rarity of the bean itself. If you buy Kopi Lowak coffee you/re buying a truly rare and precious treat for yourself. Kopi Lowak is like no other coffee in the world, not only because of its unique story but because of the people who put great care into its making and production.

You can buy Kopi Lowak for $50 a cup; a larger sum than many other coffees certainly but it is well worth the cost. The rich, smooth taste of the coffee is said to have other notes that are unique to the coffee itself like chocolate and a mild earthy tone not unlike that of syrup. Each sip is its own special reward when you’ve chosen to buy Kopi Luwak coffee. The story of how it is made and the flavor the bean are the stuff of urban legends in many areas of the western world. Kopa Lowak has more than earned its good reputation.

If you want a pleasant, smooth coffee that truly satisfies the desire for something different and truly wonderful then Kopi Lowak is well worth the purchase. When you buy Kopi Lowak coffee you are stepping beyond the taboo and into one of the best experiences you’re likely to find as a coffee drinker. Indonesia produces some of the most wonderful coffees the world has to offer and it’s no coincidence. Coffee has become as rooted in the traditions and history of their culture as the many faiths and cultures of their 17,500 island nation. Kopi Lowak is a fine and delicious part of that tradition.



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Finding the “best of the Best" in Coffee

Tips for Finding Perfect Premium Coffee…



There is coffee and THERE IS COFFEE! You likely know about the generic quality coffees you find at the supermarket, using the inferior Robusta beans. And, in contrast, there is the alternative: the coffee regularly termed Gourmet Coffee you buy direct from roasters around the country. Popular large volume roasters, like Starbucks as well as most of the the smaller roasters dispersed about town, essentially utilize this far better grade, high altitude, shade grown Arabica bean.



That being said, and broadly known by all nowadays, how can you siphon out the crème de la crème of gourmet coffee beans to purchase?



To begin with, let’s hone in specifically on taste. Nowadays, coffee has become a “drink of experts”…



evolved into an art of reflection! We’ve begun to savor our coffee…flavor identify and define the subtle hints and nuances, as well as the qualities that identify the bean’s continent of origin. You as a coffee drinker, can begin to explore and experience the undertones of your coffee’s region, but better yet, begin to revel in the independently specific flavors of the bean defined by the specific hill and farm where it’s grown.



Coffee Cupping: Defining Coffee by its “Underlying Flavors”



There are, nowadays, a limited number of coffee roasters that independently test their coffee beans for taste observations and aromas. These beans are graded and assessed just like fine wine. This activity is called Coffee Cupping or Coffee Tasting. Professionals known as Master Tasters are the assessors. The procedure involves deeply sniffing a cup of brewed coffee, then loudly slurping the coffee so it draws in air, spreads to the back of the tongue, and maximizes flavor.



These Master Tasters, much akin to wine tasters, then attempt to measure in detail, every aspect of the coffee’s taste. This assessment includes measurement of the body (the texture or mouth-feel, such as oiliness), acidity (a sharp and tangy feeling, like when biting into an orange), and balance (the innuendo and the harmony of flavors working together). Since coffee beans embody telltale flavors from their region or continent of their origin, cuppers may also attempt to predict where the coffee was grown.



There is an infinite range of vocabulary that is used to describe the tastes found in coffee. Descriptors range from the familiar (chocolaty, sweet, fruity, woody) to the conceptual (clean, vibrant, sturdy) to the wildly esoteric (summery, racy, gentlemanly).



Following are a few key characteristics as defined by Coffee Geek. (http://coffeegeek.com/guides/beginnercupping/tastenotes)



Key Characteristics



Acidity:



The brightness or sharpness of coffee: It is through the acidity that many of the most intriguing fruit and floral flavors are delivered, and is usually the most scrutinized characteristic of the coffee. Acidity can be intense or mild, round or edgy, elegant or wild, and everything in between. Usually the acidity is best evaluated once the coffee has cooled slightly to a warm/lukewarm temperature. Tasting a coffee from Sumatra next to one from Kenya is a good way to begin to understand acidity.



Body:



This is sometimes referred to as “mouthfeel”. The body is the sense of weight or heaviness that the coffee exerts in the mouth, and can be very difficult for beginning cuppers to identify. It is useful to think about the viscosity or thickness of the coffee, and concentrate on degree to which the coffee has a physical presence. Cupping a Sulawesi versus a Mexican coffee can illustrate the range of body quite clearly.



Sweetness:



One of the most important elements in coffee, sweetness often separates the great from the good. Even the most intensely acidic coffees are lush and refreshing when there is enough sweetness to provide balance and ease the finish. Think of lemonade…starting with just water and lemon juice, one can add sugar until the level of sweetness achieves harmony with the tart citric flavor. It is the same with coffee, the sweetness is critical to allowing the other tastes to flourish and be appreciated.



Finish:



While first impressions are powerful, it is often the last impression that has the most impact. With coffee the finish (or aftertaste) is of great importance to the overall quality of the tasting experience, as it will linger long after the coffee has been swallowed. Like a great story, a great cup of coffee needs a purposeful resolution. The ideal finish to me is one that is clean (free of distraction), sweet, and refreshing with enough endurance to carry the flavor for 10-15 seconds after swallowing. A champion finish will affirm with great clarity the principal flavor of the coffee, holding it aloft with grace and confidence like a singer carries the final note of a song and then trailing off into a serene silence.



Coffee Buying Caveat



Buying coffee simply by name instead of by taste from your favorite roaster (in other words buying the same Columbian Supreme from the same ”Joe’s Cuppa Joe Roaster”) definitely has its pitfall! According to Coffee Review, “Next year’s Clever-Name-Coffee Company’s house blend may be radically different from this year’s blend, despite bearing the same name and label. The particularly skillful coffee buyer or roaster who helped create the coffee you and I liked so much may have gotten hired elsewhere. Rain may have spoiled the crop of a key coffee in the blend. The exporter or importer of that key coffee may have gone out of business or gotten careless. And even if everyone (plus the weather) did exactly the same thing they (and it) did the year before, the retailer this time around may have spoiled everything by letting the coffee go stale before you got to it. Or you may have messed things up this year by keeping the coffee around too long, brewing it carelessly, or allowing a friend to pour hazelnut syrup into it.”



Your savvy coffee-buying alternative is to look for roasters who buy their beans in Micro-Lots- smaller (sometimes tiny) lots of subtly distinctive specialty coffees. According to Coffee Review, “These coffee buyers buy small quantities of coffee from a single crop and single place, often a single hillside, and are sold not on the basis of consistency or brand, but as an opportunity to experience the flavor associated with a unique moment in time and space and the dedication of a single farmer or group of farmers.”



Coffee Review: Coffee Ratings



And finally, look out for the very small community coffee roasters that will submit their coffees to be 3rd-party evaluated by Coffee Review and other competitions for independent analysis and rating. Coffee Review regularly conducts blind, expert cuppings of coffees and then reports the findings in the form of 100-point reviews to coffee buyers. These valuable Overall Ratings can provide you with a summary assessment of the reviewed coffees. They are based on a scale of 50 to 100.



http://www.coffeereview.com/about_us.cfm



Bottom line for a certain premium purchase: To find the coffee that will ascertain most flavor satisfaction, seek out beans that been independently reviewed and rated. This approach will, without a doubt offer you the advantage of being able to choose the flavor profile suits you best in a bean. What’s more, it gains you certainty in quality due to its superior rating. The higher the rating, the better the flavor. True premium coffees start from the upper 80’s. By finding a roaster that consistently rates within the 90’s will ultimately buy you the best java for your buck!



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