1. Organic eggs are one good source of protein. Research shows that chickens raised in a natural environment produces eggs that are better than those raised in captivity industry. In addition, organic eggs have a protein content with better quality than non-organic eggs. Protein can help to develop muscle tissue and burn fat.

2. Catch fish, most fish we eat today were raised in fish farms. This makes them much less nutritious. Wild caught fish contain more omega 3 fatty acids omega 6 and a bit of bad. (more…)

Ever wondered how the morning cup of coffee washes off all the lethargy of sleep and kick starts your brain to face a brand new day? Does credit for coffee’s legendary refreshing effect go to the diminutive but obvious presence of caffeine? Can we reduce the virtues of such a great beverage to a mere work of a chemical? Clearly, the flavor, smell and arrogant upshot of caffeine all contribute towards making coffee a complete experience, rather than just a beverage.

Coffee is basically prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant. The coffee beans – as the seeds are referred to – are roasted and powdered. The processing of coffee beans is a very labor intensive process. The roasting phase of processing considerably influences the final taste and odor of coffee and is thus the most significant part of the whole process. Roasting causes extremely complex chemical action that metamorphoses the insipid taste of the coffee seed to the great taste we all know and love. In some cases the coffee beans are even aged for a considerable period of time before they are roasted.

The range and variety of the experience we call coffee is considerably huge. For the stringent coffee buff that prefers an experience devoid of caffeine, decaffeinated coffee hits the mark. There are the darker roast styles that justify the word ‘black coffee’. There are even special flavored coffees in the market for people who need a twist in the tale. There is no end to the ways you can get your cup of coffee.

But, coffee is more than just a hot liquid in a cup. Its significance and influence extend in all aspects of society and culture. The coffee houses of the 16th century started off a trend of using coffee as an excuse and means of getting people to socialize. Coffee is the greatest social lubricant ever invented, capable of bringing people together to mingle, talk, debate and decide. The coffee houses of India became the axis and base camp of the workers struggle where people and propaganda celebrated the birth of a new political age. In Sweden and the Nordic countries, coffee is an important cornerstone of their culture.

In the past, coffee had a religious and spiritual significance. This appears quite natural given the experience of coffee is nothing short of divine. The early Arabs created wine from the coffee fruit which was used during religious ceremonies. In many cultures coffee naturally substituted wine when wine was prohibited.

The experienced connoisseurs of coffee indulge in coffee cupping. Coffee cupping is simply a great excuse to turn your love for coffee into a professional pursuit with all the semblances of any grave enterprise. Some professional coffee tasters are so proficient in drinking coffee they can identify the geographical origin of coffee from its taste.

Coffee is a great accompaniment for any informal meal, typically as an integral component of breakfast. In relatively more formal settings, like for instance, in a restaurant, coffee fits in perfectly during the dessert course. It’s obvious that coffee is a great accompaniment to anything from pastries, cookies, shortbread to muffins. But, if the coffee lovers of the world are to be taken seriously, coffee goes with any occasion or time no matter what.

I talk to a lot of people who are interested in becoming personal trainers. In this article, I will briefly share some thoughts on motives, attitudes and resources if you are thinking of becoming a personal trainer. I would recommend that you start by getting a legitimate certification. You can research the internet or talk to personal trainers at health clubs or private studios. As a suggestion, you could check out the International Association of Resistance Trainers, ISSA or ACE. These three certification organizations can be found on the internet and have several areas for you to consider. When considering a legitimate certification program, check out personal training / liability insurance.

Be sure that the certificate you earn will have clear guidelines on how to purchase insurance once you actually start to train clients. There are many fitness certifications that are not recognized by any insurance companies, stay away from these. If you choose to train without insurance, you are taking a big risk. Depending on the physical location of where you will train your clients (club, private training studio, corporate fitness center) you will need to check with their individual requirements regarding acceptable certifications and insurance policies.

After you have done your research on the above issues, if you are still interested, get started today! Whether you remain interested (out of the people who go into fitness training, many more drop out than stick with it) you can always use the information to further your own personal fitness programming. I believe that your initial training / certification will never be a waste. You will want to check out other certification programs later (may be required based on place of employment) in order to get plenty of exposure to all the different training methodologies.

Try to stay grounded – many programs are not that reality based. With any training information, ask yourself the question: How will I use this for my own, as well as my clients, fitness program? I have many doctors, other trainers and people with sports / human performance degrees who hire me to help with training issues. The rubber hits the road when you have a client who is depending on you to give them a cardio, strength training, eating, supplementation, injury recovery and / or flexibility program complete with personalized scheduling. You do not need to have all the answers but try to establish your own process for giving them the answers or effective referrals for what they need.

Not knowing what your previous experience is regarding working with people in general, I would suggest that you assess what your tolerance is for complainers and whiners as there are so many issues for so many people that you will need to address at some level (as a fitness professional). If you want to be a good trainer, you need to commit to the total client. I think too many trainers end up wanting to legitimize their own training priorities and believe that by becoming a personal trainer / fitness professional, they can focus all their time on themselves (not an acceptable mindset). They should stay out of personal training if they are not ready to commit to their clients. Do not fall prey to canned programs or using a cookie cutter approach for everyone you will train.

I come from a human service background (double major in Social Work / Criminal Justice) and worked my way up to manager in a juvenile diversion program over a period of 10 years before getting into personal training. BUT, in the first three years of being a personal trainer, I placed in three international personal trainer contests. These were great experiences but in all three instances, success was based on the commitment to the client more than caring about winning any contests.

The premise is simple. Take a chef, put him or her into the kitchen and watch them prepare their signature dishes. You might think that this would be boring after a bit but the public has proven this wrong.

Food cooking shows are the “in” thing right now. We love the idea of making food and combine it with reality television and suddenly we come back week after week to see what happens next.

Fox Network has uncovered a phenomenon with the cursing antics of Chef Gordon Ramsey. We cringe at his explosive attitude yet are somehow sympathetic at his attempts to turn would-be chefs into professionals.

We might not want to put ourselves on the line of fire but we love watching other contestants wither under his furious stare and tirades. Our kitchens may not be stocked with fois gras but we still take something away from each episode.

Food Network has a reality show titled “Who Wants to Be the Next Food Network Star” where amateur and professional cooks alike are given tasks to perform that somehow weed out the would-be television chefs from the rest.

We root for our favorite contestants as the season progresses until only one contestant remains. He or she is then given a food cooking show of their very own.

What is the fascination with meal preparation shows? Perhaps it is the ease at which dishes are prepared. It might be the professional cookware and charming personality of the hosts.

Some of the most popular meal preparation show hosts is not formally educated at cooking schools. Thus they give us hope that anyone can prepare delectable dishes from the comfort of their own home.

Whatever the reason behind our fascination, these shows has become an integral part of television viewing. As great chefs from the past such as Julia Child pass on, a new generation of friendly, knowledgeable faces comes to the forefront of culinary society.

Perhaps it is the grand showmanship of Emeril LaGasse yelling out “BAM” or Rachel Ray’s cute acronyms such as EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil); we are drawn to our television sets and the expanding culinary world.

As other television networks air cooking shows, especially ones where competition and cut throat antics by the participants are involved, we will continue to avidly watch food cooking shows.

Mangoes are seasonal fruits that are in great demand by many people. However, many of those who do not know how to pick a good mango. Below are some tips that you can use to choose a good mango

You do not need to be confused in choosing a mango if you follow these tips properly. By careful selection, you will get a mango fruit with thick flesh and sweet.

The first thing you should know is not to be measured mango fruit ripeness based on skin color. With a number of variants of mango, the color of his skin was different and could not be used as a benchmark to determine the maturity.

Skin color is reddish, yellowish and green is a common color variants possessed by many mangoes. If you just pick mangoes based on skin color, you will not necessarily get a ripe mango and sweet.

· If you want to buy a mango, you have to choose well. You must hold a waste of mango and squeeze gently.
If the mango is too soft, the fruit is too ripe mark. If the mango is too loud, it means that the waste is not yet mature.

· The next tips are you with the smell of mangoes. Bring your nose to the mango so that you can smell the aroma of the fruit.
Certainly ripe mango tersium fragrant aroma. Conversely, if the fragrant aroma of the fruit yet, most likely not yet ripe mango fruit.

· Last is you should avoid mangoes that are too soft. If there are a lot of fruit skin spots or bruises, you should not buy the mango fruit because fruit is not good condition.
Those are some tips that you can apply if you want to buy mangoes. Hopefully these tips can help you to enjoy the sweet mango and rich nutrition.

Garlic is one of the spices used to add flavor in savory dishes. However, savory flavor of garlic can leave the dreadful smell in the mouth if it is too much to eat it. In addition to the mouth, the smell of garlic will also stick in hand if you cut it with bare hands.

If not cleaned properly, the smell of garlic will stick long in the hand or your breath. To remove the smell of garlic, the follow way:

1. Garlic breath odor
Garlic odor on your breath can smell relieved by drinking milk, eating raw parsley or celery. Fatty drinks and foods that contain lots of water will help remove the smell of volatile compounds (volatile compounds) contained in garlic.

2. Hands smell onions
To remove the smell of garlic from your hands, rub hands garlicky smell with lemon slices, salt, or baking soda. In addition, you can also remove the smell of garlic using a variety of objects made of stainless steel, such as your kitchen faucet. Molecules are considered potent block of steel substance that can produce odors at hand. After being rubbed with a metal object, rinse your hands with water until clean.

Seattle; the home of Boeing, software giants, grunge music and…specialty coffee. Well, not quite. Contrary to popular belief, while Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Boeing and Oracle do indeed hail from the Pacific Northwest, modern specialty coffee has its roots much further south.

When Alfred Peet died in his sleep a few weeks ago he was a sprightly 87. He passed away peacefully hopefully dreaming of coffee trees laden with ripened cherries. While most people have never heard of him, Peet is widely recognised as being the father of modern “specialty coffee” in the industry. He was a Dutchman who became an American. He had traded tea for Lipton’s in Java, lived in Sumatra, worked in the business in New Zealand before, finally, settling down (somewhat) in the University suburb of Berkeley, California. It was at Berkeley where he founded his roastery in 1966 and Peet’s Coffee was born. Alfred Peet was passionate about coffee. His roasting exploits legendary and his ability to commentate, roast and put out fires simultaneously are famous. His experiences while living in Indonesia had given him an affinity with farmers who grew coffee, as well as a thorough understanding of the origin, the place where coffee was grown. This background, combined with his love of roasting, resulted in a place where coffee was not just a cup of Java, but something exotic, living and with a story.

From Alfred Peet’s inspirational example came many of the coffee cultures that now are household names today in America and around the world- Starbucks being the most famous of these of course. The original founders of Starbucks- Baldwin, Bowker and Ziv Seigel originally leant their roasting trade from Peet, in fact Peet roasted for them in their early years. Many others in the industry in America today also passed through the Peet’s Coffee experience. In fact when Howard Schulz purchased Starbucks, Bowker and Baldwin moved across and purchased Peets Coffee- Alfred Peet retiring to a role of Coffee Mentor for the Industry as a whole.

Today most coffee drinkers, from Surabaya to San Francisco, recognise Starbucks and its logo, but the name “Alfred Peet” often draws draws blank looks.

Specialty Coffee today is at a crossroad- an important junction in deciding which direction coffee will be heading over the next decade. In the last 10 years many new comers have entered the business. It is estimated that the global coffee sector today is valued at over US$80 billion. It is no wonder that with these revenue numbers, the industry attracts a mix of business people with mixed agendas- who often see the potential bottom line rather than education and passion as being the driving force in what they do. Traditionally the specialty coffee industry has been built on the strong foundation of sharing knowledge and experience- with the supposition that by helping each other the industry will be strongly quality focused. However a number of the more recent arrivals in the market are perhaps choosing coffee for the perceived easy profits, rather than for a real passion for coffee or its heritage. As a result many of the traditional methods of exchange are not as effective, or used as frequently as they have been in the past.

Globally Coffee is in a position where consumption is beginning to slow down and opportunities to grow coffee are becoming more difficult to find in the traditional coffee consuming markets- Europe, USA, South America and Oceania. The easy answer if to look at new emerging markets- China, India, Pakistan and Indonesia are prime targets. These countries either have low coffee consumption (Indonesian’s, for instance, consume 500gm per person per year vs. Norway’s 12kg per person per year), or have reasonable consumption, but historically are tea consumers (India). The new markets are also very suggestible to western branding- in many cases the strength of branding has been shown to be more important than the product itself. This presents a number of opportunities to strong western brands and of course new local brands to emerge. However it does not necessarily equate to long-term longevity of specialty coffee in these new frontiers.

In the more mature markets, the patterns of consumption have changed markedly over the last 15-20 years. The traditional, lower quality coffee products such as instants, are being replaced by roast and ground coffee (drips, plungers etc) and of course Espresso Based Drinks (cappuccino, latte, espresso etc). Fresh roasted coffee has many advantages over the instant coffee. It is more flavoursome and more importantly has a greater link back to where it originally came from. This means that customer awareness is also on the increase- bringing into the spotlight the actual paper trail of where the coffee comes from, who picked it, what price the grower get from it etc. To consumers in countries such as New Zealand this is very important- as generally there is a linkage between quality of coffee and the return the farmer or grower gets. The correlation is the better the return to a farmers, the better the coffee will be. Higher returns means more time can be spent in the origin country looking after the crop, pruning, selective harvesting, proper intensive drying and packing/storing the coffee once it is dried.

The role the specialty coffee industry plays in all this is very important. Retail shops that source and supply only the best coffee help to sustain the industry both upstream and downstream. This means the farmers and workers will be rewarded and the consumers will have access to quality coffee, hopefully growing the business further.

Unfortunately the reverse is gradually becoming more often the norm. Cafes, coffee shops and roasters entering the market all over the world tend to look for short-term cost advantages to try and fuel their business models. To achieve this they either buy poor quality coffee, as cheap as possible or average quality coffee…likewise as cheaply as possible. Cheap coffee equates to, at the best, very average finished product. This in turn means generally a poor perception of the place selling the coffee. This would perhaps be OK if there were not so many cafes now selling poor quality coffee. As it is it means that poor quality coffee is often accepted a being the norm- hence having the result of putting people off drinking coffee.

In many ways the industry can be seen as having come almost full circle back to where it was in the early 1970’s when instant coffee and coffee sitting on hotplates for 10 hours were seen and accepted as being normal coffee. This is what pioneers like Peet worked so hard to change. It is also why the crossroads the industry now stands at are so important.

The choices are really quite simple. For coffee to evolve and grow further there needs to be education of the retailer and the customer. The global industry is built around national organisations that play a varying role in providing advice and education to those in retail or wholesale. The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and the SCAE (Specialty Coffee Association of Europe) are two such organisations. However to become members of these organisations is as simple as filling out a form and paying a fee. Often the motivation of the people joining is just to get a sticker to put on their shop door, knowledge is a secondary motivator. There is talk that membership should involve some form of basic enter test and then continuing education via the internet- which would at least help to provide tools to pass information on to those drinking the coffee.

Looking at those in the industry who do things well, is also a great way of building and planning the future for specialty coffee. In the USA quality roasters and café operators such as Allegro, Blackstump Coffee and Intelligensia have taken industry standards to a new level. Buying quality coffee, hiring quality staff and imparting quality knowledge to customers buying their morning coffee has proven very successful for these companies. So much so that it is an unquestionable part of their corporate culture. All of these companies also practice something unique- they regularly visit their growers in countries such as Indonesia, Guatemala, Kenya, Brazil and Colombia. To take this one step further, they do not just visit and spend a few nights- taking photos of a grower’s coffee trees, they maintain regular contact with those growing the coffee. This approach must be seen as the future for coffee in competitive, quality driven markets. It is true relationship coffee where the roaster becomes by default part of the farmers extended family.

Passing knowledge on to those who buy a coffee everyday, and arming them with information on what type of coffee they drink, how it is grown, who grows it, when it is picked, how it gets to them gives all power to the customer. It is a very important, yet lagging piece of the future of coffee globally. Being able to learn the differences in tastes/cupping qualities has some snob quality, but more importantly it helps the buyer to differentiate between good, average and poor coffee. Here lies the problem. A successful café founded on the principles of sustainability and true coffee culture has nothing to fear from education. A café selling poor quality coffee is unlikely, or perhaps unable, to want to educate clients about quality.

A failure to address quality, education and sustainability in the business sector (from the farmer to the retail customer) will ultimately result in consumption patterns falling further. Quality issues- especially over the counter and in the cup, need to be addressed. If not unfortunately those to suffer will be the grower or origin country, rather than the retailer. With current economics a grower in Indonesia receives only around 2-5% of the cost of the average cup sold in America or Europe. If demand drops off, the Arabica business ultimately will fall back into a cycle of commodity pricing rather than specialty pricing that many quality origins now enjoy. Competition from other beverages, and lifestyle choices, compete with the disposable income that coffee comes from.

If Alfred Peet was still alive, undoubtedly he would just carry on doing what he did well and loved, roasting coffee and sharing his knowledge and experience with anyone willing, and wanting to learn and listen- a model to all of us in the industry today.

© Alun H.G Evans, Merdeka Coffee, 2007. The writer reserves all moral rights to this article. May only be reproduced.

HOW about a cafezinho, freshly made and piping hot? For some, this custom is on the wane, but Brazilians still enjoy the fame of drinking coffee from early morning till late at night. Inflated cost of coffee has not caused a hurried switch to other drinks. In fact, one third of the world’s population still are coffee drinkers. For instance, every year the Belgians drink 149 liters (39 gallons) of coffee, compared with only six liters (1.6 gallons) of tea. The average American drinks 10 cups of coffee to one of tea. In the Western world, only the British break the general rule by annually consuming six liters of coffee to 261 (69 gallons) of tea.

Brazil holds the title as the world’s largest producer and exporter of coffee. In the first four months of 1977, receipts for exports of this “brown gold” reached the staggering total of $1,000,000,000 for 4.5 million bags, an all-time record.

However, coffee is not at all native to Brazil. Would you like to know how the use of this almost universal drink developed, where it originated, and how it got to Brazil?

Origin and Use

The word “coffee” is derived from the Arabic qahwah, meaning strength, and came to us through the Turkish kahveh. Coffee’s early discovery is shrouded in legend. One story tells about Kaldi, a young Arabian goatherd who noticed his goats’ frolicsome antics after nibbling on the berries and leaves of a certain evergreen shrub. Moved by curiosity, he tried the mysterious little berries himself and was amazed at their exhilarating effect. Word spread and “coffee” was born.

Originally, coffee served as a solid food, then as a wine, later as a medicine and, last, as a common drink. As a medicine, it was and still is prescribed for the treatment of migraine headache, heart disease, chronic asthma and dropsy. (Immoderate use, however, may form excessive gastric acid, cause nervousness and speed up the heartbeat. The common “heartburn” is attributed to this.) As a food, the whole berries were crushed, fat was added and the mixture was put into round forms. Even today some African tribes “eat” coffee. Later on, the coffee berries yielded a kind of wine. Others made a drink by pouring boiling water over the dried shells. Still later, the seeds were dried and roasted, mixed with the shells and made into a beverage. Finally, someone ground the beans in a mortar, the forerunner of coffee grinders.

Coffee in Brazil

Although coffee probably originated in Ethiopia, the Arabs were first to cultivate it, in the fifteenth century. But their monopoly was short-lived. In 1610, the first coffee trees were planted in India. The Dutch began to study its cultivation in 1614. During 1720, French naval officer Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu left Paris for the Antilles, carrying with him some coffee seedlings. Only one survived and was taken to Martinique. From Dutch Guiana coffee spread through the Antilles to French Guiana, and from there Brazilian army officer Francisco de Melo Palheta introduced it to Brazil by way of Belém, doing so about 1727. During the early nineteenth century, coffee cultivation started in Campinas and other cities of São Paulo State, and soon reached other states, especially Paraná.

Nowadays, coffee plantations are planned with technical rigidity. Instead of sowing seeds in the field, seedlings are cultivated in shaded nurseries. About 40 days after planting, the coffee grain germinates. Its unmistakable appearance gave it the name “match stick.” After a year of careful treatment in the nursery, the seedlings are replanted outside.

Usually on hillsides, the seedlings are placed in curved rows to make mechanized field work easier and to prevent soil erosion. Four years after planting, the trees are ready for the first harvest. All the while, irrigation boosts growth and output up to 100 percent.

On the other hand, the coffee grower’s headache is his never-ending fight against insects and plant diseases, such as leaf rust and the coffee-bean borer. Rust is a fungus that attacks the leaves and may kill the tree. The coffee-bean borer is a worm that ruins the beans by eating small holes into them. Of course, there are effective fungicides and insecticides, but their constant use increases production cost.

Preparation of the Coffee Beans

On the plantation, coffee may be prepared by either a “wash” or a “dry” process. It is admitted that the wash process yields a fine quality product, since only ripe coffee berries are selected. But because of less work and lower cost, Brazilian coffee usually goes through the “dry” process.

First, all the berries, from green to dry, are shaken off the bush onto large canvas sheets. Then they are winnowed with special sieves. Next, the berries are rinsed in water canals next to the drying patios, in order to separate the ripe from the unripe and to eliminate impurities. Afterward, they are spread out in layers for drying in the open air and sun. They are turned over frequently so as to allow even drying. Eventually, the dry berries are stored in wood-lined deposits until further use.

The drying process, by the way, is of utmost importance to the final quality of the coffee. Some plantations, therefore, use wood-fired driers for more rapid drying, especially in rainy weather.

In other Latin-American countries and elsewhere, the “wash” process is customary, although it is more time-consuming and costly. First, a pulping machine squeezes the beans out of the skin. They fall into large tanks where they stay for about 24 hours, subject to light fermentation of the “honey,” as the surrounding jellylike substance is called. After fermentation, the “honey” is washed off in washing canals. Next, the coffee is laid out to dry in the sun, as in the “dry” process. Some growers make use of drying machines, perforated revolving drums, in which hot air circulates through the coffee. Finally, the coffee beans pass through hulling and polishing machines. And just as the best quality coffees are hand-picked, so the inspection of the berries after washing is done by hand.

Soon the last step is taken–packing the coffee in jute bags for shipment. The 60-kilogram (132-pound) bag, adopted by Brazil, is held world wide as the statistical unit. Bags are stacked in clean, well-aired warehouses. At last, the coffee is ready for sale.

Classification, Commercialization and Cost

The Instituto Brasileiro do Café (IBC: Brazilian Coffee Institute) supplies technical and economic aid to Brazilian coffee growers and controls the home and export trade. For classification, coffee is judged by its taste and aroma. No chemical test for quality has ever been possible. The senses of smell and taste are still the deciding factors. According to its source, preparation and drying, it is classified as strictly soft, soft (pleasant taste and mild), hard (acid or sharp taste) and rio (very hard type preferred in Rio de Janeiro). Other types are less important to the trade.

For the last 20 years coffee has brought about 50 percent of Brazil’s export receipts. Some 15,500,000 persons are employed in its cultivation and trade. But Camilo Calazans de Magalhães, president of the IBC, warned that 1978 will present an unheard-of situation in the history of the coffee trade. For the first time ever, it will depend entirely on the harvest, as any stocks of Brazilian coffee outside Brazil will be exhausted by then. Additionally, the IBC fears that the specter of problems with frost, insects and diseases may unleash new losses in the 1977/78 and 1978/79 harvests.

Very recently, a series of misfortunes befell some of the world’s large coffee producers, causing scarcity of the product, price increases–and a lot of speculation. It all began in July 1975. Brazil was hit by an exceptional cold spell, which destroyed almost half the plantations, or 200 to 300 million coffee trees. Next, in Colombia, a drought, followed by torrential rains, devastated their plantations. In Angola and Uganda, political unrest affected exports. And then an earthquake struck Guatemala.

 

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.

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!

Coffee or the word cafe is all you would like to hear after a long work or right after you wake up. This is the most widely drunk beverage in the world. Coffee ingestion on an average is about a third of that of tap water in North America and Europe . While drinking coffee outside is usually expensive and preferred mostly during conversations or meetings, deals etc., many of us would prefer to make coffee ourselves at home and drink it in the company of our family members or drink it ourselves. Over the years, this art of brewing coffee has been mastered and we can make the best brewed coffee ourselves, but this has been taken over by our need to automate the coffee brewing art so that our work is made easier. Here, you will be taken through the three types of coffee makers in the world and figure out which is the best for you.

Santos Vacuum Coffee Maker , designed by Swedish designer Kass Kleeson:

First we will look at the vacuum coffee maker which is hailed by anyone who has tried it as the best coffee maker of all times. It uses a process that cooks coffee with an extremely strong flavor. The flavor and strength is usually based on how much coffee you use to make it. Today, a lot of coffee makers destroy the flavor by not mixing the components properly, or by not brewing at the right temperature or maybe not brewing for the right amount of time too.

A vacuum coffee maker is made up of two units. The lower and upper pots which are both made of glass. The upper pot is placed directly on top of the lower pot, and both the pots sealed together with the help of a stopper. A tube is attached to the upper pot which runs down to the lower pot as well. A filter is also attached to the upper pot to filter the coffee while it flows down to the lower pot.

Ground coffee, usually of coarse texture, is added to the upper pot. This depends upon how much your taste buds want. Usually, for a strong coffee, 1 tablespoon per cup of coffee will suffice. Then the lower pot is filled with the required amount of water and placed over a heating element or fire. After reaching boiling point, the upper pot is placed on top of the lower pot and the decreased pressure in the lower pot will cause the water to push up itself through the pipe into the upper pot. Here, the coffee is brewed in hot water and after a few minutes (depending upon the strength of coffee you want) the whole apparatus is removed from the heating element. If you are a beginner at using this type of coffee machine, it pays to experiment and figure out the right time duration that produces the coffee of your choice. As the water cools down, a vacuum is built up in the lower pot and coffee is sucked down. The upper pot is removed and the coffee collected in the lower pot is poured into the cups and enjoyed. The greatest benefit of using this coffee machine is that the temperature is perfect and this does not destroy the oils and flavor of coffee which is often the case in other coffee makers. Though this process requires little manual effort to place the apparatus on the heating element and taking it out of the heating element, this manual effort is affordable once you start drinking coffee made by this procedure.

Stove Top Coffee Maker :

This is made up of aluminium or stainless steel. The bottom of the pot contains a reservoir of water and the top has a round basket with a stem reaching to the end of the pot. First, water is filled and the basket of coffee is then added. The pot is heated and as the water boils, it comes in contact with the coffee and the coffee is brewed. The basket must be removed to filter out the coffee beans. Latest types include espresso pots which use steam and water to brew the coffee. This is reported to brew better coffee, but taste buds vary from person to person. Steam is used to produce latte or foam milk for cappuccinos.

Nowadays, we have stove top pots which function similar to the French press which presses the coffee beans to the bottom of the pot to produce a darker and much richer cup of coffee. However, this type of machine requires constant watching as there is possibility of burning the coffee beans in the absence of careful observation.

Drip Coffee Maker:

Almost all the drip filter coffee makers work the same way. They contain a paper or a plastic filter which holds the finely ground coffee. Cold water is poured through a tube from a reservoir and heated before falling over the coffee powder. This brews and extracts the oils and flavor of the coffee into the waiting carafe. This is a simple and reliable method compared to many other models available in the market.

Many companies use these three models with other additional features such as the strength of coffee, sugar adding facility, coffee with milk, number of cups etc. It is up to you to choose the best coffee maker according to the budget and the one which is most appropriate to your convenience. You would not choose the one which adds sugar automatically for an extra price as we can do that for ourselves, unless you are the one who does not know how to spend your money. The bottom line is that the machine must brew coffee at the right temperature for the right time using the right amount of water.