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Gourmet Coffee

About.com defines "gourmet as" “…of the highest quality and flavor, prepared well and presented in an artful manner”. Gourmet coffee is usually one of two classes, it is either a coffee that has had enhancements such as flavorings or it is a coffee that has an inherent uniqueness due to its growing location and roasting process.

Flavored gourmet coffees are created during the roasting process. Flavorings, either natural such as vanilla and chocolate syrups or chemically created flavorings such as caramel are added to the coffee beans as they are roasted.

Gourmet coffees that have flavor enhancements have soared in popularity. A trip down the local coffee aisle at your grocer reveals coffee beans available in just about every flavor imaginable, from French vanilla to chocolate mint and Irish crème. Coffee connoisseurs can now wake up to more than just the aroma of coffee now they can have crème brulee coffee to tantalize their senses.

The original intent of the term gourmet coffee referred to coffee beans that were of the highest possible quality and that were roasted to perfection. These are the coffee beans of Kona, Hawaii; Jamaica; Colombia, Brazil and a host of other countries known for their exquisite coffee beans.

These gourmet coffee beans are exceptional due to their growing conditions, the care taken in harvesting and processing them and the time involved in perfecting the roast. Some, such as Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, are so exceptional that they are used to make other products such as Tia Maria, which is a liqueur based on Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.

A gourmet coffee made from these beans needs no further enhancements. They create coffees that can easily stand alone on their own merit. From bold and rich to smooth and mellow, gourmet coffee beans assure a perfect coffee every time.

Purchasing Gourmet Coffee

Purchasing gourmet coffee depends on several factors, what type of gourmet coffee you want, how much money you are willing to spend and how soon you want the coffee in hand.
 
Your local grocery store will most likely carry a selection of gourmet coffee beans. Typically they carry more flavored gourmet coffees than they do gourmet coffee from other countries. Purchasing gourmet coffee at the grocery store has a convenience factor and usually cost less than you will pay at a gourmet coffee shop. What you cannot be assured of is the freshness of the beans and at times the authenticity of the gourmet coffee, particularly if you are looking for a coffee from a specific region. For example, Kona beans have been found that were not 100% Kona, they were only a portion Kona and the remainder a generic coffee.

Coffee shops tend to carry more gourmet coffees than grocers. In addition, they also tend to have fresher coffee due the volume of coffee they use in the shop. You may pay a higher price but you are usually getting a better coffee. Like the grocery store, the products are usually readily available.

Online ordering directly from the manufacturer, if possible, is the best way to guarantee that you are getting the product you want and that it is authentic. You will likely pay a higher price and will have to pay a shipping fee. However, you are going to get exactly what you order.  The only thing you should beware of when ordering from the Internet is that you are ordering either directly from the processor or a reputable dealer who is backed by the processor.

Gourmet coffee is a treat for some people and a necessity for others. There are many types of gourmet coffee and many places to obtain it from. Doing your research ahead of time and knowing what you want will help you to obtain the best gourmet coffee available.

-Sharon V. Chapman


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