A Guide to Premium Gourmet Coffees of the World
When evaluating a gourmet coffee it helps to have an awareness of the standard coffee coffee tasting terms including descriptors of flavors, aromas, body (the coffee’s “mouthfeel”), acidity, bitterness, sweetness, and also the finish/aftertaste. In addition there are descriptors that are specific to flavors which develop in the roast.
Gourmet Coffee Guide Tips on Evaluating Premium Coffee
As you become more informed about the world’s gourmet coffee’s you can begin appreciating the different methods of harvesting and processing and how these create certain flavors and aromas and other coffee characteristics.
Choosing Your Gourmet Coffee
First of all let’s just state what are some of the world’s top specialty coffees.
A good start in naming the Top Ten Coffees In the World is:
Kenya AA Coffee – Grown on Kenya’s high plateaus above 6,500 feet above sea level, Kenya AA coffee has a rich body and strong flavor with a delightful acidity, fragrant aroma and floral notes in the finish.
Mocha Java Coffee – The quintessential blend of coffee beans provides a well-balanced cup of brewed coffee with complex flavors mixing the intensity of the Arabian (Yemen) Mocha coffee with the bright, smooth Indonesian Java Arabica coffee. (See World’s Best History of Coffee to read about how Mocha Java was a happy accident of history.)
Ethiopian Harrar Coffee – Dry-processed (natural) Arabica coffee, Ethiopian Harrar is grown is known for its fruity taste which some liken to a dry, red wine. The coffee’s floral and fruity acidity and heady aroma creates a rich and pungent taste followed by a long-lasting finish with spicy and fragrant notes of jasmine, and sometimes dark chocolate notes.
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee – With a bright acidity a clean intensity in its taste and floral aroma, Ethiopican Yirgacheffe also provides a pleasant vibrancy in its aftertaste. This is a wet processed coffee grown at about 6,000 feet above sea level.
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee – This wet processed (washed) coffee has a gently sweet taste exhibiting a level of refinement with creamy notes of chocolate and a smooth and silky, complex flavor. The acidity is bright and vibrant with little bitterness and a sparkling, bold aroma. Peaberry coffee beans from Jamaica include a single whole bean in each coffee cherry and are often used for espresso.
Hawaii Kona Coffee – Fine and delicate flavor and complex aroma. Kona coffee is also known for its aromatic finish and unique origin flavors from the fine Arabica beans grown at about 2,000 feet above sea level on the fertile slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa Volcanoes of Hawaii.
Additionally one must consider Fair Trade Coffees and Organic Coffees as well as Bird Friendly Coffees and Shade-Grown Coffees which are clearly becoming highly respected among the top gourmet coffees. Lastly there are some new coffee plant varietals emerging that may give the Arabica bean some competition.
Gourmet Coffee Guide to Espresso
Espresso lovers will choose coffees that are good for espresso brewing and will also be interested in our sections detailing the techniques of steaming and frothing milk and our many recipes for espresso drinks as well as espresso cuisine.