About Coffee

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Coffee became popular in Britain in the 1700s and is now available in a multitude of varieties and forms. If you’re new to coffee, here’s a quick guide.

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All coffee is grown within 1,000 miles of the equator and almost all the coffee in the world consumed comes from two species of coffee plants: Arabica and Robusta. Arabica produces superior quality coffees has roughly half the amount of caffeine and a more mellow taste. Robusta has more caffeine and higher acidic content which creates a significantly more bitter flavour.

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In addition to the species of the coffee, many other factors contribute to the overall quality of the green beans. Seed stock, plantation location, soil composition, altitude, weather conditions, fertilization, cultivation, harvesting, and processing methods, will all have a dramatic influence on the finished product.

Roasting and Blending Coffee
After quality coffee beans are obtained, the most important phase of the production of gourmet coffee begins, the roasting and the blending.

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A good roaster has a talent for maintaining quality and consistency. It is during the roasting process that the sugars and other carbohydrates within the bean become caramelised, creating a substance which is known as the coffee oil. Technically, this fragile chemical is not actually an oil (since it is water soluble), but it is what gives the coffee its flavour and aroma. Our roasts range from light through to strong. Beans from different regions are also often blended to create superior flavours.

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Tasting and Evaluating Coffee
Here are the criteria that most tasters use to judge coffee:

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Acidity
Acidity is a desirable characteristic in coffee. Acidity provides a sharp, bright, vibrant quality. Without sufficient acidity, the coffee will tend to taste flat.

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Aroma
Aroma is a sensation which is difficult to separate from flavour. Without our sense of smell, our only taste sensations would be: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. Our sense of smell contributes to the flavours we discern on our palates. Subtle nuances, such as "floral" or "winey" characteristics, are derived from the aroma of the brewed coffee.

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Body
Body is the feeling that the coffee has in your mouth. It is the viscosity, heaviness, thickness, or richness that is perceived on the tongue.

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Flavour
Flavour is the overall perception of the coffee in your mouth. Acidity, aroma, and body are all components of flavour. It is the balance and homogenization of these senses that create your overall perception of flavour.

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General flavour characteristics:
Richness - refers to body and fullness
Complexity - the perception of multiple flavours
Balance - the satisfying presence of all the basic taste characteristics where no one overpowers another

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