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Finding Gourmet Coffees
Almost very city has a true gourmet coffee shop tht does its own roasting - that can give you a truly fresh, great cup of coffee.
We have nothing against the big chains, but to get a truly gourmet experience, you need beans that are freshly roasted, preferably today or yesterday; and brewed with proper brewing techniques. One of our goals here at Coffees.com is to help you find those gourmet resources. You can also enlarge this map to go full screen. And if you want to buy a gourmet coffee brewer, click here.
How to get a Great Cup of Gourmet Coffee:
Gourmet Beans - There three basic kinds of coffee beans - Arabica, Robusta, and Maragogype. Maragogype beans are far less common, and you can recognize them as they are larger in size. Though rare, they have been seen at Trader Joes and you can buy them online. Robusta beans are the lowest quality beans, and appear in some of the 'store' coffees. The best beans are Arabica, and from there the skill of the farmer makes a big difference. The best farmers use sustainable farming practices. Shade-grown coffees do not require clear-cutting forests, but can cost more as there is less yield per plant and per acre. If you need to, you can also buy your beans in bulk.
Knowledgeable Roasting - Your goal is to find quality beans, with the flavor you like, and buy them fresh-roasted. Ideally, they are roasted the same day you buy them; find the roasteries in your town and on what days do they roast. Some local/independent coffee shops will bring in beans roasted the same day or just the day before. You can learn a lot about coffee by using the web.
Correct Grind - You want to grind the beans just before brewing; grinding opens up a lot more 'surface area' of the bean, which is ideal for brewing - but it also accelerates the aging of the roasted beans. Generally, you want a courser grind for French Press, medium grind for traditional drip brewers, and a finer grind for an Espresso brewer. You can experiment with the grind to find what works best for you. The best grinders are called Burr Grinders.
Experienced Brewer - Each type of brewer has its own unique characteristics.
Standard drip brewers are the easiest to use; the main choice is how much coffee to use - but using filtered water also helps with any kind of brewer. Espresso takes some experience, more so with some machines than others. The French Press can make a great cup of coffee if you leave it brewing just the right amount of time. You can get good deals online for coffee brewers.
Coffee Shops - if your local coffee shop does their own roasting and grinds the beans right before brewing, chances are you will get a great cup of coffee. You will not find the same experience at any of the coffee chains, no matter what their advertising might say.