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Are the Coffee Beans Really Fresh?

Almost all of the coffee sold in cafes and stores is old. It is not uncommon for coffee bags to sit in tropical warehouses for months or even years, You can't tell old coffee from fresh coffee by looking at the bag. Coffee bags often say "Fresh" or "Fresh Roasted." Marketing slogans won't help you sort out the good coffee. Some consumers think that fresh coffee beans are dark and oily. They … [Read more...]

Back to the Past

For several years the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Cupping Competition was dominated by a judge who insisted that Kona Coffee had to meet a profile he created. He never revealed this profile publically. Farmers entering the contest were not told anything about the profile or how their coffee compared to the profile. No cupping scores were ever revealed and no comments, negative or positive, were … [Read more...]

Hotel Survival Kit

We checked into a boutique hotel recently that advertised a French press coffee in each room. When we got to the room there was a French press, a hot pot and a sealed jar of ground coffee. We tried the coffee and knew instantly where it came from. It was burned and over-roasted. It was probably good that it was over-roasted because the next day we saw the maid topping off each jar from an open … [Read more...]

Before You Buy Gourmet Coffee – Read the Label

All gourmet coffees are not alike. There are amazing, good, average, poor and bad coffee beans that are sold as specialty gourmet coffee. If you are seeking great coffee beans you can rely on expert evaluations, like Coffee Review, but if there is no published evaluation there are some things you should consider:  Origin Marketing slogans like “Breakfast Delight" don’t mean anything. Coffee … [Read more...]

Processing Changes Coffee Flavor

Processing coffee from the ripe fruit to a roastable bean is a complex process. One mistake and the coffee is ruined. Coffee farmers and millers have choices to make about how to process their beans. The same bean processed using different methods will taste differently. Picking the method that brings out the best flavors of the bean is an art. Wet Process In the fruit the coffee bean is … [Read more...]

Coffee Tasting is Unique

Coffee is the only beverage that is not evaluated in the same way that it is drunk. Wine connoisseurs pour wine into a wine glass, smell it, swirl it, slurp it and drink it (or spit it out). Beer and liquor evaluators do the same. But not coffee. Coffee has its own special protocol that is used all over the world. Coffee evaluation is called "cupping." You can cup coffee just like the pros. You … [Read more...]

Acid in Your Coffee Cup!

A frequent question that we get is" How much acid does this coffee have?" The answer is that a cup of a typical gourmet coffee has slightly more acid than a glass of milk and less acid than a cup of tea. Consumers equate acid with bad coffee. However, acid free coffee is flat and flavorless. It is the acid that refreshes the palate and creates the good coffee flavors in your mouth. The word … [Read more...]

Coffee is Dangerous!

Coffee houses have not always been places with patrons hunched over electronic screens doing work or playing games or sending messages to people across the room. Coffee houses used to be a place where citizens gathered to discuss and argue about current events. Often the discussion was about the government. Naturally, some kings and emperors didn't appreciate criticism of their laws and morals and … [Read more...]

Changing Coffee? Recalibrate!

Periodically we get phone calls from customers who say that our coffee tastes bad. We don’t get a lot of calls but we are our coffee so we take complaints seriously. L Since Laura, our roaster,  cups every roast and we brew, taste and serve every roast, we wonder how we could have let a bad roast get out the door. If we get more than one complaint on a roast it has to be our fault but if only … [Read more...]

Use a Siphon for Holiday Coffee

When I was a child there were no McDonalds when you traveled. (OK!  There was one in San Bernadino, California) So if you wanted to stop for food you had to find a roadside diner. I liked diners because I could watch the waitress make coffee in a siphon carafe.  First, she put a glass pot on a burner with water in it and then she sealed another glass pot with ground coffee on top of that. After … [Read more...]