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Most gourmet coffee is produced from Arabica beans which results in a coffee rich and full, providing an intense and fulfilling taste experience. Unlike Robusa coffee, which is considered inferior in taste, aroma and body, Arabica beans grow at higher elevations which means that they take longer to mature thus allowing beans to produce more of oils which give coffee its remarkable flavor. With tastes including caramel, chocolate, nutty, earthy, spicy or even floral, gourmet coffee has something for nearly every palate.
It is roasting process, however, correctly described as both an art and a science, that is essential to outcome of any coffee. Roasting gives coffee beans their characteristic dark color and intense aroma. The heat cracks beans, releasing rich oils hidden inside. Roast at a temperature that is too low, and bean becomes sour. Roast at too high a temperature and bean is burnt with a taste of wood ash. The darker roasts produce espressos, while lighter roasts yield more mellow morning coffees.
Grinding coffee, another critical phase in preparing "perfect" cup, should be done at last possible moment, just before brewing. Utensils should be clean and water cold and untreated. A good rule of thumb is a ratio of about one tablespoon of ground coffee to every six ounces of water. Of course individual tastes vary, so adjust accordingly.
The Internet is a tremendous source for refined drinker of gourmet coffee. In addition to buying world's greatest beans online, there is easy access to miscellaneous accessories necessary to prepare ideal beverage. Coffee can be both a food and a pleasure and with a little online help perfect ingredients can be easily gathered.
P.S. In Italy, espresso is considered so essential to daily life that price is regulated by government.
Larry Denton is a retired history having taught 33 years at Hobson High in Hobson, Montana. He is currently Vice President of Elfin Enterprises, an Internet business dedicated to providing information and resources on a variety of topics. For an urnful of information, history, tips and advice about coffee, or a unique coffee recipe visit http://www.CoffeeFolks.com