Coffee Break Network
  Coffee Gifts   Coffee Travel
Home | About | My Account

Welcome, Guest | Logout

Coffee Tasting Terms

By on February 21st, 2007
Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

While tasting the coffee, you should try to discern whether the flavor, body, acidity and aroma of the coffee is pleasant, or unpleasant. Here are the criteria that most tasters use to judge coffee:

Acidity is a desirable characteristic in coffee. It is the sensation of dryness that the coffee produces under the edges of your tongue and on the back of your palate. The role acidity plays in coffee is not unlike its role as related to the flavor of wine. It provides a sharp, bright, vibrant quality. With out sufficient acidity, the coffee will tend to taste flat. Acidity should not be confused with sour, which is an unpleasant, negative flavor characteristic.

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

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. A good example of body would be that of the feeling of whole milk in your mouth, as compared to water. Your perception of the body of a coffee is related to the oils and solids extracted during brewing. Typically, Indonesian coffees will possess greater body than South and Central American coffees. If you are unsure of the level of body when comparing several coffees, try adding an equal amount of milk to each. Coffees with a heavier body will maintain more of their flavor when diluted.

Flavor is the overall perception of the coffee in your mouth. Acidity, aroma, and body are all components of flavor. It is the balance and homogenization of these senses that create your overall perception of flavor. The following are typical flavor characteristics:

General flavor characteristics
” Richness-refers to body and fullness
” Complexity- the perception of multiple flavors
” Balance- the satisfying presence of all the basic taste characteristics where no one over-powers another

Typical specific desirable flavor characteristics
” Bright, Dry, Sharp, or Snappy- (typical of Central American coffees)
” Caramelly -candy like or syrupy
” Chocolaty- an aftertaste similar to unsweetened chocolate or vanilla
” Delicate- a subtle flavor perceived on the tip of the tongue (typical of washed New Guinea arabica)
” Earthy- a soily characteristic (typical of Sumatran coffees)
” Fragrant- an aromatic characteristic ranging from floral to spicy
” Fruity- an aromatic characteristic reminiscent of berries or citrus
” Mellow- a round, smooth taste, typically lacking acid
” Nutty- an aftertaste similar to roasted nuts
” Spicy- a flavor and aroma reminiscent of spices
” Sweet- free of harshness
” Wildness- a gamey flavor which is not usually considered favorable but is typical of Ethiopian coffees
” Winy- an aftertaste reminiscent of well-matured wine (typical of Kenyan and Yemeni coffees)

Typical specific undesirable flavor characteristics
” Bitter- perceived on the back of the tongue, usually a result of over roasting
” Bland- neutral in flavor
” Carbony- burnt charcoaly overtones
” Dead- see “flat”
” Dirty- a mustiness reminiscent of eating dirt
” Earthy- see “dirty”
” Flat- lack of acidity, aroma, and aftertaste
” Grassy- an aroma and flavor reminiscent of freshly cut lawn
” Harsh- a caustic, clawing, raspy characteristic
” Muddy- thick and dull
” Musty- a slight stuffy or moldy smell (not always a negative characteristic when in aged coffees)
” Rioy- a starchy texture similar to water which pasta has been cooked in.
” Rough- a sensation on the tongue reminiscent of eating salt
” Rubbery- an aroma and flavor reminiscent of burnt rubber (typically found only in dry-processed robustas)
” Soft- see “bland”
” Sour- tart flavors reminiscent of unripe fruit
” Thin- lacking acidity, typically a result of under brewing
” Turpeny- turpentine-like in flavor
” Watery- a lack of body or viscosity in the mouth
” Wild- gamey characteristics

Welcome to Caffeine Country

By on January 29th, 2007
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

America loves to get wired. Now more products are starting to incorporate that caffeine rush
America is a caffeinated nation. Supporting an $11 billion industry, Americans consume more than 300 million cups of coffee each day from coffee shops, whose numbers have grown 18-fold since 1990. But Robert Bohannon, a scientist in Durham, N.C., is convinced there’s a market for even more caffeine products—specifically in baked goods. Now he’s hoping to persuade chains such as Starbucks (SBUX) and Dunkin’ Donuts to sign on to sell his Buzz Donuts and Buzzed Bagels.
“Not everyone likes coffee,” says Graham Wilson, a spokesman for Bohannon. “These products are an alternative if you like your morning pastry and want a boost without having to drink coffee.”

Hyped-Up Market
Bohannon’s forthcoming products are just the latest offerings of a rapidly growing, multibillion-dollar industry of caffeine-fueled products. From caffeinated gum like Jolt to ultra-caffeinated coffees such as JavaFit—even caffeine-laced body creams and leg-toning nylons—dozens of new products are hitting the shelves each year. The “energy drink” category alone grew 60% from 2005 to 2006, to about $2.6 billion wholesale, according to the New York-based consulting group Beverage Marketing, and shows no signs of slowing down.
“Companies have tapped into a bona fide consumer need for energy,” says Gary Hemphill, Beverage Marketing’s managing director. “People understand these products and I think the need is there. Through the course of a day most people could use a little extra energy.”
The market has grown in tandem with busy schedules and longer work commutes that have cut into Americans’ sleep time. About 7 in 10 adults get less than the recommended eight hours of sleep per night on weekdays, according to the National Sleep Foundation in Washington, D.C.
So what are consumers doing with all the energy they get from the Kickbutt Amped Energy Ballz, Enviga (a joint venture between Coca-Cola (KO) and Nestlé (NSRGY)), and Meth Coffee they consume? Hemphill says some want to stay alert longer at work and others may be looking to suppress their appetites or up their stamina in a workout. Others are using the products recreationally, to stay awake for late nights at clubs or while gaming. The market for energy drinks in particular tends to skew to a younger male audience, says Hemphill.

Jazzed Up on Doughnuts
Bohannon’s products wouldn’t be the first caffeinated foods on the market. Oatmeal, that staid breakfast food, now comes in a caffeinated version called “Morning Spark,” from Sturm Foods of Manawa, Wis. And standard chocolate products, such as Hershey’s (HSY) Special Dark contain about 30 milligrams of caffeine per serving.
Bohannon’s background isn’t in the kitchen but in the laboratory. A molecular biologist with a PhD in molecular virology, he has developed new tests for infectious diseases such as bird flu and HIV. In recent years Bohannon decided to put his scientific knowledge to work in the marketplace by starting his own company, Onasco, through which he’ll sell his caffeine-infused foods. He has patented the idea of using tasteless caffeine in baked goods.

Energy Drink Sales Soar
There’s scant data tracking the growth of caffeine-infused food products on the market, but it’s clear that sales of energy drinks are surging. Red Bull is still the leader in that category, with about 50% market share. Murrieta (Calif.)-based Redux beverages launched a drink called Cocaine in September. With 280 milligrams of caffeine in each can, it offers more than triple the power of Red Bull’s 80 milligrams. A cup of regular drip-brewed coffee contains about 135 milligrams of caffeine.
While some companies experiment with new formulas, others are tinkering with the classic sources of caffeine. Javalution Coffee of Fort Lauderdale sells coffee products with double the caffeine of regular coffee. Chief Operating Officer Tony Fanzari says the JavaFit Diet Plus and Energy Plus formulas are his best sellers. He says studies show the energy formula enhances athletic performance by 33% and the diet formula helps speed the metabolism.
“I’ve fought obesity my whole life, and I used to weigh 350 pounds,” Fanzari says. “Using our products, I’m down to 234, and I’m keeping it off.”

Hooked on Java
But in the rush to inject so many products with an addictive substance, how much is too much? Research shows that people who consume too much caffeine experience dehydration, anxiety, jitters, and increased heart rates. And many people are all too familiar with the feeling of a crash after the high has passed. But judging from the growth in the market, caffeine is a habit few seem willing to shed any time soon.
“The timing is right, because people are open to trying new products with an added benefit to them,” says Hemphill. “People aren’t just looking for nourishment or refreshment in what they consume; they are becoming more sophisticated and experimental, and the marketplace is, too.”

Choosing a Home Espresso Machine

By on January 17th, 2007
Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Espresso machines come in a variety of styles. Which kind is right for you?
You’ve decided you need an espresso machine at home, but what kind? They all have the same basic mechanism: forcing hot water through coffee grounds under pressure. But there are different ways to accomplish that. There are 4 basic machines, and each has its positive and negative features.

Pump Espresso Machines
• These use a powered pump to produce the right amount of water pressure
• Usually the most expensive
• Can be quite large, bulky and noisy
• Produces excellent espresso
• Pump can get clogged with mineral deposits from the water
• Commercial machines are often this type

Lever/Piston Espresso Machines
• There is a manual lever and piston on these models to create the pressure
• Can be hard on the arm
• Very quiet machine
• Espresso quality can vary
• Few parts, low maintenance

Steam Powered Espresso Machines
• The steam from heated water creates the pressure
• Pressure isn’t always strong enough to make a good Espresso
• Smaller machine, sleek design
• Quick and easy to use

Moka Pots • These are simple stove-top pots
• Water in the bottom half of the pot, forces steam through the coffee into the top half of the pot
• Super simple
• Less pressure than the mechanized versions
• No milk frothing/foaming attachments
• Least expensive of all these models

Coffee’s a Source of Antioxidants

By on December 26th, 2006
Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments »

Coffee not only helps clear the mind and perk up the energy, it also provides more antioxidants than any other food or beverage in the American diet, according to a new study.

The findings by Joe Vinson, a chemistry professor at the University of Scranton, in Pennsylvania, give a healthy boost to the warming beverage.
“The point is, people are getting the most antioxidants from beverages, as opposed to what you might think,” Vinson said.

Antioxidants, which are thought to help battle cancer and provide other health benefits, are abundant in grains, tomatoes and many other fruits and vegetables.
Vinson said he was researching tea and cocoa and other foods and decided to study coffee, too.

They concluded that the average adult consumes 1,299 mg of antioxidants daily from coffee. The closest competitor was tea at 294 mg. Rounding out the top five sources were bananas, 76 mg; dry beans, 72 mg; and corn, 48 mg.

That does not mean coffee is a substitute for fruit and vegetables.
“Unfortunately, consumers are still not eating enough fruits and vegetables, which are better for you from an overall nutritional point.

Most Expensive Coffee Beans

By on August 7th, 2006
Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

The most expensive cup of joe, in the minds of many coffee drinkers, is a $4 coffee at Starbucks. Perhaps a half-caf soy almond latte prepared by a favorite barista.

But for serious coffee connoisseurs, people who are looking for a world-class drink rather than a ‘gourmet’ cup, the top fare is made from the highest-quality beans in the world. The beans come from very specific regions and are prized for their unique characteristics. Cultivated on small farms, they are coddled by farmers who care more about quality than quantity.

You wouldn’t dare add milk or sugar to coffee of this caliber–it would compete with the beans’ natural sweetness, and distinct flavors and aromas.

Such top-quality coffees are rare–and prices for them are accordingly high. Superior beans command retail prices of over $100 per pound in what the Specialty Coffee Association of America, a Long Beach, Calif.-based trade association, describes as a $11 billion-plus specialty coffee market.

We have searched the specialty coffee market for the priciest coffee in the world–not the most expensive cups of coffee, which can vary by a matter of cents–but the priciest specialty beans.

They include such products as Hacienda la Esmeralda Geisha from Panama, which made news at the end of May when it set an auction record of $50.25 per pound. Praised for its fruit and floral flavors, it retails for more than $100 per pound. There are also novelty coffees, whose prices are influenced not just by quality, but by the romance or uniqueness of their origins.

St. Helena coffee, for instance, is a high-quality coffee grown on the remote South Atlantic island to which Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled in 1815. Then there’s the Indonesian Kopi Luwak, a coffee that is only roasted after it’s been eaten and excreted by a palm civet.

The US coffee market looks very different today than it did a half-century ago. From the 1950s to the 1990s, a few small roasters managed to obtain high-quality beans for select markets like New York’s Little Italy or Berkeley, Calif. But most coffee was sold in cans, and consumers were more concerned with price and consistency than taste.

In 1962, the US reached a peak in per capita coffee consumption: The average person was drinking more than three cups of murky brown swill per day. Despite the proliferation of Starbucks, which was founded in 1971, today the average American drinks less than two cups of coffee per day. That coffee is significantly tastier, however.

Coffee evangelists have long sought to elevate coffee above commodity status. For years, great coffees were blended away, used to make fairly uniform-tasting brews. Little recognition was given to the individual farmer, and the unique flavor profiles of different varieties of coffees, or coffees from different micro-climates, were ignored.

With the specialty coffee boom of the ’90s, great beans are now making a more direct journey from crop to cup. Specialty roasters and retailers buy beans directly from the farmers, paying premiums that encourage them to improve growing methods and produce superior beans. The beans are transported and carefully roasted before being sold to consumers. “While you cannot make a mediocre coffee good during the roasting process, you can ruin a great coffee during roasting,” said Mike Ferguson of SCAA.

George Howell, founder of the George Howell Coffee Company and its Terroir Coffee brand based in Acton, Mass, emphasises that coffee is a “noble beverage,” worthy of the same respect as fine wine. A 30-year veteran of the coffee industry, he has pushed to decommoditize coffee.

After creating models of economic sustainability for coffee farmers for both the United Nations and the International Coffee Organization, Howell co-founded the Cup Of Excellence program, among the most esteemed award programs for coffees. The strict competition selects the best coffee produced in a country for a particular year. The winners are auctioned off online.

Many of the most expensive coffees in the world are Cup of Excellence winners. In compiling our rankings, we examined auction prices for green (unroasted) beans and spoke to roasters and trade organizations around the country. Only single origin coffees were considered, which means that the beans come from one place. Blends were not considered, because they can contain inferior beans from unidentified sources.

In general, we ranked the coffees by retail price. One exception is El Injerto from the Huehuetenango region of Guatemala, which is not yet available but is expected to retail at more than $50 per pound. The second is Fazenda Santa Ines from Brazil, which has already been bought up and is only available by the cup; we ranked it by its auction price of nearly $50 per pound. We rounded all figures to the nearest dollar.

As expensive as these coffees are, when compared with wine, the best coffee beans are a relative bargain.

“If you pay $10 per pound for the coffee you brew at home, a cup of coffee costs less than a Coke from a 12-pack,” Howell points out. Even if you pay twice as much for a pound of beans, an entire pot of coffee will still cost less than a glass of wine from a $10 bottle.

So even at these prices, feel free to drink up.

Fun Coffee Facts

By on July 25th, 2006
Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »


We welcome to our NEW BLOG
Did you know that prior to the 1600’s; the favorite breakfast drink was beer? Since then, coffee has become second only to oil as the world’s most valuable commodity.

The first coffee shop opened in 15th-century Constantinople, where the Turks thought the drink was an aphrodisiac.

James Mason patented the first American coffee percolator in 1865.

The term “Cuppa Joe” came from “G.I. Joe,” who always had his coffee.

Coffee is the most popular beverage worldwide with over 400 billion cups consumed each year1.

It is estimated that 100 million Americans drink a total of 350 million cups of coffee a day.

52% of the American adult population (age 18+) drinks some type of coffee beverage on a daily basis, averaging about 3.2 cups per day.