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What is Gourmet Coffee?

By June 9, 2021No Comments

Gourmet coffee is any type of specialty coffee that requires higher-quality beans and brewing methods. It’s a whole culture with terminology all its own, but what it boils down to is this: gourmet coffees are usually roasted darker, contain more caffeine than regular blends and cost more because they’re harder to produce.

The difference between gourmet coffee and regular blends is largely about how it was grown, harvested, processed, stored and roasted.

Gourmets have an entire culture of their own when it comes to discussing what kind of taste profile creates the perfect cup.

The term “gourmet coffee” is often used to describe high-quality, finely ground coffee that is brewed with a pour-over or french press. However, this definition may vary depending on who you ask.

Coffee drinkers have different opinions about what it means for the term “gourmet” to be applied to their favorite brews. Some attribute qualities like flavor complexity and subtlety as indicators of gourmet quality while others mark off an item by standards they personally associate with more expensive items such as in ingredients and presentation.

Many coffee producers use the term in marketing materials as an indication of quality rather than meaning something specific when they say “gourmet.” So, what makes gourmet coffee different?

This leaves individuals deciding whether something deserves the title or not dependent on personal preference which can complicate matters when trying to find out what makes gourmet coffee different.

 

Understanding the Trend Towards Gourmet Coffee

As there is no clear definition for what makes an item a gourmet coffee, it’s difficult to measure the popularity of such items. However, we can take a look at how this trend has been rapidly growing in recent years and why people are making a switch from their regular joe to something that they perceive as more refined.

 

Growth: Gourmet Coffee is being made by many different companies which tend to be smaller businesses with less competition than other well-known names like Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts.

This means that even though these places may not have any physical locations nearby, they still stand out based on quality and unique flavors which draws customers into them.

The growth of chains like Blue Bottle also support this idea, because while they may not have as many locations, their coffee is still highly sought after.

 

Reasons: The common reasons people give for drinking gourmet coffee are the quality and taste which both seem to be more distinctive than that of a regular cup of joe from your local Tim Horton’s or Starbucks location.

People also tend to partake in this trend because they believe it will make them feel better about themselves but in reality, you’re paying $50 for just 150 grams of whole beans–this means that one cup would cost you between $150-$200 depending on where you buy it (and if you find someone willing loan out a bag).

This can be expensive especially when considering how much cheaper other alternatives like cold brew iced tea or instant espresso and coffee can be.

 

Gourmet vs Premium vs Specialty Coffee: What’s The Difference?

The difference between coffee that is considered gourmet, premium, and specialty depends on the quality of the beans used in production.

Gourmet coffee typically uses a blend of different beans to create an individual taste for their product – such as a French roast or dark chocolate mocha–while premium can be either single-origin (like pure Costa Rica) or blended but still has high standards when it comes to where they purchase ingredients from.

Specialty tends to refer solely to single-origin beans with very specific tastes like Kenyan AA which are thought about more carefully than other blends due to their rarity.

However, what many people may not know is that there are also degrees of these categories.

Gourmet coffee can generally be classified into two different categories: Third Wave and Traditional (or First Wave).

The difference between the two types of gourmet coffee largely comes down to how they are roasted, brewed, or prepared. In America, we have mostly seen traditional gourmet coffees that use darker roasts which creates a heavy body with stronger flavors.

 

Third Wave Coffee

Third Wave Coffee refers specifically to only those coffees who, like the small-batch breweries who produce artisanal beers, have taken another step to refine their product.

The Third Wave is essentially a movement of coffee roasters and baristas that push for higher quality in all aspects including origin, roast profile, flavor profile (complete with tasting notes), and brewing technique.

These are more common in Europe than America but still exist here – it’s just not as prevalent within our culture yet.

Third Wave coffees use a dark roast but they are not as prominent and instead focus on showcasing brighter beans that create lighter-bodied beverages with milder, nuanced flavor profiles. This means there has been an explosion of popular varieties like Nicaraguan and Vietnamese coffees.

Third Wave coffee is less focused on a specific bean than traditional gourmet coffees, and instead embraces an eclectic variety of beans to create distinctive flavor profiles. They are also more likely to focus on brewing methods that showcase the uniqueness of each individual bean or roast.

The result is often lighter-bodied cups with nuanced flavors reminiscent of fruit, chocolate, floral notes and other unexpected sensations.

Rather than just getting one type for your morning cup of Joe you can now choose from blends made up entirely different varieties like Blueberry Espresso or Ethiopian French Roast — all perfect for pairing with breakfast!

In recent years we’ve seen Third Wave coffee become increasingly popular in America as well as abroad due to its unique taste profile. Thus, gourmet coffee is defined as any type of specialty coffee that requires higher-quality beans and brewing methods.

 

The Type of Bean used for Gourmet Coffee

The beans used for gourmet coffee often come from Africa, Asia, Central America and South America, and the roasts can differ between light, medium and dark. For example, someone who prefers a light roast may prefer to use Colombian beans because they are less acidic than other blends.

A person looking for a darker roast may prefer to mix Ethiopian with Sumatran beans or even find specific types like Bourbon Java Beans that are often found in specialty stores.

People will sometimes blend two or more varieties together if one doesn’t suit their liking.

There are many places that people might purchase these coffee beans including stores like Whole Foods Market, which offer a variety of blends for all tastes.

These coffees taste best with cream or sugar (or milk) to make them more flavorful while still balanced in flavor.

 

Gourmet Coffee can be more Environmentally conscious

Gourmet coffee beans are typically sourced from a more environmentally conscious process.

However, it is important to note that while these coffees might have better farming practices, the difference in taste can be minimal.

A lot of people choose organic or fair trade-sourced coffees for their environmental impact and not necessarily because they know what will make them a great cup of coffee.

Buying organic fair trade whole bean versions may be better suited for those concerned about their environmental footprint as well as human rights violations associated with sourcing raw materials from developing countries without any oversight whatsoever.

Organic does mean that there were no pesticides used on the crop (or any other chemical), but also means that the producer was certified as being sustainable by an independent third party organization like EcoCert® or Rainforest Alliance®.

And even though Fair Trade sounds like something good too – this certification only ensures minimum wage has been provided to workers – nothing more.

The only way to know for sure what will make a great cup of coffee is by tasting it yourself!

 

Conclusion

Gourmet coffee is a trend that has been growing for years now. Understanding what makes gourmet, premium and specialty coffees different will help you find the right one to suit your taste buds and budget.