“Coffee Specialties” courtesy of your online coffee bean store; Gourmet Coffee Beans
Coffee specialties can be considered “specialties” based on where they are grown, how they are grown, how they are roasted, and if they are bought and sold using fair trade practices. Gourmet specialty coffee beans are grown in numerous places around the world, including Hawaii, Cuba, Ethiopia, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Guatemala, Indonesia, Brazil, Kenya, Colombia, Yemen, and Ivory Coast. Coffee plants make the best coffee beans when they are grown at high altitudes in a tropical climate with rich soils. These conditions are usually found between latitudes 25 degrees north and 30 degrees south. The coffee beans harvested from these different areas have certain differences in taste. One way that gourmet coffee bean growers create coffee specialties is by using certain growing practices with organic farming. Coffee specialties that result from different farming techniques end up in gourmet cafes around the world. But once the coffee specialty beans are harvested, their journey has only begun. Coffee specialties are in demand the most in western European and western hemisphere countries, including Austria, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, the United States, Spain, Italy, France, and Germany. In the east, however, Japan is a big fan of coffee specialties. Every year, 7 million tons of green coffee (the term for unroasted coffee beans) are shipped worldwide. It is stored in sacks made of sisal or jute, or else shipped in large, plastic-lined freight containers. An entirely different branch of coffee specialties begins with roasting the beans at temperatures of around 550 degrees Fahrenheit or 288 degrees centigrade. Some coffee specialties are based on roasting time. After about eight minutes, the beans turn yellow and pop, rather like popcorn. From that point, coffee specialties result from the following approximate roasting times: 7 minutes for typical American coffee; 10 minutes for medium roast, or “city roast” coffee; 12 minutes for dark roast, also called French or Viennese; and 14 minutes for dark roast, also known as espresso. With espresso, the beans start to smoke, and the sugars in the beans caramelize, then burn. Coffee specialties are mostly the result of the skills of the roastmasters. These coffee specialty experts go by sound, smell, and sight to know when coffee beans are roasted optimally. Generally, the longer the coffee is roasted, the stronger the taste. Roastmasters also make coffee specialties in the form of flavored coffees. These coffee specialties are made by the addition of oils to the exterior of the bean after roasting. Then when the beans are ground, the specialty coffee flavors are released. Two of the most popular of these coffee specialties are hazelnut and vanilla. When you choose flavored coffee beans, note if the outside of the bean is shiny. Generally, the shinier, the more flavor. If you have the opportunity hold a bean in your hand, rub it. Do you smell the aroma of the flavored oil? If so, the coffee will taste really good. Coffee specialties are likely to increase in variety as roasters become more adventurous in their techniques, and as attention focuses on humane coffee growing practices and trade practices. Coffee specialties mean more choices for coffee lovers and more new coffee fans all over the world.