Some folks are more than happy to plunk down $4 or $5 for their morning coffee or latte, while others marvel at how expensive coffee has become, especially over the past ten years. It certainly can seem like a mystery: the market price for green, unroasted coffee currently averages about $1.53 per pound—so why does the price increase tenfold (or more) when it arrives on shelves here?
'coffee beans' on Serious Eats
We sampled a selection of the most festively packaged, theoretically premium, non-decaf, non super-maximum-dark-French-roast beans on Joe's shelf. Here are your best bets and a few to avoid.
Even if you're just a casual coffee lover, you've got a basic bean-spotter's vocabulary down, I'm sure. "Dark roast" is going to look darker than "light roast", and things called "Italian", "French" or "Viennese" may be distractingly dark and shiny. But have you ever explored the layers beyond—or even before—everyday roasted coffee? We offer this first in a series of pictorial field guides to help expand your visual vocabulary, one bean at a time.
Coffee, believe it or not, is just as tied to the seasons as squash, corn, and garlic scapes are. (Coffee is, after all, the seed of a fruit.) Here's how to navigate the coffee calendar so that you can drink the good, fresh stuff.
After a recent trip to Chicago, a friend of mine brought back a beautiful red bag of coffee. If a tingling sensation did not just shoot through your neck, you may not be familiar with the coffee roasted Chicago-based Intelligentsia. It's an incredibly passionate and forward-thinking company, but when it comes down to it, the result of all the thoughtful hard work is discovered in the cup. This red bag contained an organic coffee called "Anjilanaka, Bolivia; San Juan Ocho Estrellas"—a long name for one bag of beans. Anjilanaka means "angels" in Bolivia's native language, and this coffee was named after the inception of Intelligentsia's big expansion into the Los Angeles market.
Espresso is not all art and perfection. It can be hellish and frustrating when shots change speed at the drop of the hat, causing that delicious dark crema to turn to watery dirt with no warning. It's all part of the relationship with the manual espresso machine.
As the second most traded commodity in the world after oil, coffee has acquired more frequent flier miles than any of your produce could hope for. In fact, more coffee enters the United States than any other food product.
Roasting brings out the best flavors in coffee beans. To roast a coffee bean to perfection is the aim of any roaster with half a brain--and a heart.
I've been so wrapped up in the glamorous life of latte art and timing my espresso shots that I forgot to spend more time with how my precious beans are born.