- ▼How to find the best Coffee beans brand
How to purchase the best coffee beans gift: Today more than ever, there is a broad selection of speciality coffees available online and an increasing number of local coffee roasters in nearly every town. But while being local and fresh may seem like the most crucial decision when choosing a new coffee supplier, like all authentic fine foods, making a great coffee takes a skilled craftsman! Also, we suggest you look for fair-trade or ethical sourcing and brands that give back to charity. So what should you look for and what ideas for choosing a gift for a coffee lover:
Coffee bean gift ideas:As the trend for coffee drinkers worldwide are becoming more sophisticated, with an increasing amount now prefer to grind their beans at home, gifting gourmet coffee beans as a gift could be a great idea. But the difficulty is choosing the right quality beans without knowing what the person likes to drink. Fortunately like with fine wines coffee drinkers want to explore and try new beans - a gift of some new and different varieties may be the ideal opportunity. TIP: make sure you by this form a reputable brand, that also pay attention to not only their supply chain but also the quality of packaging and overall presentation, after all, you want to gift a lovely present!
Coffee bean hamper:Have you considered making a coffee lovers gift basket? You could include a coffee grinder (these are much more affordable with some cool designer brands selling a wide range of different types). Or a complimentary gourmet food product, like for example chocolate or biscuits. Cocoa grows in the same regions as coffee and regularly are produced on the same farms - so they make a natural combination. You could even get some chocolate covered coffee beans; these are yummy!
Coffee selection gift set:Confused? Here gets even more tricky, what if you want to include more than one coffee? Our suggestion is like with tea or other fine foods, choose one safe option that everyone loves and then another coffee that's a little more exotic and probably most 'coffee aficionados' will enjoy. This could be a coffee that has particular settings required on the coffee machine and adjustments to the grinder etc. We won't go into the technicalities of making coffee like an expert, but suffice to say the person you gifting it to will know! In summary: get one regular coffee, one very exotic and possibly one in-between. Consider also single-origin, fair-trade or Italian - they know about coffee!
Other coffee gift ideas:What else could a coffee lover need and make a lovely present, consider these: Swissgold coffee mug filter, fun coffee mug, quirky new coffee tamper, coffee mat, coffee press, coffee machine (if you have a big budget we love Rocket coffee machines). Or even a new grinder (we love Eureka grinders from Florence, Italy) or for something cheaper and still fun you could get a Baristas apron.
- ◄Coffee bean types
It is only over the last decade or so that consumers started to look at different types of coffee grades, varieties and also where they are sourced their beans from. Before then coffee was just coffee, and a cappuccino or latte was exotic. Now though can even get 'guest' speciality single-origin coffees of the month from various high street coffee shops. But what are the main types of coffee and which are the best to drink?
Arabica coffee beans:the dominant cultivar that was formerly indigenous to the forests of Ethiopia and Yemen (first documented records of production in the 12th century). Arabica beans are also recognised as the "coffee shrub of Arabia" or "mountain coffee" and is the first species of coffee beans to be grown in the world, representing more than half of global production. Taste: is more acidic, less bitter and less caffeine than the robusta bean (C. canephora)
Robusta coffee beans:is produced from the 'Coffea canephora plant', a sturdy species of coffee bean with low acidity and high bitterness and used primarily for cheaper instant coffees, French or Spanish espresso blends, and as a filler, in-ground coffee blends as it is much cheaper. It has its origins in central and western sub-Saharan Africa, but today the biggest producers are in India. It is easy to care for, has a greater crop yield, has almost double the amount of caffeine and more antioxidants and is less susceptible to disease than arabica beans. Which may explain why this now accounts for nearly half of the global coffee trade.
Green coffee beans:these used to be only purchased in bulk by coffee manufacturers or brand to cup brands, but now there are some commercially 'roast at home' green coffee roasting machines on the market. So if you are a 'real coffee fanatic' and have a few thousand to spare, you could get a small coffee roaster for home and only buy green beans. The smell of freshly roasted coffee will get all your neighbours coming round as well! But you may need to experiment and go on a coffee roasting certification course as the best roasters can train for years and need to pass exams to become certified, like a Chef or any other artisan it does take some skill.
Coffee blends vs single estate or single origin:What's the difference and what the best coffee? It all depends! Some brands blend their coffee to make it cheaper, while others create blends that enhance the flavours of each separately roasted beans. For example, the Chateau Rouge Barista Italian Espresso blend has six only single estate beans each with a unique flavour profile - by combining all these into one coffee, you get a taste profile through from sipping and the front of the mouth with rounded sweetness throughout and low-acidity from the Arabica beans. Beans from Brazil, Columbia, Ethiopia and India each have their recognised tastes and combining these all in just the right combinations is the reason why this coffee has already been awarded various awards and accepted the world over!
- ◄History of coffee
Where do coffee beans initially come from:All coffee initially comes from Ethiopia and Yemen in Africa. After that over the last nearly 1,000 years, it was since successfully cultivated in central and South America, Asia, Hawaii, the Caribbean and even parts of Australia. Coffee beans need lots of rain and a hot, humid climate - much like cocoa for chocolate.
The best coffee bean plants:Coffee like wine, is so much more than a commodity. While mass-market brands have to spend decade commoditising coffee, there is a growing trend for sustainable sourcing and socially responsible brands. It's not just about getting the best beans at the lowest price, you want the best coffee from the best artisans, with decades of experience handed down from one generation to the next. Brands and growers that test boundaries and strive for only one thing - how can we do it better every day!
Freshly roasted coffee beans:Locally roasted coffee beans are always presumed to be the best as are freshest. But for example, Chateau Rouge coffee is roasted fresh in Italy and in London within 2 days, adequately stored this coffee remains fresh as when roasted for up to 2 years. Plus of course, you have the expertise of a master qualified Barista who not only have been trained with the best in the world but still wins international awards and has travelled extensively and works closely with the growers of the green coffee beans. Local and fresh is essential, but more so we believe quality, sourcing direct and roasting the right way! As is also the case with all the food products we produce and sell online here or through selected gourmet food shops worldwide.
- ◄Coffee nutritional facts and health benefits
How much caffeine in coffee:This depends on the type of coffee you are drinking, where buy it and what you add to it:
Brewed or 'American' Coffee:a cup (8 oz) contains about 70–140 mg of caffeine; Espresso - since espresso is small it usually contains less per serving, and a single shot contains about 63 mg. Most leading high-street coffee chains however now use two 7-10ml shots of coffee for a regular so make sure and ask when ordering.
Coffee-based drinks with milk:include lattes, macchiatos, Italian cappuccinos and Americanos all use an espresso shot as their base, so ask how many shots they have used and you can determine how much caffeine.
Instant Coffee:typically produced from brewed coffee that has been freeze-dried or chemically spray-dried. It instantaneously dissolves in hot water, and contains much less caffeine than regular coffee, with one cup providing roughly 35–90 mg (this, however, can be more as most commercial brands now use cheaper Robusta beans and cover the bitter taste with artificial flavours!).
Decaffeinated (or decaf) coffee:this is not ever without caffeine and may contain varying amounts of caffeine, averaging about 7 mg per cup, with the average cup containing 3 mg. However, some brands include even more caffeine, depending on the type of coffee, the method the used for decaffeination and the cup size.
In summary, the average caffeine content of a cup of a brewed cup of coffee is 95 mg. A single espresso or espresso-based drink contains 63 mg, and decaf coffee contains about 3 mg of caffeine (on average). Note: Starbucks is plausibly the most known coffee shop in the world, but they use stronger over-roasted coffee and put extra shots in, so just check as you may get more caffeine than you think. Bottom line make sure you read the labels and research the brand online first!
How many calories in coffee:This is an anomaly as coffee itself has no significant amount of calories. The extra calories and fat come from the addition of milk, sugar, cream or flavourings. So this all depends on what you add to it! To reduce the calories in your drink consider: fat-free milk, soya or other dairy-free milk, no sugar or a sugar substitute. Or as in Europe drink espresso, you can better appreciate the coffee flavours and won't add the added calories. Plus of course not to forget, caffeine helps burn calories!
Coffee effects and health risks:New medical research proves that coffee drinkers, compared to non-drinkers, are less expected to have type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease and even dementia' plus they can have fewer cases of certain cancers and strokes. But please note: coffee isn't proven to prevent those conditions, and you should always consult a certified medical practitioner before making a significant change to your diet for health reasons. We enjoy coffee first because it tastes good and we love excellent food and drinks, any health benefits are a big bonus, and we certainly don't eat or drink something if it is detrimental to our health and well-being!
The worlds most expensive, rarest and weirdest coffees:'Expensive and limited' almost always gets a lot of attention and more often than not, unduly so as connoisseurs shop for unusual rather than just good quality. But having said that some rare coffees do also have their own alluring taste profiles that every 'coffee expert' has to try at least once (or twice). Here is our shortlist of rare coffees you should taste:
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee:This coffee has become one of the most expensive and sought-after coffees in the world; honestly this is mainly due to excellent marketing, and the limited quantities produced made available every year, that sells quickly to buyers the world over but especially in parts of Asia and primarily in Japan.
Kupi Lawak Coffee:Or 'civet coffee' is in reality made from partially digested coffee cherries eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet. Farmers of the coffee beans argue that the process may improve coffee through two mechanisms, selection and digestion. Selection occurs if the civets choose to eat the best cherries. While digestive juices may enhance the flavour profile of the coffee beans passing through a civet's intestines, the cherries are defecated with other faecal matter and then need to be collected separated by hand. So we will leave you to make your mind up about this!
Organic Coffee:To be certified organic, the whole production process and farm need to be 100% organic. Our Peru coffee is approved Organic coffee by the UK Soil Association. We firmly believe in natural and nonchemical farming methods, and work only with producers that have the same ethos - to make the best coffee possible while protecting the environment and preserving biodiversity and delicate ecosystems in which coffee is grown.
World's oldest coffee beans:Did you know that coffee actually ages well! In a while visiting our coffee producers in Ethiopia, they presented us with aged beans, over 30 years old. When roasted and brewed these were really concentrated caffeine and the most amazingly delicious flavour profiles! In fact, coffee only loses it freshness firstly when baked (lasts up to 2 years if stored properly) but once ground, it can start to lose it flavours within days if not stored properly. Having said that most drinkers at home will not notice the real difference, only if you drink then side by side and don't add any sugar or milk. But for anyone who is serious about coffee, we suggest you always grind your coffee only when you need it and make sure you store your roasted beans in the original packaging and never in the fridge.
Turkish Coffee: Is not really a different kind of coffee but is instead the way it is prepared. When making Turkish coffee, the beans are very finely ground to a fine powder format and allowed to stew, creating a kind of soup, which later is served with the 'coffee sludge' that sinks to the bottom of the cup. Sugar is added to the cold liquid first before you start heating it up; and very different from Italian coffee, it is heated slowly simmering and never boiled quickly. Russia actually makes a similar kind of coffee as well.