Saturday, May 5, 2007


As you can obviously tell from my blog here, I am a cigar smoker. Well it seems to me there are two or three things that spring up around the hobby of cigar smoking, other things that cigar lovers enjoy, usually in unison with their stogies. One of these things is libations, as many people like to pair a cigar with a nice drink. And in my time as a stogie lover, there are two drinks that seem to pair exceptionally well with a cigar. The first is aged spirits, like rum or whisky. Anybody who regularly reads this blog knows that I have a significant number of American Bourbon Whiskey reviews on this site to verify this fact. The second is Coffee. Coffee is something I have had an interesting history with ever since high school. When I was in my teens an early 20's I said I loved coffee, but I sugared and creamered the stuff to the point that you couldn't even taste the bean extract anymore. Also, if I was perfectly honest, I really drank low quality coffee in large amounts for the caffeine in it to fuel late night college study sessions (Now I have energy drinks for that, or to stay awake working overnights). I never really appreciated the coffee itself. Well now I am beginning an attempt to appreciate the bean for its own merits. But first a quick definition:

is a widely consumed beverage prepared from the roasted seeds — commonly referred to as beans — of the coffee plant. Though sometimes served cold, it is typically served hot. A typical 7 fluid ounce (ca. 207 mL) cup of coffee contains 80–140 milligrams of caffeine, depending on the bean and method of roasting and preparation. Some people drink coffee "black" (plain), others sweeten their coffee or add milk, cream or non-dairy creamer. Coffee represents 71% of all the caffeine consumption in the United States, followed by soft drinks and tea. Coffee, along with tea and water, is one of the most popular beverages world-wide, its volume amounting to about a third of that of tap water in North America and Europe.[3] In 2003, coffee was the world's sixth largest agricultural export in value, behind wheat, maize, soybeans, palm oil and sugar.

There are two main species of the coffee plant, the older one being Coffea arabica. Coffee is thought to be indigenous to south-western Ethiopia, specifically from Kaffa, from which it may have acquired its name. While more susceptible to disease, it is considered by most to taste better than the second species, Coffea canephora (robusta). Robusta, which contains about 40–50% more caffeine, can be cultivated in environments where arabica will not thrive and probably originated in Uganda. For this reason it is used as an inexpensive substitute for arabica in many commercial coffee blends. Compared to arabica, robusta tends to be bitter and has little flavor, with a telltale "burnt rubber" or "wet cardboard" aroma and flavor. Good quality robustas are used in some espresso blends to provide a better "crema" (foamy head), and to lower the ingredient cost. In Italy, many espresso blends are based on dark-roasted robusta. The large industrial roasters use a steam treatment process to remove undesirable flavors from robusta beans for use in mass-marketed coffee blends. Other species include Coffea liberica and Coffea esliaca, believed to be indigenous to Liberia and southern Sudan respectively.

Arabica coffees were traditionally named by the port from which they were exported, the two oldest being Mocha, from Yemen, and Java, from Indonesia. The modern coffee trade is much more specific about origin, labeling coffees by country, region, and sometimes even the producing estate. Varietal is a botanical term denoting a taxonomic category ranking below species, a designation more specific than arabica or robusta and unrelated to the coffee's place of origin. Coffees consisting entirely of beans from a single varietal, bourbon, for example, are generally so referred to, with a reference to their place of origin (as in: Rwanda Blue Bourbon). Coffee aficionados may even distinguish auctioned coffees by lot number.

A peaberry, (also sometimes called a "Caracoli" bean) is a coffee bean that develops singly inside the coffee cherry instead of the usual pair of beans. This situation occurs 5–10% of the time. Since flavour is concentrated when only a single bean is grown inside the cherry, these beans (especially Arabica) are highly prized.

(With some help from the Wiki.)

So with some help from my awesome friends at StogieChat, I am beginning my foray into real quality coffee. I went out and bought a grinder (seen above), as ground coffee evidently loses its flavor rather quickly. This coupled with a rather cost effective Bodum french press, seems to combine to produce one of the preferred methods of making gourmet coffee, maximizing the amount of flavorful oils from the bean making it to the cup. I ordered a sampler for a recommended site by people I trust, KillerBeans, but it has not arrived yet. But I can tell you that the Kona Blend from the supermarket did taste notably better from using this method or grinding/brewing.

As a final note, I will do my best to provide reviews of the coffee I try, as a way to include you in this journey with me, I hope that you my, my reader, finds it t be interesting and informative.

I leave you with one of my favorite shows, Alton Brown's "Good Eats", with a rundown of some coffee basics:

Part 1

Part 2



Suma said...

Ya, the information you gave about the coffee is a fact...I love to have coffee and also to read the coffee blogs...

suma valluru

Anonymous said...

Darrell, ROFL?!?