Once upon a time, there was coffee or coffee regular (one cream, one sugar) or some variation thereof. Nowadays, coffee comes in regular and gourmet and coffee lovers know the difference. For those not yet on the bandwagon, paying the price for gourmet coffee might seem like a head-scratcher. However, good reasons exist for buying gourmet coffee instead of the cheap stuff.
It’s All About the Beans
Not all coffee beans nor coffee-growing practices are created equal, according to Epicurious. Coffee that has been grown in a high altitude generally tends to taste better and is purer. The growing process includes coffee grown at the right temperature as well as being grown in the right kind of sunlight. It also helps if the coffee bean is Arabica. These specialty coffee-growing areas have altitudes of up to 6,000 feet.
Additionally, some coffees are just more difficult to grow—like Hawaiian Kona coffee. These coffees come with a very steep price tag. It isn’t unusual in some cases to pay hundreds of dollars per coffee pound for the coffee. However, this translates into better tasting coffee, which is definitely a reason why people drink gourmet coffee instead of the most inexpensive kind.
An article on WiseGeek cautions coffee lovers. No actual governing bodies exist that determine whether a coffee is actually gourmet. However, there are some things that the coffee lover can look for. A coffee grown on a coffee estate tastes better than some other kinds of coffee. The estate-grown coffee is under a more controlled environment. Coffee drinkers who love this kind of coffee also love that so much care has gone into growing it. Better quality food and drink often means living better.
Harvest and Roast Dates
Finally, when the coffee gets harvested and roasted affects how it tastes. The best tasting coffees get roasted very close to their harvest dates.
Epicurious additionally warns that while coffee can sometimes be harvested on time, it may take a very long time to ship from where it’s grown (in places like East Africa) to get to where it’s going in America and beyond. It’s best to buy small batches of coffee to test out the flavor. Small batches also keep the costs down, preventing the buyer from spending too much on a coffee that may not be a hit taste-wise.
Saving Money on Gourmet Coffee
For those who can’t imagine not drinking gourmet coffees, the matter then becomes how to save money on the coffee of choice. In this case, coffee clubs and specialty coffee companies, such as 11th Street Coffee, seem to be the way to go.
The additional advantage, of course, is that these companies specialize in gourmet coffees. Given that price often counts as the reason that people don’t buy gourmet coffee, this type of deal is the best way to go.
For many people, the choice to buy gourmet coffee comes down to taste and better growing conditions. However, those who gravitate toward the store-bought canned coffee often can’t imagine paying gourmet coffee prices, even if they like the taste of gourmet coffee. However, specialty coffee companies that offer special prices and free shipping often put this type of coffee within reach of more people. This gives these coffee drinkers better tasting, better-for-you coffees at more affordable prices.