Exactly! What is the best coffee in the world?
The quality of coffee doesn’t reflect that much in its price, although good coffee needs to be a bit costly. Ridiculously expensive coffees, though often quite good, owe their high price most of all to the legends that surround them. And Italian coffee, loved by so many people, is usually over roasted and tastes alike. The best coffee in the world is a rather complicated matter, so how to recognize which coffee could claim this title? This article will show you what to take into consideration when choosing a good coffee grain.
Let’s start with the basics, the term: specialty coffee.
It’s used to define those types of coffees that usually come from small plantations, located in places where there is an ideal microclimate for the coffee cultivation. There the coffee beans are hand-picked and processed; and most importantly, those coffees have won 80 or more points from the 100-point scale of SCAA (Association Specialties American Coffee). These are non-industrial coffees, cultivated with traditional methods, “pampered” on in every step of the process.
The coffee class “specialty” was established in the period between 1960s and ’70s. It’s been noted then that some of the types of coffee are tasty, full of flavor and silky in taste. Meanwhile, majority of them has an average taste, and works on the basis of caffeine rather than as a high-quality stimulant. That’s why the SCAA introduced a rating system in which coffee was evaluated. Those coffees that have gained 80 or more on the 100-point scale are considered specialty coffee.
The rating is conducted by certified tasters, who are examining unroasted grains, as well as those that are roasted, grounded and brewed. Coffee is being checked for extraneous objects such as pebbles or sticks. The appearance and size of beans is being valued as well. Then the coffee infusion is being checked. They value the aroma, taste, acidity, and so-called body of coffee, its aftertaste, sweetness, and the purity of brew. It is a very complicated process and requires a great deal of knowledge of coffee and a well-functioning nose and taste buds. Taking all these factors and a coffee that gained above 80 points into consideration, you have got a specialty coffee.
Around 5% of the world’s coffee is part of the specialty sector. The rest, 95%, is an industrial coffee cultivated on large plantations, collected by combine-harvesters, and then roasted in large coffee roasters: too fast and in too high temperature. As the result we have coffee which can give you an energy boost but it certainly will make hard to taste other flavors like: nuts, chocolate or fruit. Such coffee doesn’t have the perfect balance between pleasant bitterness and acidity, and any other high-quality coffee characteristics. But, for sure, it’s pretty cheap, which is a big deal for the majority of buyers.
It is worth mentioning that the name “specialty coffee” is reserved for coffee that has gone through the above mentioned certification processes. Any coffee that contains in its name the word “premium” or “gourmet” doesn’t have to be (and very often isn’t) a specialty coffee. These terms have a marketing character only, which doesn’t have to be the related to the quality of the coffee.
A separate domain of a specialty coffee is “a cup of excellence”.
This is a multi-stage contest selecting the best coffee. Each farmer can submit the samples of his coffees that are at first rated at the national stage and then the best of them go to the international competition. The coffee grains that reach a minimum of 86 points, receive the title of “cup of excellence”, which the awarded coffee plantation can use for only one year. The Cup of Excellence is like an Oscar in the coffee world.
Writing about the best coffees around the world we cannot forget about their unusual types, such as coffee from Indonesia that have its grains eaten, and then excreted by an animal called Asian Palm Civet, (Java Cat or Toddy Cat). Then they are washed, cleaned and roasted. This coffee gained its legendary status largely on an atypical “production” process. Just several years ago these wild civets lived on the plantations, feeding only on the mature coffee cherries, leaving behind slightly digestive seeds – coffee beans. Unfortunately, it’s a past. At present, the animals are kept in cages and fed by force. In view of the above, it can be concluded that 10% of the value is the actual coffee quality and the rest, 90%, is the legend.
In the topic of best coffee in the world the coffee from Jamaica is also regularly mentioned. It’s cultivated high in the mountains, in places where the conditions for coffee tree growth are excellent. What is its uniqueness that raises the price so much up? Mainly, that on the way from the plantation to the coffee roaster it’s packed in wooden barrels rather than in jute bags. This kind of coffee is a very good Arabica, but 2/3 of its price is based on a legend. For instance that it comes from Jamaica. It sounds better than Costa Rica or Panama, although the first one has in its offer outstanding coffees, in our opinion much better than above mentioned ones.
One can often hear opinion that the best is Italian coffee. Italy doesn’t grow coffee, but it has many large coffee roasters, and the “Italian” way of preparing coffee, such as espresso and its variation with milk (cappuccino, latte, etc.) has conquered the world. Italian coffee roasters have tendency to over roast the coffee, so that the natural aroma and flavors of the beans are replaced by those that result from the roasting process. And, in large part, these are industrial grains of medium quality. If 1lb. of coffee from a big Italian company costs $7 – $9, then surely this is not a specialty coffee.
So what is the best coffee in the world, after all?
If I was just an ordinary coffee drinker who just wanted to have a good coffee at home, I’d be looking for a specialty coffee. Maybe I would have tried coffee with a cup of excellence, but I wouldn’t do it at the beginning of my coffee adventure, only after gaining some experience. I would definitely avoid expensive curiosities, because, as I mentioned before, you’ll be paying mostly for legend than for the taste and quality. And if I wanted to have an espresso or a cappuccino, I would also be looking for specialty coffee, because many of them are great for such brewing. And finally I would be looking for freshly brewed coffee. Such properties are sure to be found in the Superb Antioxidant Coffee from Living Good Coffee. These beans go through a special roasting process that allows preserving the quality of natural organic coffee that highlights its wonderful taste and aroma, while preserving all the nutrients. This coffee is certified by Healthy Roast and USDA Organic, which certifies its natural process of planting, harvesting and roasting. The whole process is environment friendly and follows the fair trade rules.