Terms

TERMS USED TO DESCRIBE COFFEE...

ACIDITY...This term does NOT refer to acid levels present in coffee. It describes the sharpness or snap of a coffee; similar to dryness as in a dry white wine.

BODY... A sense of heaviness that lingers on the back of the tongue. The same individual coffee won't have both a lot of acidity and body. Body can be compared to the characteristics of some red wines.

FINISH... The aftertaste of a coffee. Finish can be sweet and light or heavier and longer lasting, as in Espresso.

FLAVOUR... A very hard quality to describe due to personal tastes. Coffee will take on flavour characteristics of the soil in which it was grown. It can hint at fruits, spices and other plants grown in the same region. This is what makes one variety different from another.

SWEET... Take the sweet, light Papua New Guinea, for example. One of the country's biggest exports, it has ideal growing conditions: high elevations, a hot and moist climate, and a dedicated group of coffee growers. The result is a sweet, acidic flavor with medium body. Once you've tasted it, those words will acquire a personal meaning. Similar in many respects is the famed Jamaican Blue Mountain, among the rarest and most expensive of all beans. Be sure to look only for certified JBM, as there are many imitators. But the real thing is unmistakable. Light and with a unique aroma, this blend imported from Jamaica is unforgettable.

WINEY... Among the winey brews are found a variety of delicious coffees from around the world. The Koloa Estate, made from Kona beans imported to Kauai centuries ago are an excellent example. Grown on an artificially irrigated plantation that is among the world's largest, there's nothing fake about the taste. Smooth-bodied, well-balanced, and slightly more acidic, coffee lovers will want it in their 'portfolio'. From Antigua in Guatemala comes a medium dark brew that is often used in espresso blends. Grown in the central highlands, this Guatemalan coffee is a spicy mixture and has a fragrant aroma that sets up the taster for the delightful flavor to come.

SMOOTH... Bolivian coffee beans are grown mostly on small farms on steep hillsides over a mile high. The bourbon beans produce a Colonial Caranavi that is smooth and spicy. That apparent contradiction becomes understandable after you've sampled a cup. For smooth, no one exceeds the efforts of Java, or as it has become known, Indonesia. With an industry started by the Dutch who brought Arabica trees to the region, the product is now fully native. There's a reason Java is a nickname for coffee. The heavy body and chocolatey after-taste will show you why.

BOLD... Africa, though ancient, is a relative newcomer in the world of gourmet coffee. But the beans themselves are said to have originated here in Ethiopia. The light Longberry demonstrates this old and new character well. Sharp and winey with a full aroma and tangy flavor, it will wake you up in the morning. The Peaberry from Tanzania would never take a back seat, however, to its neighbour. Lively and assertive, it nevertheless offers light acidity. Harvested on the slopes of the famed Mount Kilimanjaro, the cup would be lauded by Hemingway himself.

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