Gourmet and Specialty coffee

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When we speak of Gourmet coffee, we always think of niche coffee, those small production batches scattered throughout the world and harvested in terrestrial paradises; coffees like the mythical Yemen Mocha, forefather of all coffee, with intense aroma and liqueur-like acidity, or the Harrar of neighboring Ethiopia with its fruity overtones, marked acidity and good body that make it a coffee for the privileged few. Then there is the famous Jamaica Blue Mountain, a full-bodied variety with a strong, intense aroma, well-balanced flavor and fruity aftertaste with notes of citrus. Among the rarities, the most original product is Kopi Luwak. This Indonesian product originated in the interaction between the luwak, the coffee plant and man. The luwak is a civet, a meek animal typical of Indonesia; it lives in proximity of coffee plantations and eats the most flavorful, ripest coffee cherries.

After gathering the coffee beans passed by the animals and washing and processing them like normal coffee, the Indonesian farmers found that the metabolic fluids of the luwak’s digestive tract enhanced the aroma in the cup, giving the coffee greater body and enriching the flavor. Given the rarity of this “product”, the cost is truly exorbitant. The concept of “Specialty” coffee is relatively recent. In 1974, Erna Knutsen, one of the greatest brokers in the United States, was the first to use the term “Specialty” — in an interview for the Tea & Coffee Trade Journal — to describe a high-end coffee produced in a particular microclimate able to fully release its aroma. The term was then taken up by the S.C.A.A. — the Specialty Coffee Association of America. Founded in 1982, this organization recognizes as “Specialty” coffee of any origin and quality that achieves a cup score ranging between 80 and 100.

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