Coffee drinkers have a multitude of coffees to choose from all with a different label to entice them to purchase it. There are coffees labeled as gourmet, superior, extra fine and other names that make the consumer think they are purchasing a first class coffee. The question becomes how one defines gourmet coffee when looking for coffee.
Coffee that is labeled gourmet does not have to meet any certain standards in order to be labeled gourmet. Coffee roasters can add the tag to any coffee, increase the price and have a gourmet coffee on the market. Most coffee growers, roasters and manufacturing companies only add gourmet to the label when they have created a coffee specifically for the gourmet market.
A gourmet coffee is generally a coffee bean that has been grown in a specific environment, specially roasted, or infused with a flavor that other coffees do not have. These coffees have a special flavor and aroma that distinguish them from the average coffee and they have a price that is higher than the average coffee but worth the cost to many people.
A gourmet bean is one that is grown in precise conditions that are not available to every plantation. The Kona bean is an excellent example of a gourmet coffee bean grown for its flavor. Other examples are beans grown on organic farms and beans that are grown around volcanic areas. Both of these are examples of beans that are gourmet because of the way they are cultivated.
The roasting process is where the majority of the beans that are labeled as gourmet get their title. The roaster controls the flavor and aroma of the bean by controlling how long or short the roasting time. Gourmet dark roasts are created by the roaster by allowing the bean to roast for longer periods of time with a close eye kept on them to keep them from scorching.
The roaster is also responsible for adding flavors to the coffee if the beans are going to be flavored such as the hazelnut coffee or French vanilla beans. The flavors added can be all natural or they can be chemically created. Determining how much flavoring to add to the beans is a guessing game that is the job of many researchers and tasters who work alongside roasters to create some of the most popular flavors in coffee beans.
Marketers often choose to showcase a coffee by adding gourmet to the label on the package simply because they know the effect that wording has on consumers. Many times the implication that one product is better than another one is all it takes to win the market share.
Gourmet coffee ultimately boils down to the taste of the coffee and the drinker’s preference. Most flavored coffees are considered gourmet simply because they are outside the normal realm of the plain bean. Ultimately the definition of gourmet coffee is many things to many people but can be summed up in a coffee bean that is more than light, medium or dark roasted.