Coffee beans, close-up

There are about 100 varieties of coffee and we have selected those we feel are representative of the best from various growing regions around the world. You may see them by going to Coffees. When you consider them you should think about the following:

Acidity: This is not a negative factor; it does not mean sour. This is a property which produces a pleasant tartness and liveliness. Without it, coffee would be dull and flat-tasting.

Body: This produces a sense of richness at the back of the mouth, as red burgundy wines are richer than clarets or whites.

Roasting: Green beans do not have the characteristic look, smell, or taste of coffee and therefore must be roasted. When coffee is roasted, it shrinks about 16% to 20% in weight, depending on type, doubles in volume, turns from pale green to a rich brown and develops taste and aroma. Over the years and in various parts of the world, a lexicon has been developed to designate roast color. We roast all of our beans to a rich deep mahogany color which we believe brings out the best flavor.

Blending: This is the search for the "perfect" cup. Coffee is a very personal and intimate beverage and blending to your individual taste can be a fun and creative endeavor. We suggest that you become familiar with several straight, or unblended, coffees before combining them to create blends that will enhance the characteristics of each type. Different roasts (Full City and French), decaffeinated and caffeinated and straight coffees can be blended. Some helpful guidelines: For liveliness, pleasant tartness and acidity add Costa Rican, Colombian or Guatemalan. For body and richness, add Sumatran, Celebes Kalossi, or New Guinea. For flavor and aroma add Kenya, Kona, or Sumatran. For winey, earthy elements add Ethiopian, Kenyan or Yemen.

Only Use Freshly Roasted Coffee: This is probably the most important requirement for a perfect cup of coffee. Remember, coffee is an agricultural product and once it is roasted, it will begin to deteriorate and will be stale in about ten days.

Measure Accurately: We recommend two level tablespoons for every six ounces of water. Adjust to preferred taste.

Grind: Use the correct grind for your type of coffee maker. Too fine a grind will cause over-extraction, resulting in bitter-tasting coffee. A grind that is too coarse will allow the water to flow too rapidly, resulting in a weak watery coffee.

Keep It Clean: Rinse the carafe and brew basket after each brew. Also, wipe the spray head area after each use.

Storage: Always store beans in an air-tight container in your freezer.

Selecting a Supplier: Your coffee supplier must be someone you can trust, someone who knows enough about coffee to understand his product and how to satisfy your personal taste demands. Some considerations in selecting a supplier: Does he roast? How often? Is he sure that each coffee he is selling is the type it is represented to be? Is he knowledgeable about the characteristics of the coffees he is selling? How does he store his coffee - hopefully not next to the pickle barrel? Does he seem to be aware of the importance of freshness? Remember, you are paying a premium price for specialty coffees and you should demand the very best quality. The trust you place in your supplier should be earned.

Conclusion: As you can see, purchasing fine coffees involves some basic education, but your efforts will be rewarded with the pleasure and satisfaction that is found in a hot, fragrant cup of premium coffee. If you need additional help, call 978.440.9752, email or drop into our shop - we are here to serve you.

"I believe humans get a lot done, not because we're smart, but because we have thumbs so we can make coffee" - Flash Rosenberg


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