Wake up and smell the premium coffee

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Be bean smart on hunt for good caffeine

IT CAN be very confusing when faced with the array of choices a coffee lover finds at one’s local supermarket. As with most consumer goods, coffee does come in various guises.

COFFEE KING: Chief roaster of Cutman & Hawk Coffees and East London Coffee Co founder Alan Hawkins wants to make sure you buy the best coffee

Quite sadly, many of the labels and attractive packages are intentionally designed to mislead. For example, the words “pure coffee” or “premium-selected” does not necessarily mean it’s high-quality Arabica coffee.

The bag might still contain Robusta (Coffea Canephora) which, although this is biologically still a coffee, is a fairly tasteless and low-cost bean which is used as an extender or filler.

Robusta rarely contributes anything to the quality of a specific blend. Be assured that if a coffee is marked as 100% Arabica, this is the starting point of your hunt for premium coffee.

In addition to the inclusion of Robusta, many blends contain quantities of low-grade Arabica beans.

Sadly, there is no way of knowing this, so price and brand recognition will have to be your guide.

To summarise then, first look for the exact phrase “100% Arabica”. This will eliminate most of the coffees.

Now look for the words “premium quality” or similar, and also phrases which indicate the freshness of the product – coffee is, after all, a foodstuff and as such will deteriorate over time.

If you’re still struggling between a few coffees, perhaps eliminate any coffee which is significantly cheaper.

Look for the more expensive locally produced coffee which is sure to contain the best quality beans while also meeting the other criteria.

Remember that whether it’s coffee, cream or cabbages – buying local will help your community.

“Today’s good mood is sponsored by coffee.” – Author unknown

●Alan Hawkins is the chief roaster of Cutman & Hawk Coffees and founder of the East London Coffee Co. www.elcoffee.co.za

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