A 2010 article claimed that January is International Gourmet Coffee Month. I did a double-take after reading it. Is that an annual thing or what?
But what’s even more curious is what this animal called “gourmet” coffee is. If you read the linked article, you’d see that there is a perception that the ability (guts) to try and appreciate civet coffee is one of the tests to determine if you are a coffee connoisseur. And I go What? Residents of Indang, Cavite and Batangas who had been collecting civet droppings and drinking civet coffee for decades as part of their daily diet would be amused.
And that got me thinking. When does coffee become “gourmet” coffee? Is it the price? The rarity? Or is it the flavor — which, at best, is subjective since what tastes good or bad is a matter of personal preference? Or, is it the hype surrounding a particular variety of coffee? If high price and lots of hype are the only things that comprise the collective standard for determining what gourmet coffee is, then civet coffee would be at the top of the list. But if flavor were factored in, it would be scratched off the list.
See, I’ve tried the overpriced and overhyped civet (alamid) coffee and I although I did not find it disagreeable, that’s a far cry from saying that it is spectacular and deserving of the exorbitant price and hype-with-no-end-in-sight.
Am I just not sufficiently a connoisseur to pass judgment? Who is qualified to judge if coffee passes the gourmet test? So, I searched Google for whatever there is about gourmet coffee but still didn’t find anything definitive.
I noticed, however, two related things: (1) The use of the term “gourmet coffee” is a marketing buzz term that hopes to confuse people into thinking that (2) gourmet coffee and specialty coffee mean the same thing.
Specialty coffee is prime coffee beans (Arabica) grown in the best soil and the most ideal climate. There are specialty coffee associations and federations that grade coffee beans to determine if they pass the specialty coffee test.
Gourmet coffee doesn’t mean anything. So, better not get caught bandying the term around thinking it makes you look knowledgeable. On the contrary, it only makes you look like a fool or, worse, it makes you sound like a con artist.
Whatever, really. I like my coffee, period. I like it plain, I like it fancy, I like it spiced, I even like it cold sometimes. I like it with chocolate and I like coffee in my dessert too. And, yes, I like to spike my coffee with alcohol occasionally. Like this.
I brew my coffee as usual. I use a stove top percolator and I let the coffee boil for about five minutes before I turn the heat off. If you use another kind of percolator or a coffee press or if you use the drip-type coffee maker, just make your coffee the usual way.
I measure the spirits that will go into it. It is quite alright to mix them together.
I pour my coffee into a mug.
And add the spirits.
The hot drink is stirred and topped with whipped cream. It’s warming and rich and so good. But to call it gourmet coffee would be an insult.
Based on a recipe in Mexican Cooking by Jane Milton, Anness Publishing Ltd., 2007.
Measure your ground coffee. It’s usually one tablespoonful per cup of water but I suggest you make it a little stronger than usual this time.
Brew your coffee.
Pour 3/4 cup of coffee into a cup.
Add the Kahlua and tequila. Stir.
Top with whipped cream or just plain cream. Add sugar to taste, stir and enjoy!