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Very nice article from Wine Spectator

Though the effects of terroir on coffee have not been studied as thoroughly as the impact of terroir on wine, altitude is universally acknowledged as a key factor in quality coffee. "High altitude produces big temperature fluctuations, and it helps to increase the volatile compounds of the brew and the organic acids content,"

Despite going through a production process that's at least as complicated as that of wine, coffee, specialty coffee in particular, has an X factor that wine doesn't have-you. While wine is fully finished and ready to enjoy once purchased, coffee requires the customer to be, in effect, part winemaker. That means buying freshly roasted beans, grinding them properly and only as needed, using filtered water at the right temperature, employing good equipment, and drinking the coffee promptly. Let's not even think about the slew of milk products, sweeteners and other adulterations. Keep that in mind the next time you enjoy a cup of coffee, or a glass of wine.

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Excellent points on all counts. Those of us who home roast are well aware that not all varietals are created equally. Despite sharing the same altitude and being geographically close to one another, there are often estates that grow superior beans to what some neighboring operations may offer. The Guatemalan, Costa Rican or Nicaraguan et al coffee that you buy at Starbucks or in a local cafe will often be very good but even better examples of these varietals are available to home roasters and discerning commercial roasters. The best estate coffees get cupped and assessed by the buyers and sell out quickly at auctions.

Like wine, there are also variations from year to year and crop to crop. Properly stored, green beans have a useful life of one to two years. There has been discussion on the Home Roast List, alt.coffee and elsewhere about the viability of vacuum sealing and freezing green beans to prolong their useful life but there does not seem to be a consensus about how useful this is.

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Hello,

George Howell of the new Terroir Coffee company has been freezing green for over 4 years. If done properly, the aging is slowed dramatically without degrading any good aspects of the coffee.

Terroir is so very applicable to coffee, but it's difficult to taste through all the defects that are present in almost all specialty coffee. The coffee needs to be ripe and clean, then the terroir should shine through. A new coffee age is now beginning, full of exploration and revelation.

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A new coffee age is now beginning, full of exploration and revelation.

I absolutely agree with you on this point! And, yet another addition to your thinking, I think we will see an entirely new appreciation of teas .. we are already!

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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