The Coffee Club

Featured selections of the Coffee of the Month Club are brought to you exclusively as a club member only after meeting the highest standards of our taste-testing professionals. Each month we sample dozens of 100% Arabica, fresh-roasted coffees from award-winning, specialty growers around the globe. Only our favorites are judged acceptable as selections of the Coffee of the Month Club.

And it is a wonderful gift, but there are a lot of decisions. First off - do you make it a social pleasing gourmet coffee? Do you go Fair Trade or not Fair Trade? Do you go Song Bird Certified and Ran Forest Aliance or not? Do you go Organic or Not? And some benevolent coffee companies are even giving their profits to homeless children - some even help homeless children. So where do you start? It seems like it's a great gift and why not help someone too.

So let's start with Fair Trade. I highly recommend Fair Trade but let's be very careful and choose the right Fair Trade. To be Fair Trade all a company has to do is pay over $1.50 per pound for the coffee. Amazing how many US companies are Fair Trade but actually only pay a higher price for bad coffee and then use the Fair Trade Logo to charge consumers a higher price. So please check out the Fair Trade Company - over 85% are bogus. Look at their web site and find their Fair Trade program. Most won't have one documented so don't buy from them. They should have evidence of helping a single farmer or his family not just a paid for logo. And if you are unsure about the companies' Fair Trade then choose a coffee company with a cause. These coffee for a cause will genrally help alot more people than a Fair Trade ever thought about.

There is an even crazier certification - The Song Bird or Tree Shade Aliance - which consumers are now also looking for in their coffee - but its even more absurd. Look at the companies that have this certification. Most Fair Trade US companies are just importers and not really helping on the farmer level. Even worse there is no administration or watch dog. So you could be Song Bird certified today and cut all your trees down tomorrow for lumber and still have your Song Bird certification intact. Again it's just a bad marketing ploy to help people feel good about their coffee.

So you picked the charity coffee helping homeless children now what? It's time to pick the roast i.e. picks the flavor you think will appeal most to your gift recipient. Roasting brings out the aroma and flavor that is locked inside the green coffee beans. A green bean has none of the characteristics of a roasted bean. It is soft and spongy to the bite and smells green, almost 'grassy.' Roasting causes numerous chemical changes to take place as the beans are rapidly brought to very high temperatures. When they reach the peak of perfection, they are quickly cooled to stop the process. Roasted beans smell like coffee, and weigh less because the moisture has been roasted out. They are crunchy to the bite, ready to be ground and brewed.

Within the four color categories, you are likely to find common roasts as listed below. But it is a good idea to ask before you buy. There can be a world of difference between roast types, But there are four main roast types: Light, mild, medium and dark roast. The longer it roast the darker the color, the darker the color the more flavor but also as it gets too dark, bitterness starts showing up too. Summary: Light Roasts - a very light brown in color and little aroma. This roast is the best medium roast or mild roast varities. There will be no oil on the surface of these beans, because they are not roasted long enough for the oils to break through the surface. Other names of Light are Half; Half Light or Light City the Mild/ Medium Roasts -- medium brown in color with a stronger flavor, and a non-oily surface. This roast is often referred to as the American roast because it is generally preferred in the USA. Also known as Breakfast Blend.

The Medium Roasts -- rich, darker color with some oil on the surface and with a slight bittersweet aftertaste. Sometimes they are also called a House roast or a Signature Roast. Dark Roasts -- shiny black beans with an oily surface and a pronounced bitterness. The darker the roast the more bitterness but less acid. Dark roast coffees run from slightly dark to char and the names are often used interchangeably which can be very confusing. Be sure to check your beans before you buy them! Varieties of the dark are called Italian, Espresso, New Orleans, Continental, High, European, Vienna, Viennese, French, or Dark Negro. These are great strong full bodied coffee.

Now all you have to do is choose which country of coffee you want. And since this is a gift I recommend you go with a consistent and flavorful but smooth coffee. The best three gourmet coffee countries are Costa Rica, Brazil and Columbia. All three coffee coutries offer rich and smooth gourmet coffee that is ure to please. Any other country will work but you never know which flavor you are getting and the consistency is less than desired.

So the monthly delivery or coffee club is an outstanding gift and gives you many options to choose from. Hopefully you can use these choices to make a nice gift and to help mankind too.

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About The Author, Boake Moore
Boake Moore is an IT salesman and owns a great gourmet coffee company called Mission Grounds http://www.missiongrounds.com - that donates all its profits to helping homeless children and orphans. http://www.missiongrounds.com/ourstory.php