Premium coffee is coffee made from uniquely flavored beans that are processed with special care. This type of coffee is usually relatively expensive, but is preferred by some people for its taste. Premium coffee beans are typically grown at select geographical locations, such as parts of the Caribbean.
There are a number of different stages that coffee goes through before being delivered to the consumer. The beans are usually planted, grown, and harvested at a single location before being relocated elsewhere to be roasted, packaged and shipped around the world. The production of premium coffee often depends on specialists doing these jobs in each of these production stages.
Coffee beans must be planted not only in the right type of soil, but also at the correct altitude to stimulate their growth. Premium coffee is often grown in microclimates, which are atmospheric zones with special properties that differ from the surrounding area. Microclimates are often used for also growing other crops that require specific heat and humidity conditions.
Another important aspect in preserving the potential of premium coffee is picking the coffee beans at the right time. This is a process called harvesting, that typically involves a group of workers that gather and collect coffee cherries when they are ripe and ready for processing. During this phase, the cherries are peeled and cleaned. This raw product is called green coffee. When producing premium coffee, it is often crucial that a coffee cherry is dried at the right pace and stored at optimum conditions to turn it into a coffee bean.
Various methods exist for roasting and brewing coffee into the final product. The main goal of a coffee roaster is to use the right equipment and techniques in order to preserve the unique flavor of the beans. Roasting involves heating the beans at the right temperature until they expand and change properties, such as color and taste. The beans may then be ground or crushed into smaller particles to prepare them for brewing. Specialty coffee requires these particles to be of an exact size to preserve their quality.
The final process in coffee-making is usually brewing. Coffee can be prepared and served in various ways. Espresso and cappuccino are examples of specific coffee drinks. Brewing premium coffee usually entails boiling ground beans in a certain quality and quantity of water, at the right temperature. Before beans are packaged and shipped, most specialty producers brew and taste their product to ensure it holds up to the desired standards of quality.