January 17, 2020
Daily Coffee Review
The coffee gods spoke to me, they whispered “illy Classico Espresso“, that was just before I made my first feeble attempt to slide out of bed. There was a chill in the air this morning as I got out of bed, you know the kind of chill that makes you want to jump back in and forget the morning has come for just another 5 minutes. Alas, when I finally made it to my trusted friend, the Bonavita, she was patiently waiting as always, and ready to create her morning magic brew.
Today I chose the Illy Classico Espresso because when it’s winter in Florida, and there’s a slight chill of air in the morning here, it usually makes me crave something dark and bold, but it wasn’t really cold outside, so I didn’t want to overshoot and go with espresso. What better choice then to go with an espresso roast? What better choice than to go with Italian coffee? You can never go wrong with Illy, it’s never let me down on a chilly morning. So here we go.
Bonavita 8- Cup Stainless Steel
Coffee Water Temperature
202 Degrees Fahrenheit / 94 Degree Celsius
Melitta 8-12 Cup Natural Brown Coffee Filter
Illy Classico Espresso ground coffee is a medium roast coffee with 9 of the finest Arabica coffee sources in the world.
The coffee aroma is rich and sweet. You can pickup the chocolate and deep caramel notes in the coffee.
Since this is a medium roast coffee you might expect a more neutral body, that’s definitely not the case here, there’s a rich element that would otherwise be apparent in a darker roast coffee. The espresso notes are clearly there, but the balance is amazing because it’s not strong or heavy, it’s perfectly balanced to allow the flavors to express themselves on the palate without going too far. Seriously, every time I drink this coffee I say to myself “Someone at illy really knows coffee”. I’m saying that again right now. The body of the coffee is incredible.
The coffee sweetness is very good. I sense the dark bitter chocolate on my tongue, but it’s not so bitter that I’m salivating, it’s giving me just enough of a hint of chocolate to make me want something a little sweet for breakfast. I’ll say it again, someone at illy really knows coffee.
The coffee acidity is coffee medium.
The coffee mouthfeel is richer than you would normally get with a standard medium body coffee, but I like it, it’s making me think, “How can this be a medium roast coffee, what did illy do to make this so enjoyable?”
The coffee finish is smooth and clean, it almost reminds with of a Costa Rica coffee blend, or maybe a Puerto Rico coffee blend. As the coffee cools a bit I get a little less staying power on the mid palate which I’d expect from just about any coffee and the chocolate richness fades just a bit. I’m still tasting the rich dark chocolate and wishing my wife had made some scones or maybe even a cozonac. This coffee will pair very well with something sweet.
Someone at illy really knows coffee! The illy Classico Espresso ground coffee is very good. It’s got everything that makes a coffee great; the rich dark chocolate aroma, the hints of caramel, balanced flavor, medium acidity and beautiful body. This coffee is certainty something that should be in your cupboard as a good to in case of a coffee emergency because it always delivers. I understand some of you reading this will argue this isn’t meant to be a blend for coffee but rather espresso, I respect that, but I love a great cup of coffee regardless of how it’s made, therefore I reserve the right to make it the way I like it (enjoy!).
Coffee Rating Score
illy Classico Espresso Ground Coffee Score: 93 points / 100
Read Part 2 of this Post
Is All Coffee The Same?
We have already discussed how coffees that are laden with heavy creams and sugars will not have the same health benefits as black coffee. However, what about the different beans, roasts and brewing methods? According to Science Daily, the beneficial compounds per serving of coffee vary depending on the bean, the roasting method, and the brewing method.
What does this mean for you and the reduced risk of cancer?
Well, it may not mean that much. One study showed a decreased risk for colorectal cancer regardless of what flavor or for the coffee was.
Coffee May Even Help If You Already Have Cancer
While many studies focused on the reduction of risk that coffee can give a person for getting cancer, one unique study looked at the effects of coffee on those who already had cancer. This study followed people who were in stage III colon cancer. This study found that in those who had remission from their cancer, drinking two cups of coffee daily was associated with a reduced risk of cancer recurrence and even death from colon cancer. CBS News reports that this protection was even higher for those who were drinking four to five cups of coffee daily.
The interesting part of this study was that it analyzed the consumption of non-herbal teas, decaf coffee or single cup of coffee drinks. There was no significant benefit to any of those who drank those beverages. The benefit was only seen when two or more caffeinated coffee beverages were drunk daily.
Is Coffee A Magic Bullet?
When it comes to health and reduced risks for cancer, anything that has the track record for risk reduction that coffee does could easily be labeled a magic bullet. The thing to remember about coffee is that it does not come without its own set of risks. Those who are sensitive to caffeine may not find the 3-4 cups of coffee a day necessary to reduce cancer risk tolerable. High levels of caffeine can also interfere with your sleep cycle and can cause irritations to the bladder and bowel.
If you already love coffee, here is just another reason to fill your mug. If you can’t stand the stuff, you can get antioxidants from plenty of other sources. Though they may not have the same effect that coffee does, they probably won’t leave you with the jitters either. Coffee is one drink that may do more than just wake you up.
Read Part 1 of this Post
Can Coffee Really Lower Cancer Risk?
I know it sounds like something that is too good to be true. This news is exciting, especially if you are one of the millions of Americans who wake up every day to one or more cups of coffee. Early research showed that coffee might have increased the risk of cancer, so what changed?
According to the American Cancer Society, the scale and design of the studies have been the main factors in changing these conclusions. The ACS also notes that these studies are based on black coffee. When a news article talks about the benefits of 4 cups of coffee a day, they don’t mean coffee loaded with cream or sugar. Those coffee drinks with added fat and calories may increase weight and cause an increase in risk for certain types of cancer.
What’s In Coffee That Makes It So Great?
Now that we have established that coffee can help to lower the risk of cancer, what exactly is in coffee that makes it a good cancer fighter?
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, several things in coffee make it a likely cancer fighter.
Chlorogenic Acid: An antioxidant and major phenol in coffee
Quinic Acid: A phytochemical in coffee that gives it its acidic taste
Cafestol: Only found in unfiltered coffee like French press or boiled coffee
Kahweol: Only found in unfiltered coffee like French press or boiled coffee
Caffeine: Stimulates the central nervous system
N-Methylpyridinium (NMB): An antioxidant in coffee that is created through the roasting process
Riboflavin: Vitamin B2
Antioxidants, phytochemicals, phenols, and vitamins all play an important role in the body. While the research is still out on exactly how these compounds work within the human system, it is known that they can help reduce the risks of many diseases and cancers.
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Many Studies Show Coffee To Lower Risks For Cancer
For years, the World Health Organization described coffee as “possibly carcinogenic,” and it had even linked it to increased risks of bladder cancer. However, an announcement made in 2016 reversed all of that with an announcement that found it had quite the opposite effects.
The New York Times reports that drinking coffee has been shown to lower rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, neurological disorders and several types of cancers. Now there is strong evidence that three to five cups of coffee a day could reduce several systemic diseases, including multiple types of cancer.
Why is Coffee Suddenly Good?
For years, studies have shown a link between the consumption of coffee and increased risks for cancers and increased mortality rates. Sudden changes in these results can raise questions. When looking into the change in research Web M.D. discusses that early studies failed to take into consideration other high-risk activities.
Coffee drinkers who smoked three packs of cigarettes a day were evaluated similarly to coffee drinkers who were nonsmokers. The same was true of other risk factors like physical inactivity. Heavy coffee drinkers tended to have higher than average risks from other sources for cancers. This oversight is possibly one of the reasons that coffee had such a bad reputation.
How Does Coffee Fight Cancer?
So what is it about coffee that helps fight off cancer? There are several ways that the consumption of coffee has been linked to the reduction of risk for various cancers.
Depending on the type of gene a woman has, drinking at least two to three cups of coffee daily can reduce risks for developing breast cancer or possibly delay its onset (Lund University and Malmö University in Sweden)
Oral cancer is reduced by 39% when 4 or more cups of coffee are consumed a day (American Association For Cancer Research)
Researchers at the University of Southern California Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center of Keck Medicine examined more than 5,100 men and women who were suffering from colorectal cancer and also 4,000 women and men who have never suffered from the diseases (control group). Researchers reported the finding that coffee was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer, and the more coffee the subjects drank, the lower their risk became.
Both men and women see a 40% reduction in certain forms of brain cancer (Holick, et al, published on The American Association For Cancer Research)
Colon cancer patients saw a decrease in recurrence of 42% with 4 or more cups of coffee a day.
3 cups of coffee a day can delay the onset of breast cancers (WebMD)
41% reduction in liver cancer risk if you drink 1-3 cups of coffee a day (Bravi et al, Meta-Analysis study conducted at the Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri in Milan, Italy)
Coffee drinkers are less likely to develop melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. (Loftfield, et al, published in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute)
60% reduction in prostate cancer risk by men who consume 6 cups of coffee a day (Science Daily)
Women who consume 3 cups of coffee have lowered uterine cancer rates
All this new research has come out in the last 20 years to show how the longevity of coffee drinkers varies, and their long-term risks are lowered.
Read Part 2 of this Post
Mmmmm, warm coffee in one hand and rich, dark chocolate in the other…There seems to be a natural draw attracting coffee and chocolate together making them a fabulous pair. Coffee enhances the flavors of chocolate. Both coffee and chocolate have a variety of unique flavors and independently complex, and when paired together can create delicious combinations.
Enjoy a few of these pairing selections yourself or have a few of your friends over for a pairing party! Here are some handy hints on how to perform your own coffee and chocolate tasting.
Let’s get started on how to do a tasting with a few recommended pairings, but first, let’s first begin by talking about the basic elements.
Quick Guide to Chocolate Alone
Before we pair up these two delights, let’s talk about chocolate alone done as a tasting to first lay the foundation for the pairing to come. Savor the process of setting up the tasting. Use your senses as both the chocolate and its packaging give certain impressions and expectations of the taste to come. This all contributes to your sensory enjoyment.
Smell- bring the chocolate up to your nose and inhale its aroma. Is there a distinct smell, subtle scents like vanilla, spices, or fruit flavors?
Appearance- chocolate should have a nice sheen to it. Depending on the type of chocolate and the percentage of cocoa in it, you’ll see the different shades of darkness.
Sound- Listen for a “snap” sound when you break off a piece. Quality chocolate breaks with ease and neatly. Dark chocolate has a clear, sharp snap, milk or white chocolate has a more gentle snap because of the milk content.
Touch- High-quality chocolate should melt with your body temperature. While holding a piece of chocolate between your thumb and finger, gently rub. When the chocolate begins to melt, feel the texture- it should be smooth. It should never be sandy or rough.
Taste- Now, try a small piece. Let the chocolate sit on your tongue and melt. Inhale through your mouth and out through the nose. This allows the flavors and aromas to fully activate your senses. Chew the piece 3-5 times and concentrate on the taste and texture. Is it spicy, sweet or salty? Fruity or nutty? Can you tell which fruits? Is it earthy? Use all the regions of your tongue and try to identify all the various flavors.
Basics of a Great Pairing
Something to keep in mind when putting together a pairing is flavor combination. Start with the basic flavors you might want to taste like sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. Sometimes these flavors are straightforward while other times the flavor may be more subtle.
This is a big one…pay attention to the acidity in the coffee. Perceived acidity in coffee has a direct correlation with the growing conditions of the coffee as well as the altitude. Make sure you are using freshly roasted, quality coffee to ensure the best cup.
Some coffees will have deep layers of complexity, with strong flavors like dark chocolate or pepper. For example, high-quality coffee from Bolivia may display notes of chocolate and citrus and big acidity, versus Sumatran coffee with complex flavor profiles that are earthy and sweet. Bitterness can be balanced out by sweet or salty flavors while tart can balance spice and sweetness.
Here’s the thing…there are no rules about what chocolates go with certain coffees, so it’s just an experiment! Don’t worry about using a particular vocabulary to describe what you taste. It’s an individual event! All these pairings will give you different results, so the goal is to find what you think are the best combinations.
Coffee and Chocolate Pairing Ideas
Here are some examples to get you started on coffee and chocolate pairings that you might find taste great together.
Espresso and Dark Chocolates
Like a romantic experience, try a robust Espresso with bold dark chocolate. This pairing is a date in heaven with the smooth, rich roast that dances well with chocolates with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg or caramel chocolates. The creamy chocolate notes in the espresso will mimic the chocolate itself.
Spicy Chocolates and Brazilian Roasts
This spicy love story starts with a Brazilian roast paired with a light or dark chocolate. Experiment trying either chocolate with almonds or cashews and expect then to dance nicely with the fruity notes in a sweet coffee.
Fruity Chocolates and Guatemalan Roasts
Try an exotic Guatemalan Reserve Roast. The hints of cherry, chocolate, and cocoa powder will balance well with dark chocolates, chocolate with spices, or chocolates with a hint of vanilla or orange.
- Exotics + Dark Chocolate
- Classic Roasts + Milk Chocolate
- Mellow + Milk Chocolate with Whole Almonds
- Espresso + 70% Dark Chocolate
- Espresso with milk + 70% Dark Chocolate
- Lush + Milk Chocolate with Toffee and Sea Salt
- Bold + White Chocolate with Strawberries
- Dark Roast + Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts
How to do a Chocolate and Coffee Pairing
Before You Start:
- Chocolate should be unopened and at room temperature
- Coffee should be properly brewed and fresh
- Take notes about the flavor elements you experience
Open the packaging slowly, inhale and break off small pieces and put them in a ceramic or glass bowl. Placing your hands on the bottom of the bowl, bring your nose to the rim of the bowl and inhale deeply to experience the aroma. Write down your initial thoughts.
Using fresh-brewed French Press coffee, pour it into a clean ceramic or glass cup to cool. Bring your nose to the coffee rim and smell the aroma. Write down your thoughts.
As the coffee cools, begin by taking a square of chocolate and put it into your mouth resting on the tongue and let it slightly melt. Chew the chocolate and coat your tongue while feeling the texture. Think about the aroma, the texture, and the length of time it takes to melt. Think about the flavors you are experiencing and then take a sip of coffee. When you have finally swallowed the chocolate, consider the flavor and how long it lingers. Write down your thoughts or share them with your friends in the tasting. Savor all the aromas and flavors. Take your time and taste the combination again. Did anything change? Are there new flavors? Aftertastes? Write down your thoughts.
Immediately take another sip of coffee and note how the flavors combine with the chocolate you have just tasted. Do the flavors and aromas go well together or contradict each other? Maybe one is more detectable than the other? Write down your thoughts and share with the others.
Chocolate and Coffee Pairings
Try lots of combinations of different coffee and chocolate until you discover your favorite pairing. Have a tasting party to get creative. Explain to friends that there are no rules, only what they like and see who comes up with the most creative combination.
Coffee and Chocolate are like two peas in a pod. Literately! The reason cacao and coffee have such a kindred connection has to do with their production being so similar. Coffee and cacao come from a common latitude, both are seeds of a tropical fruit that are fermented and dried at their origin, and both are carefully roasted to bring out their flavor profiles.
Climates and growing conditions must be just right to grow the best beans in the world. Many generations, through trial and error, have given coffee growers a good understanding of what a coffee bean needs to thrive, and taste incredible. Coffee needs warm weather year-round, generous rainfall, and abundant amounts of sunshine.
Where Is Coffee Grown?
The coffee tree is a tropical evergreen shrub and grows best in what’s known as the “Bean Belt” which is the ideal condition for coffee trees to thrive.
The region known as the Bean Belt extends to the north by the Tropic of Cancer and to the south by the Tropic of Capricorn, and from Hawaii to Indonesia, across the Americas, Africa, and Eurasia; or between latitudes 25 degrees North and 30 degrees South
There are more than 75 coffee-producing countries, each with their own characteristics that give them unique identities. Things like soil, rainfall, and sunlight affect the characteristics of the coffee beans; however, it’s the attitude that can make coffee truly unique. Coffee can grow at lower altitudes but it can over-ripen or receive too much moisture. The beans grown at higher elevations are the ones with just a bit more zing. For example, Arabica grows best at high altitudes in rich soil, while the heartier Robusta thrives at a higher temperature and can do well at lower altitudes.
Many of the top coffee-producing nations are well-known; however, some may come as a surprise. Around 70 countries produce coffee, with the overwhelming majority of the supply coming from developing countries like Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, and Ethiopia.
Top 5 Coffee Producers in the World
Introduced in the early 18th century by French settlers, it became quite popular among Europeans. Brazil quickly became the world’s largest producer in 1840 and continued since. In 2014, Brazil produced 2.7 million metric tons of coffee, which was 30% of the world’s production. Over 300,000 plantations extend over more than 10,000 square miles of the Brazilian countryside. Brazilian production continues to be the driving force for the country’s economy.
Second, only to Brazil, being relatively new to the international coffee trade, Vietnam has quickly become one of the largest producers. In the 1980s, the Communist Party bet the future of the nation on coffee. Coffee production increased 20 to 30% each year in the 1990s, totally transforming the nation’s economy. In 2014, Vietnam produced 1.65 million metric tons of coffee.
The National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia created the fictional coffee farmer named Juan Valdez to help brand Colombia as one of the most famous coffee-producing nations. Colombia is renowned for its quality coffee and produced 696,000 metric tons in 2014. However, some think Colombian coffee production may have been negatively impacted by the fluctuations in climate. Temperatures and precipitation amounts have increased from 1980 to 2010. Yet, Colombia is still the highest-producing nation of arabica beans.
Not nearly as well-known, Indonesia’s perfect location and climate helped it become the second-largest exporter of robusta beans in the world. The Indonesian coffee industry is made up of 1.5 million independent small farms and only a few large-scale operations. It produced 411,000 metric tons of coffee in 2014.
Indonesia produces several types of highly sought-after specialty coffees. Kopi Luwak is harvested from the feces of Asian palm civets giving the beans a distinctive and unique flavor. This intensive process of collecting and harvesting the beans results in one of the most expensive coffee beans in the world.
According to legend, a goat herder took notice of the plant when he realized the energizing effect it had on his herd. And the rest was history as the very first arabica coffee plant was found there in the ninth century.
Coffee played an integral role in the development of the Ethiopian economy. Ethiopia’s 1.2 million smallholder farmers contribute over 90% of production, and an estimated 15 million Ethiopians depend on the industry for their living. As the largest coffee producer in Africa, it produced 390,000 metric tons of coffee in 2014.