It almost goes without saying that all of Aroma's coffee comes from Arabica beans. This high altitude species produces superior quality coffees, which possess the greatest flavor and aromatic characteristics. While Arabica production represents 80% of the world's coffee trade, only 10% of this meets specialty coffee standards like Aroma's.
Critical to the premier quality of Aroma's coffee is that our coffee beans come from shade grown trees. Shade cover is particularly important to delicate, high altitude ecosystems because the trees provide a home for hundreds of species of birds that consume many of the bugs and natural pests that can damage a coffee crop. Without this natural balance, harsh and toxic chemicals are often used to control pests. Sure, these beans cost a little more, but we think their aromatic flavor and contribution to a healthy growing environment make them more than worth their price. In tune with Aroma's quest for the best, we also take great pride in delivering the finest organic coffees grown. Aroma Coffee is a Certified Organic Roaster. This means that in every step of the process -- from certifying how the beans are grown, sorted and distributed to the sanctioning of Aroma's roasting methods -- great care is taken to ensure international standards of organic excellence.
Aroma's concern for quality also extends to our vision of giving back something extra to the families who help grow the coffee that we purchase. To this, Aroma is a regular donor member of Coffee Kids (http://www.coffeekids.org/), an international non-profit organization that helps children and families who live in coffee-growing communities around the world. We think helping connect people with ideas and resources to improve their futures makes every cup of Aroma Coffee taste even a little bit better.
What do we look for in the flavor of the beans we choose? Since coffee is the number two world export (behind oil), there are countless varieties of beans from which to choose. Aroma always looks for beans with three essential qualities; flavor, body and acidity. While the terms are simple enough, it is discerning and combining their distinct attributes that determine the outcome of the final product. Flavor is the taste of the bean itself. Body describes the depth and fullness of a bean, and acidity is the brightness or sparkle. While it is important for all beans to have outstanding flavor, when it comes to body and acidity, most beans are usually stronger in one area than the other.
Here are a few examples of how on a bean-by-bean basis we judge the attributes that contribute to the outstanding tastes of Aroma roasts. When it comes to flavor, our Costa Rican Tarrazu is a standout. It is an exceptional bean with not only great flavor, but also the rare quality of having equally terrific body and acidity. (And, luckily for our customers, supplies of this delicious but limited Costa Rican Tarrazu are assured for the next several growing seasons due to a special relationship we have with the small plantation providing our beans.) As for acidity, the Kenyan beans that we use in our Kenya AA roast are hard to beat. They are prized for their high levels of acidity and great flavor. And, when it comes to body, beans from Sumatra tend to have lots of it. A great example is our Organic Sumatra Mandheling. We mix and blend beans with various attributes to achieve balanced blends of the finest flavors, body and acidity. Two of our most popular blends are Aroma's Best Dark and our Organic Blacklightning. These blends are prime examples of the whole becoming greater than the sum of its parts.
Organic coffees are grown without the use of the dangerous chemical pesticides and fertilizers that are commonly used on large, commercial plantations.
Organic coffees are generally grown on small, family owned farms and under diversified shade cover. We purchase organics whenever possible. In some countries, however, organics simply are not available.
These are a single or straight coffee from one region or country of origin. Estate coffees are produced by a single plantation.
As the name suggests, blends are coffees comprised of a mixture of two or more varietals, or straight coffees.
These coffees rely on the palette and experience of our cupping team to create just the right bean combination and proportions.
To be termed decaffeinated, a coffee must have at least 97% of its naturally existing caffeine removed. After roasting, Arabica coffees contain roughly 1 to 1.5 percent caffeine by weight.
Swiss Water Process Decafs (SWP): "Swiss Water Process" decaf is a trade name of a company named Coffex. In this method, coffee beans are treated in a hot water bath, but instead of introducing methylene chloride to bond with the caffeine, the solution of caffeine and coffee oils is passed through an activated charcoal filter. The result is a good tasting decaf, free of chemicals.
European Process Decafs: Methylene chloride is selective to caffeine and removes little else from the coffee during the decaffeination process. For this reason, and because the solvent boils at 98 degrees Fahrenheit, nothing detectable remains in a brewed cup of coffee. It is why many experts prefer this method of decaffeination.
For those who enjoy flavors not naturally present in coffee, Aroma applies the finest quality flavorings like vanilla, hazelnut, chocolate, and others after roasting.