Do You Know Where Your Coffee Comes From?

Where To Find The Best Tasting Espresso Coffee

A sack of high quality coffee beansAs an enthusiastic coffee drinker you have two basic options of which type of coffee to drink: regular or specialty. For many ‘regular’ coffee brings forth images of row upon row of instant coffee on supermarket shelves. Specialty on the other hand makes us think of the high quality, wonderful taste and aroma of Italian-style coffees, the heart of which is ‘espresso’, enjoyed by millions of people around the world.

What’s special about the coffee bean?

For you to enjoy any one of the many great flavors of Espresso, it all starts with a top quality bean. These beans are grown in differing geographic micro-climates in many different countries. Each location – even in different areas of the same large coffee plantation – produces a coffee bean featuring a unique flavor.

When you sit down to relax with a cup of your favorite espresso coffee, you want to be drinking the best, in terms of flavor, it can be. For that to happen, the quality of the coffee bean needs to be at its optimal best. Like many things in life, specialty coffees are by no means equal in terms of quality and taste. Their flavor and qualities depend very much on where and how the coffee bean is grown; some types prefer full sun while others prefer shade.

Coffee growing regions of the world

What’s not widely acknowledged is that the best coffee beans in the world come from among those countries that straddle the equator, in what’s known as “The Bean Belt”, located between 25° North and 30° South (which is between the two tropics). And they usually need some mountains too because the highest quality crops tend to be grown at heights of at least 4,500 feet above sea level.

What causes the different coffee flavors?

What truly astounds many specialty espresso lovers is that there are more than 800 active ingredients in a single cup of coffee with each and every single one of them impacting upon the flavor. This why the best-loved coffee beans such as Arabica, Robusta and Kona all have such different tastes and aromas.

Everything from the variety of the bean, the make-up of of the soil, the different temperatures, strength and direction of the prevailing winds, the amounts of sunshine and rainfall, and even the precise altitude at which the crop is grown will all affect the taste of the harvested bean.

For gourmet coffee drinks, such as the latte and cappuccino, espresso is always the base ingredient. Irrespective of where it is grown, espresso coffee always has a full, dark, and strong depth of flavor which it needs when combining with the other ingredients like milk, sugar and, for some, flavored syrups to produce such a consistently delicious brew.

Why do shade grown coffee trees produce a better tasting bean?

With shade-grown coffee trees the berries mature more slowly than on those grown out in the open sun. What this means is the crop is smaller in volume and comes on later, but the flavor is richer and mellower. These two factors combine to produce the ideal bean for making espresso coffee. It is a fact that sun-ripened cherries can be bitter and sharp compared to shade-grown cherries.

Besides the fact that shade-grown coffee generally tastes better, there are some highly significant environmental reasons to choose this type of coffee over others. You see, most of the land cleared for coffee plantations was originally tropical forest.

Why go organic?

Assuming you already have a really good coffee maker, if you want to take your coffee making to a new level, you could switch to buying organic espresso coffee beans. Despite the slight increase in cost, it will be well worth the effort to be rewarded with the best cup of coffee your money can buy.

In addition you will gain the satisfaction of knowing you are doing your bit to help preserve the environment, which is another great reason to settle back and indulge yourself with a couple of cups of delicious espresso coffee!

An Exercise Bike Will Give You A Great Work Out

Being a high impact cardio vascular workout machine, an exercise bike can give you an excellent workout. They help in losing weight by burning calories and in toning up the joints and muscles of the lower body, especially the thigh and calf muscles.

exercise-and-workA great bonus is it’s very convenient for people to listen to music or read a book while they are exercising on a stationary bike. Also, unlike treadmills and fitness rowers, which generally require a lot of floor space, an exercise bike has a much smaller foot print and can therefore easily be installed in the home, which means that even in a small area, you can have a great workout. This is just one reason why the popularity of exercise bikes is second only to that of treadmills.

You can buy an exercise bike for as little as $200 for a low-budget model  or go up to $3000, and beyond, for a top of the range machine.  However, before you buy such a bike, read the reviews online and in various fitness equipment magazines. If you need to be careful of how much you spend, you can opt for a used static bike. By shopping around you can often get a machine that’s seen very little use but is still heavily discounted in price.

After reading the reviews and compiling a small list of likely candidates for yourself, ask at your local gym or a personal trainer for some impartial advice. Also ask the advice of those who have already used or are currently using exercise bikes.

All this research is called doing your due diligence and will ensure you get the right machine for you, and at the right price too!