How Is The Quality Of Flavored And Unflavored Coffees Assessed?

The quality of coffee in general is assessed at many points throughout the journey of the beans from the ground to the cup. After the beans are exported, they arrive at their destinations in many foreign countries. There, they are usually roasted and sold whole or ground, flavored or unflavored, caffeinated or decaffeinated. Throughout the manufacturing process, according to regional laws and standard business practices, the coffee quality is assessed many times.

For example, before roasting, coffee beans which do not meet standards for color or size are removed. This helps ensure an even distribution of beans. After roasting, the color of the beans indicates the degree of roast and type of roast desired. The roasting facility may have special equipment such as a colorimeter, which measures the color of the bean. Or, perhaps, the staff includes experienced human coffee experts who can standardize by visual comparisons. For example, beans which are over or under roasted are rejected. For flavored coffee, the quality of the flavoring oil is carefully checked because too much or too little oil changes the taste. Excessive or insufficient oil will not deliver a specific flavored coffee if it does not meet the exact requirements needed for that flavor.

Flavorists on staff can and do use various analytical techniques. A flavorist is a food chemist with an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university. Most study biology or chemistry at the undergraduate level and go on to specialize in food-specific studies at the graduate level. For example, they use gas chromatography or spectrophotometry equipment to check flavor quality. Recall, coffee that has no added flavoring still has flavor (sometimes called “taste”); it is one of the main coffee characteristics along with acidity, aroma and body. The flavorists apply techniques using this specialized equipment to identify flavor compounds by analyzing their molecular structure. The reason that natural and synthetic components are analyzed carefully is to ensure the coffee consumer will taste the same quality of flavor from batch to batch. This same analysis applies to flavored and non-flavored coffees.

However, one technique that is also used to check the quality of the final flavored product is almost as old and traditional as coffee itself. This is the sensory-rich evaluation technique known as “cupping,” a procedure performed for most coffees after harvesting and processing, before commercial roasting and before flavoring, if any, is added. Cupping involves placing 2.5 ounces of ground coffee in a cup and adding 3.4 ounces of boiling water. Coffee aroma and flavor can be evaluated in this manner. During coffee cupping, boiling water is poured into a small cup over freshly ground coffee. After a “crust” is formed at the top, the taster breaks through with one of the spoons and inhales the nose, or aroma, of the coffee. Grounds are then scraped off the top and a second break is made using a deep spoon so the taster can get a good, strong sip. That first sip is then spit out, just like wine tasters or juice tasters do. Learning how to distinguish coffees through cupping takes much practice and a love for coffee. It also requires following certain standards and habits to ensure objectivity and the ability to cup many times throughout the day as a professional cupper. Cupping is a very important step in the coffee evaluation process because it helps grade the coffee in terms of fragrance, aroma and flavor.

It is interesting to know that, to communicate differences in flavor, the coffee trade uses about 50 specialized terms to describe subjective flavor qualities. These words include, for example: winey, nutty, bitter, berry, citrus, acidity, body, aroma, finish, bright, buttery, floral, fruity, harsh, smooth, sour, spicy, balance, clean, complexity, musty, dirty, rough, natural, sweet, baked, bready, burnt and others that make up a very detailed glossary worth studying.

To ensure quality in coffee, the trade adheres to a variety of coffee certifications, labeling standards, regulations and other qualifications. Certifications include UTZ Certified, Smithsonian Bird Friendly Certified, Rainforest Alliance Certified, Organic Certified, Fair Trade Certified, 4C Common Code Certified, and Fair Wild Coffee Certified. In addition, coffee classifications include Specialty Grade Coffee, Premium Grade Coffee, Exchange Coffee Grade, Below Grade and Off Grade. Coffee is also graded according to the altitude where it grows with labels such as Strictly High Grown (SHG) and Strictly Hard Bean (SHB). There are also regulated Good Manufacturing Processes (GMPs) for food products that require coffee processors to meet high standards of quality and other qualifications.

Other regulations and self imposed business standards make the coffee trade a very compliant environment with quality objectives. The coffee trade also promotes innovation through technology and old fashioned appreciation for taste, aroma, fragrance and the sensory experience of the brew. Coffee cup annual contests and exhibits serve as excellent gatherings to exchange ideas and learn about the “new bean” of a particular origin that has unequalled taste to make it # 1.

With all this coffee talk, what about a cup of delicious “Raspberry Almond” flavored gourmet coffee or “Mudslide” chocolate gourmet flavored coffee?

Popular Snow Cone Flavors

There are many varieties of snow cone flavors to choose from.

When choosing shaved ice flavors, it’s not only important to know what the basic standards are, but it’s also important to know all about the wide variety of snow cone flavors that are available. Not every flavor is going to do well at every location, which is part of what makes local testing so important, but it’s a safe bet that when people go to buy a couple of snow cones, they do have some expectations for basic flavors of snow cones that are going to be available to choose from.

Some of the most basic and popular flavors that people are going to expect from a shaved ice vendor include cherry, lemon-lime, raspberry, grape, and strawberry. These flavors often make up the backbone of most snow cone sales for vendors, but they are only a starting point. There are other flavors, both common and unique, that are also very popular with some regional vendors such as green apple, banana, root beer, bubblegum, cotton candy, and other similar fun flavors.

What are the most popular shaved ice flavors? This can be a hard question because there are so many different things that go into putting together a good local business. In some areas certain flavors are much more popular or common than in others. Lime is a perfect example. In many southern areas with solid Hispanic cultures you see lime with coke, with water, and in a variety of cooking ñ while in many other areas lime is seen as a sour fruit without a lot of taste or use. The location of your snow cone business could determine whether lemon-lime is a good flavor for the area or a bad one.

Testing out flavors is important, because each area is going to be a little different. While it’s a pretty safe bet that cherry, grape, and the other normal basic flavors will always be popular, you might be surprised what works after a little bit of experimenting. Maybe cotton candy and root beer snow cone flavors are great during the entire year, or maybe they tend to work for short times like around the 4th of July. Even if they’re slow sellers, eventually they will sell out and then you’ll know what to buy more of or what to skip.

There are nearly 100 different flavors of shaved ice to choose from depending on which vendors you use to provide you with flavoring syrup for snow cones. These can range from common flavors that you don’t see often in snow cone form like strawberry-kiwi, peppermint, cherry cola, butterscotch, and hot cinnamon; to specialty snow cones with very specific or different flavors like Pina Colada, coconut, dill pickle, fuzzy navel, and strawberry cheesecake.

The sheer number of choices can be intimidating, but this also provides an opportunity to set up a niche set of flavors that you could be the only one to offer. Some shaved ice flavors that are meant to taste like a fruity alcoholic drink like Pina Colada, Fuzzy Navels, Margarita, or Bahama Mamas could be very popular with parents who stop to get shaved ice for their kids and then decide to try one of those flavors for themselves, as well. This could become a very popular and profitable part of any snow cone business, especially as positive word of mouth grows. This isn’t the only good idea when it comes to diversifying flavors, either. You could carry normal flavors and tropical flavors, or rotate a “flavors of the month” combination to get feedback on a wide variety of flavors and figure out which ones could work well for you full time.

When it comes to picking out the right flavors, it’s always a good idea to start with the basics that everyone expects and then to move on and expand from there. In some areas going with the “circus” or “county fair” type of flavors might do well, while other locations are going to do better with tropical flavors or flavors based around alcoholic drinks. Testing is always important, but by knowing the basics and keeping an open mind to new flavors and ideas, any snow cone vendor should be able to come up with the ideal combination of snow cone flavors for their business.

How To Recognize The Best Flavored Coffee

Flavored coffee is becoming more and more popular every day, in spite of negative reactions of the classic amateurs of coffee. In this article we cover:

– What flavored coffee is

– Is it just fashion or a new market and taste habit?

– What are the key factors that influence the quality

– Tips to recognize if we are in front of a ‘best flavored coffee’ or not.

WHAT FLAVORED COFFEE IS?

In its simplest definition, flavored coffee is coffee with additional flavors added to the beans to give a specific taste, different than the classic organic taste offered by the coffee ‘alone’. Flavored coffee is made by adding flavored oils to the beans after they have been roasted and before they have been ground.

JUST FASHION OR NEW TASTE HABIT?

You may like it or not, but flavored coffee is today synonymous with gourmet coffee.
Flavoring coffee is not just a ‘new fashion’, and it is a very old habit as well. Flavored coffees have been used for centuries: Arabians began flavoring their coffees with cardamom hundreds of years ago; Africans experimented with citrus flavours; and South Americans enjoyed a hint of cinnamon in their cups.

Flavored coffee as we know it today began its development in the 60’s, with the spread of flavored tea from Europe. But it was with the specialty coffee boom of the 1990s that the overall interest in exotic flavours increased so remarkably.

Flavored coffee is a controversial topic among roasters and retailers. Real coffee connoisseur do not like it at all. But business is business, and despite a sometimes less-than-enthusiastic reception, flavored coffees are continuing to penetrate deeper into the market, as a result of exposure from large coffee shops, restaurants, and retailers of all kinds.

Today we can choose from a wide array of flavored coffees, with attractive names like ‘Amaretto’, ‘French Vanilla’, ‘Hazelnut’, ‘Chocolate Swiss’, etc.
Flavored coffee has therefore become a very trendy drink, so popular that according to some estimates one out of four Americans (25%) drinks a flavoured coffee at least twice a month!

KEY FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE QUALITY

Three main factors influence the quality of the best flavoured coffee:

– the selection of coffee beans

– the quality of flavors

– the process used.

Coffee beans: the type of beans used to make flavored coffee greatly impacts the taste of the finished product. Arabica beans are most frequently used for creating the best flavored coffee, due to their low levels of acidity and bitterness.

Flavors: the coffee roaster must choose between 100% natural flavours, artificial or ‘Nature Identical’ flavorings. Although the flavor name on packages may be the same (‘French Vanilla’), the product inside is of course very different.

The Process involves the appropriate amount of flavoring to be used, the chosen roast level, and how and when the flavours are applied. A more in depth view about how the best flavoured coffee is produced will be covered in another article, ‘How Best Flavored Coffees Are Produced’.

HOW TO RECOGNIZE THE BEST FLAVORED COFFEE

To help you make the most of coffee flavorings, here are some final tips to help you buy only the best flavored coffee beans.

Be sure you are buying from a reputable coffee roaster, to ensure your beans and flavorings are of a high quality. Firstly, verify that coffee beans are high-quality. Secondly, checks if flavor is made with 100% natural ingredients.

Some roasters may be adding flavor to low-quality beans thinking that their low-quality will be disguised by the flavoring. About 75 percent of taste is experienced through the nose, so the aroma makes for much of the flavored coffee experience, but best flavored coffee should not overdo it: the flavor should complement your coffee, rather than overwhelm it. The ideal flavor should mask some of the harsh notes of the coffee yet not interfere with its aromatic characteristics.

The degree of roasting determines the depth of flavour: the darker the roast, the heavier the flavor. If flavoring is added to beans which have too mild a roast, the coffee lacks significant flavor characteristics, and a flat-tasting beverage results. If the roast is too dark, the added flavor is covered by the taste of the beans. For example, a Vanilla flavor can be lost on a French roast, because the robustness of the bean may overwhelm the sweet creamy tones of the flavor.

Finally, flavored coffee should be stored as closely as possible to room temperature.

CONCLUSIONS

Many black coffee drinkers dislike flavored coffees, because they cannot fully taste the ‘native’ coffee flavor. While according to estimators, flavoring coffee is just making coffee even more appealing, by adding complimentary flavors.

Many coffee aficionados turn up their nose at the thought of adding flavorings to their beloved black beverage. On the other way, the taste habits of those who like flavored coffee are not much different than the ones who say ‘no, thanks’ to flavored, but then drink their coffee with milk or sugar (or both…).

As a matter of fact, whether you are a connoisseur of black or a lover of flavored, best flavored coffee is here to stay.

For two simple reasons. Consumers like it. And coffee business professionals like it as well, since they have seen the opportunity to create new profitable market niches, with higher margins than the traditional coffee.