Arabica beans are grown at altitudes of 2,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level. They represent 75 percent of the world’s coffee production, although only about 10 percent of them qualify as specialty coffees. Arabica beans are characterized by a balanced aroma and a sweet, acidic taste.
Central America, South America, Eastern Africa, the East Indies – we travel everywhere to procure the finest 100% Arabica coffee beans, then fresh-roast them for consistently exceptional taste and quality. We offer superb blends, delicious flavored coffees, exotic varietals, and full-bodied dark roasts to suit every taste.
Cupping in coffee terminology means evaluating coffee quality. Like an expert wine taster judging a vintage Merlot, the professional coffee taster needs a keen knowledge of, and palate for, the beverage.
Stephen Kaloyanides, Sr. (shown left) is one of our Master Coffee Tasters. Stephen is second generation ownership, and applies his palate and instincts in a time-honored process that has been honed for over four generations.
Here’s how cupping is done: a random sample of a specific batch of 100% Arabica coffee is roasted, ground and brewed. It is then sipped and held in the mouth long enough to savor the full extent of the taste, then spat out. The process, very similar to wine tasting, is used to determine the four distinct aspects of coffee – aroma, body, acidity and flavor.
- Aroma: The fragrance of a coffee that is also the first indicator of its quality.
- Body: The impression of fullness or perceived ‘heaviness’ of a coffee in the mouth.
- Acidity: Found mostly in mild-bodied coffees, acidity is a desirable characteristic referring to the pleasant lively, snappy taste, not to be confused with sourness. Without acidity, the coffee would taste flat.
- Flavor: The total melding of acidity, body and aroma that gives each coffee its own distinct identity.
Cupping is the most important element of fine coffee production and our on-site taste-testers perform random tests of all our roasts. We take great pride in our coffee, and make sure your daily cup of coffee is perfect each time.
As New England® Coffee’s Stephen Kaloyanides, Jr. puts it, there is simply “no other way to do it.” Stephen is one of the company’s principal cuppers, and he holds a true appreciation for the process. “There’s a lot of history involved,” he says. He’s right. The age-old tradition of cupping has stood its ground as the most effective means of determining a coffee’s quality and in turn, how it will be used in a blend.
To achieve the ultimate roasts from the Arabica beans, we rely both on art and science. We begin by placing small batches of green coffee beans in a hopper, which directs them into a rotating drum inside a roaster. After 5-7 minutes, the beans turn yellow, indicating a loss of moisture. They then begin to make cracking sounds, much like that of popcorn popping. They are, in fact, popping open and doubling in size.
Since each variety of beans requires a different roast time, rapid-fire samples are frequently taken during the roasting process. Experienced roastmasters use both smell and sight to determine when the desired roast has been achieved. As the beans reach optimum color, they are released into a large metal pan, or cooling tray. Giant fans air-cool the coffee to room temperature, during which the coffee darkens one final shade.
Our Coffee Roasting Spectrum
Light brown in bean color, it’s the mildest roast, favored by consumers in the U.S.
Even chestnut brown bean color, the roasted beans maintain a non-oily surface.
Coffee brewed from beans roasted to this degree produces the full flavor present in the beans.
A medium dark roast brings out some of the natural oils in the beans producing a richer coffee flavor.
The roast pulls much of the natural oils out of these darkest colored beans for a full-bodied coffee that has low acidity and a dominating bittersweet flavor.