Asheville Citizen-Times  Voice of the Mountains

                                   published September 20, 2006 12:15 am

Where it comes from: Colombia, South America.

Its characteristics: The coffee that made Juan Valdez famous comes from the country of Colombia. Colombia is known for its mountainous terrain and rich soils that are ideal for coffee growing. Colombian Medellin is grown in the central regions of the country with a varied climate. The soil creates a richly flavored bean with well-balanced acidity and a somewhat spicy flavor. Colombian coffee offers a bean with an above-average oil content that lends itself well to dark roasting for either a French roast or espresso bean. In addition, the mild body of the beans makes this coffee a good choice for French press brewing.

How much it costs: Standard beans: $3.50 to $5 per pound; gourmet beans (supremo): $9 to $11 per pound.

Where to find it: Almost anywhere you can buy coffee, although the supremo type beans are generally available only at specialty coffee retailers.

Good to serve as: This coffee is a great "wake me up" coffee and can be served all day long. Colombian coffee is also a great gift coffee when you are buying for someone whose coffee tastes you are unfamiliar with.

Tip of the day: Does it really matter what temperature the water is when brewing coffee? It sure does. Coffee is best brewed when the water temperature is between 180-190 degrees. Too low of a temperature and the coffee will be tasteless and weak. Too high of a temperature will "scald" or burn the oils in the beans, resulting in a bitter flavor. Most automatic coffee makers of today brew at or near the proper temperature.

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