Thursday, April 10, 2008

Coffee and tea gurus, unite

Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company has launched its Brewekrewe, an online community that provides recurring delivery options for coffee and tea lovers.

Perks -- pun intended, of course -- for joining Joffrey’s Brewekrewe include:
Free samples of some of Joffrey’s popular coffees and teas upon joining; free shipping on all purchases over $25; seasonal benefits and discounts; a personalized schedule of recurring delivery of tea and freshly roasted coffee.
“With the Joffrey’s Brewekrewe, we’ve made it easy to have the finest coffee and tea delivered right to your door,” explains Ted Abrams, CEO of Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea. “With a combined nearly 200 varieties of coffee and loose leaf and iced teas available through Joffrey’s, there is a flavor to satisfy even the most discriminating palate. ”

A buzz through the Web site shows that prices (discounting shipping) are comparable per pound to what you'd pay for a premium bag of coffee, starting at $9.95 per pound on up to $14 for most coffees.
However, the Origin Coffee section has varieties from Africa, all through South and Central America, Mexico, Hawaii and Indonesia and Polynesia -- quite an international jaunt for the coffee connoisseur. The soil and conditions in which the beans are grown have as much -- some experts say more -- effect on how the finished product tastes as does the roasting methods. I remember my first taste of Ethiopian coffee, and it was so intense and earthy, it almost knocked our socks off. Of course, we had it in the morning and weren't wearing socks by that point in the day.

As far as the Joffrey brews, we haven't done a taste test, but the variety is indeed impressive for that price range. At the very least, you could host a coffee tasting party and play "name that continent of origin." Or not. Coffee folks may not be that nerdy.

Topping the price list, of course, is a variety of Jamaica Blue for $49.75, Maui Mocha Reserve for $37.95 and Kona for $36.95.

Coffee starts as the fruit of a small tree that grows in tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world. The fruit -- initially called a cherry -- is bright red and surrounds two, flat-sided seeds, or what we see later as coffee beans. The ripened cherries are harvested by hand, cleaned, fermented and hulled. The beans are then roasted. The longer the roast, the darker the coffee and more intense the flavor. Also, the longer a coffee is roasted, the more caffeine is drawn from it (meaning if you want less caffeine, go for dark-roasted coffee.)

One of two species of coffee are used: robusta or arabica. Robusta beans aren't as intense and flavorful as arabica, but the robusta trees are hardier and more prolific, so coffees from them are growing in popularity simply because they're cheaper to produce.

"Brewekrewe members can easily have the same item or different items sent with each delivery," Abrams said. "It’ll be fun to try every flavor and the Brewekrewe can make that happen with the click of a mouse."

Joffrey’s offers more than 124 different coffee varieties, 54 loose-leaf teas and 19 iced teas all available for order through its Brewekrewe. Flavors: Angel’s Kiss, Butter Crunch, Chocolate Turtle and Cinnamon Graham Cracker.