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My wife is from Italy, and she got me hooked on this absolutely gorgeous coffee called Lavazza Qualita Oro. I love it, but unfortunately getting a fresh bag here in the United States is really hit or miss.

I'm told that in order to be a REAL coffee fan, I need to get beans roasted in the last week. Fair enough - so, if I like Lavazza Oro, which is a medium roast with a bold, caramely aroma and a creamy, rich body, what should I look at?

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Where do you live? Because I've seen Lavazza stores in big cities, for example Chicago. –  lemontwist Jan 6 '13 at 1:21
    
I live in Burlington, Vermont. I haven't found whole bean, and unfortunately drip-grind goes stale really fast and won't work in my French press. I'm ordering the whole-bean stuff from Amazon, but since I have absolutely no assurance of how long it's spent in a warehouse I'm trying to find something similar and local. –  sudowned Jan 6 '13 at 1:59

3 Answers 3

I'd suggest buying it from someone who knows a thing or two about coffee, like http://www.wholelattelove.com/Lavazza/lava_oro.cfm.

Also, have you tried contacting Lavazza Qualita Oro with questions? If they don't know the best distributors, no one will.

A recommendation: http://www.tonyscoffee.com/shop/blend/cafe-carmelita/

I think you'll like this one as much or more than than the Lavazza Qualita Oro. It's quite wonderful, if not cheap.

It has an Agtron rating of 65. The Lavazza Qualita Oro is about 55, so this roast is lighter.

The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) has developed a points system to classify the degree - the colour - of different roast types. The system consists of eight numbered colour disks against which one matches a sample of finely ground, roasted coffee, usually pressed into a laboratory petri dish. In this way one assigns the roast an approximate number on what is commonly called the Agtron Gourmet Scale, ranging from #95 (lightest roast) at intervals of 10 down to #25 (the darkest common roast).

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I'm not exactly sure what is similar to that particular coffee, but this site has pretty much every product Lavazza offers available for shipping. Perhaps consider getting whole beans and grinding yourself? Also check out coffee roasting wiki and home roasting coffee then you'll have the freshest coffee around.

As green coffee is more stable than roasted, the roasting process tends to take place close to where it will be consumed. This reduces the time that roasted coffee spends in distribution, giving the consumer a longer shelf life. The vast majority of coffee is roasted commercially on a large scale, but some coffee drinkers roast coffee at home in order to have more control over the freshness and flavor profile of the beans.

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I can get it online at Amazon too, but the issue is wanting coffee that hasn't been warehoused for months and months. This site has an AMAZING selection, though I can't find any information about their product expiration... maybe I'll give them a call. –  sudowned Jan 6 '13 at 2:03
    
If you call maybe even ask if they can sell you unroasted in that brand, then you can have an extremely fresh option. :-) –  JesseW Jan 6 '13 at 2:06
    
I assume you mean unground - which is what I bought off Amazon. ;) The unground beans still lose potency, just not as fast. I've heard horror stories about people getting really dusty-ass old beans that nobody would want to drink. –  sudowned Jan 6 '13 at 2:39
    
Hope that explains what I meant, edited answer. –  JesseW Jan 6 '13 at 2:50

If you feel like trying to mix your own, I think as a general rule Lavazza leans towards a lighter roast. Italian coffee blends also tend to use a fair bit of Brazilian coffee, and although I wouldn't take my word on it, I think Lavazza's characteristic flavor profile is from using a lot of it.

Finding a Brazilian coffee is kind of the hard part there; Sweet Maria's has a couple varieties, but that sour/iodine punch from cheap Brazilian arabica is what you want, and I think they tend to avoid that. (And of course Sweet Maria's stuff is unroasted, which may be more trouble than you want to deal with.) PortoRico.com has an all-Brazilian espresso roast, so you might want to try them as well.

If you want to go the route of creating a Lavazza clone, I hope what I've put here helps you.

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Hm, I wouldn't say Lavazza (at least, Qualita Oro or Crema e Gusto) smells sour or iodine-ey. I find a lot of nasty-ass common coffees taste sour, and Lavazza introduced me to better coffee precisely because it didn't have that character. –  sudowned Feb 22 '13 at 0:03

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