Deciding on which coffee beans to buy can be challenging for many pedestrian coffee drinkers. There are numerous brands in the market today and equally as many variables to make sense of as well. As such, getting a little help on where to start in buying coffee beans comes in handy. Here are some tips on how to pick the best coffee beans:
1. Know your preference
There are two broad categories of commercial coffee beans in the market today, Robusta and Arabica. Knowing what you like will go a long way in helping you pick what you want. The Arabica type of coffee grows in high altitude areas. It is commonly known for its slightly acidic, smooth taste. On the other hand, Robusta grows in lower altitude areas and has a strong, bitter taste. Though Arabica is considered to be of a higher grade, this largely depends on its growing process and the treatment it receives during its journey to the coffee roaster. All this does not guarantee that the end product is of highest quality. So, unless you want to become an expert, quit worrying about bean type and focus on finding the roaster or brand that makes beans that meet your needs.
2. Pick coffee beans based on your preferred taste
Some coffee lovers want their first cup to have a consistent delicious taste and getting this takes a bit of trial and error. If you prefer coffee that has a smooth taste that has a varying acidity levels, then you want to go for dry, light colored coffee beans. These beans are roasted for a shorter period and the coffee brewed from them tends not to have a bitter taste. If you prefer taking coffee that has a strong taste, then you want to buy coffee beans that have been roasted for a longer period of time. These beans tend to be shinny, with a dark appearance. When brewed, they produce a bold and bitter taste, bringing more coffee oils to the surface.
3. Determine how much caffeine you want in your coffee
Contrary to what most people believe, dark roasted coffee beans contain lower levels of caffeine than those whose roasting is light or medium. Light roasted beans have the highest level of caffeine of all the three. Coffee beans that are used to make Espresso are in the medium roast realm. If you want to capitalize on your caffeine intake, you are better of going for light or medium roasted beans.
4. Go beans from a respected coffee roaster
Buying coffee beans from a respected roaster for consistent coffee roasting, increases your chances of getting high quality beans. Though sometimes you might not get beans that produce the exact taste that you want, you are most likely to get beans that are free of any flaws and this is the easiest way of ensuring that you get a decent cup of coffee with every brew.
5. Always check the roast date
It is important that you always freshly roasted coffee. Before buying your beans, check for the roast date on the label so you have an idea of how many days have passed since the beans were roasted. If you don’t have a coffee grinder in your house, go for the whole bean bag and ask the supermarket or café to grind them for you or you can buy one from our best coffee grinders list here. Avoid coffee that is packed as ground as it may not have gone through an exceptional treatment process.
6. Avoid coffee beans that are labeled 100% Coffee
Coffee beans labeled 100% Arabica or 100% coffee are common. This is mostly not true despite the fact that the best coffee beans come from this plant. Not all Arabica beans are produced the same and you need to pay attention to the mention of varietal. All packaged beans will not have this. You are more likely to brew a better cup of coffee from packages that have this label than those that don’t. Varietal does not necessarily guarantee quality; however, paying attention to such details is a reflection of the attention given to good beans.
Selecting the best coffee beans requires attention to details and a good knowledge of what you want. Most companies will include labels that do not necessarily depict the quality of coffee beans. Such labels are meant to attract buyers and often show lack of knowledge on the part of the roaster. This is because the essence of packaging is to provide information as opposed to evoking feelings. Following the tips provided above will enable you to buy the best coffee beans and enable you to enjoy the best cup of coffee always. Also always grind your beans just before brewing or get a best machine with inbuilt grinder so you always grab a fresh cup of joe.