It’s no secret that coffee is a staple in the American diet. The average person drinks 3 cups of coffee per day. However, as a beginner, with so many options available, it can be hard to know which beans are best for you.
Of course, the coffee beans you choose will reflect the taste and flavor of your cup. So, it is essential to learn how to choose coffee beans that will meet your expectations. I’ve discussed different aspects of beans so that you know what you are purchasing.
How to choose coffee beans: 7 important considerations
Coffee beans come in many different varieties, and they have different tastes and flavors due to many factors. Now, I will talk about all the important aspects of coffee beans and discuss choosing the right coffee beans for one.
Although the word terroir may seem an uncommon term for coffee lovers, it’s used for describing the combination of regional conditions that affect a crop’s flavor. These include weather, topography, and geology.
Some varieties are best suited to certain climates, but every variety will exhibit the soil characteristics of where it was grown. This is why coffee from Brazil will taste different than coffee from Guatemala.
Let’s take a look at some common types of coffee beans available today and what flavors might be associated with them:
- Costa Rican Coffee Beans (light body)
Light-bodied coffees tend to produce mild flavors and a clean finish– good for people who don’t want strong or bitter tastes in their brews. To get more flavor out of these light-bodied beans, you can use a French press or percolator.
- Colombian Coffee Beans (medium body)
Medium-bodied coffees produce sweet and balanced flavors. If you’re looking for an everyday coffee that’s not too strong, try this variety; it will give you the best taste without being overpowering.
- Central American Coffee Beans (full body)
Full-bodied coffees tend to produce intense flavor and smoky aftertaste– excellent for people who want their cup to have lots of character and boldness in its flavor. Just be careful not to overdo it because they can be quite bitter if used incorrectly. You might consider using a French press or a stove-top espresso maker.
- South American Coffee Beans (Medium body)
South American coffee is grown in South and Central America, including Columbia, Peru, Guatemala, Honduras, and Brazil. Coffee from this region tends to be milder and medium-bodied. If you are a beginner-level coffee drinker, you will enjoy its taste.
- Sumatra Coffee Beans (Full body)
The Indonesian island of Sumatra is noted for growing some of the best coffee beans in the world: medium-sized, native Arabica variety, grown at high altitude. The coffee has a deep, chocolatey flavor, with hints of fruit and caramel. Java is generally considered more flavorful, but Sumatra coffee beans are said to be more aromatic.
- Mocha Java Coffee Beans (full body)
Mocha Java has the aroma of chocolate with strong berry and citrus flavors. The taste is bitter and astringent but with a lingering finish. Good for espresso and drip coffee. It gets its name from the port city Moka in Yemen, and it’s considered the world’s oldest coffee beans..
2. Types of coffee beans
Let’s discuss two of the most popular types of coffee beans. They are-
- Arabica Coffee Beans
These coffee beans are grown in the high altitudes of Central and South America and Africa. They’re generally milder, more aromatic, and flavorful than the Robusta bean. They provide a smooth body with light acidity and are used in a wide variety of coffee beverages, including the Americano, Cappuccino, and Café Latte.
- Robusta Coffee Beans
These beans are grown in lower altitudes than the Arabica bean and tend to be less expensive because of their hardier nature. They’re more bitter and harsher than the Arabica bean, but they provide a stronger body. The Robusta bean is used in espresso blends.
3. Coffee Roasts
Coffee beans are roasted to bring out their full flavor and aroma. When you roast a bean, you’re essentially caramelizing the sugars within the bean. The roasting process consists of three distinct phases:
- The Light Roast
At this stage, the beans are roasted at a relatively low temperature, but they’re roasted longer. This creates a strong acidic flavor due to the bean’s oils breaking down into acids.
- The Medium Roast
The medium roast is also known as the American blend. It can be made with a combination of any roast level, and it has a milder aroma than the dark roast. Coffee beans used for a medium roast are usually roasted to a light brown color, and they have a smoother flavor than dark roast beans.
- The Dark Roast
At this stage, the beans are roasted at a high temperature, which creates a bitter and acidic taste. This is why dark roast coffees are usually diluted with cream or milk to counter the flavor. In fact, espresso has a dark roast because it’s served in small cups that don’t allow adding of ingredients
4. Roasting Date
Have you ever been to the grocery store and noticed that there is no date on your beans? Though you may find some beans with expiration dates, it can be hard to tell how long they’ve been sitting around.
Well, Coffee beans are an extremely perishable food product. They change chemically as a reaction to heat, oxygen, and moisture.
As a result, these coffees become tasteless. You must remember that you need your coffee no later than 3 weeks from the date it is roasted for optimal deliciousness!
5. Brand’s Reputation
If you’re looking for a type of coffee that tastes amazing, buy it from an authorized seller. They have a reputation to uphold and will never provide low-quality beans! Also, they provide better solutions in case you face any issue with the purchased beans.
6. Your Preference
You can grind your beans fresh every morning or simply choose ground coffee. Do you want to invest some time in the process of brewing and enjoy a cup for yourself, friends, family? If so, go the whole bean! Is convenience more important than quality? Then add ready-made grounds to the cart instead.
7. Amount of caffeine
Some prefer more caffeine, while others want to consume minimal caffeine due to many reasons. So, you must keep an eye on the quantity of caffeine offered by the beans you are going to purchase.
However, due to their longer roasting time, dark roasted coffee beans contain lower levels of caffeine than those whose roasting is lighter. Espresso needs a medium roast for the best flavor and caffeination level. However, the highest amount of caffeine can be found in lightly-roasted coffee beans, which are used primarily to make Americanos and cappuccinos.
Extra Buying tips
- Don’t buy coffee beans that are labeled 100% Arabica because these labels don’t always represent the best-quality bean, and it’s more likely your cup of joe will taste better if you get a package with these labels on them than those without.
- Don’t buy from any third-party seller unless you are 100% sure that they won’t provide low-quality coffee.
- If you buy from online marketplaces, always read users’ reviews thoroughly. It will help you know better about the product.
Now you know how to choose coffee beans properly. Keep these above-mentioned considerations and useful tips in mind when searching for a new coffee, and I guarantee that this will lead to more tasty cups of joe!
If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to reach out, and we’ll be happy to answer them!