Tips On Finding The Best Coffee Beans
Coffee, the beverage that took the world by storm, has been a part of our lives for a very long time now. Who knew that a goat-herder in the 9th century Ethiopia will discover something that will later on become so important to the world. Coffee beans became known to the world in a pretty dramatic way, and since then, numerous kinds have been available for us to enjoy.
They say having too many choices can be a blessing and a curse, and we all know how hard it is to choose something at a grocery store that gives you a million options. If you don’t know anything about coffee, you’ll find yourself getting confused, anxious, nervous or even panicking in front of the coffee aisle. You might end up buying the same thing over and over again just to avoid going through the confusing thought process of what to buy and what not to buy.
No matter how expensive of a coffee machine you get or whatever complicated brewing method you use, the impact of bad beans can never be compensated. Let us help you find the best beans, that will bring out the amazing flavor you’ve been craving for, in the comfort of your home. Here are a couple of things you need to know before entering into the coffee section of your supermarket or coffeeshop.
Discover your Preference: Arabica or Robusta?
Coffee beans are categorized into two types usually; Arabica and Robusta. Knowing the attributes of each can help you understand what you look for in a cup of coffee. As a general rule, remember that the higher in altitude it’s grown, the sweeter and more acidic it will be.
Arabica is grown in higher altitudes. It has a smooth, acidic taste and is known to be the more richer and luxurious bean among the two. Arabica beans are deep green in color before roasting. Robusta beans, on the other hand, are farmed in lower altitudes and found to be more stronger and bitter in taste. They look pale green with a slight brown tint before roasting. Robusta beans are cheaper and considered more economical. Robusta beans have more caffeine than Arabica, and is usually used to produce a more intense taste especially in instant coffees.
Keep in mind that Arabica beans are expensive but yield a finer brew, giving more aroma but milder flavor than Robusta.
Origin Makes a Huge Difference
Where coffee beans come from makes a huge difference to how it tastes. As growing conditions, altitudes, farming methods and soil type varies around the world, disparities in coffee flavor and aroma is no surprise. Coffee grows in regions that come under the “coffee belt”. This band includes the areas in the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Coffee beans basically originate from these three regions and each of them comes with distinct qualities.
Latin America: Coffee beans grown here have a light-body and exhibit a sugary, fruity undertone. This region includes Central and South America, the Caribbean, Columbia, Costa Rica, Panama, and Mexico. Most of the world’s coffee production comes from this area. The famous Brazilian coffee is known to have a heavier body with chocolaty undertones while Colombian beans give mellow flavors. Beans derived from Latin America give the best flavor when roasted mild to medium.
Africa/Arabia: Coffee from this region is known to have fruity and floral flavors. They are medium-bodied with strawberry or blueberry hints. A dark roast is considered ideal. Coffee in this region is grown in Africa(prominently Ethiopia and Kenya), the Middle-East and Arabian regions. Ethiopian beans are well known for their tropical, black-currant character.
Indonesia and the Pacific Island Region: This region produces heavy-bodied, savoury and smoky or earthy flavored coffee with an aftertaste of unsweetened cocoa. They are less acidic than the rest and found to be more bolder and bitter. They are best if roasted medium-dark to dark.
To sum it all up, remember Latin American beans for light and sweet, African for fruity and florals, and Indonesian/Pacific for earthy and heavy.
You must have tried reading the description on a pack of coffee and came across single origin or blend written on it.
If you see single origin written, it means that it comes from only one geographical location. Single origins are bought by coffee aficionados who like to enjoy the flavor and aroma specific to one region only. Black coffee drinkers are more likely to appreciate the subtle flavors that every region is specific for.
A blended coffee is usually a mix of some single origins, blended to form a balanced flavor. These single origins are carefully chosen to complement each other. They could result in improved body and more flavors making a perfectly balanced espresso.
Remember to read the description thoroughly before you buy. Single origin might not workout for everyone, which is why blends are more popular. High-quality blends are available easily and give the same flavour throughout. Single-origin coffee is not readily available and you might have a hard time finding them at local supermarkets.
Roasting can make a huge difference when it comes to determining the flavor, aroma, acidity as well as the caffeine content of your coffee beans. Single origin beans are usually best when medium-roasted. Going too dark burns the subtle flavor of the single origin bean. Cheap coffee is usually roasted dark. Having all the information about the kinds of roasts will help you predict the flavor of your cup of joe.
Light roast: As the name implies, it is mild and low-bodied with low acidity. Some people find it almost wheat or grain like in taste. This bean has no visible oils and appears light brown in color.
Medium roast: gives a stronger flavor than the light roast and is popular by the name of “American roast”. Medium roast beans become medium brown hued when they’re brewed even though they are darker before. This type is known to give a bitter aftertaste and usually falls under the bittersweet category.
Medium-dark roast: bolder and more darker, also produce a bittersweet aftertaste. They look shiny because they have visible oils on them.
Dark roast: boldest and darkest as the name implies, but the least acidic of them all after brewing. They appear black, oily and give a bitter aroma. Dark roast beans are roasted long enough to cause caramelisation and produce the most bitter and bolder flavors, which is why they are often referred to as the “Espresso roast”. Get your own restaurant quality espresso coffee beans at home at qavashop.com
Buying freshly roasted coffee is as crucial to the process as it can get. Always check the roasting date on the description before you purchase your coffee beans. This is because you don’t want to buy beans that were roasted more than two weeks ago. Beans start to lose their flavor soon after they’ve been roasted. The earlier the roast date, the better they’ll taste. If you can’t find the roast date written on your bag of beans, it’s best you keep it back on the shelf. Someone hiding their roast date is into fishy business and can not be trusted.
If you buy beans from an independent coffee shop, also try to find the roaster’s identity, because good roasters are usually known and should be remembered to buy reliable quality beans in the future.
Another way to keep freshness intact is to buy a coffee grinder for your home and grind your own beans. Buy whole beans and grind them right before you brew. Don’t buy packed coffee grounds because coffee starts losing its flavor within half an hour of being ground. You’ll end up drinking a very stale cup of coffee!
You might think that the bitter, bolder coffee will have the highest caffeine content, but counter to common belief, the darker the roast, the less caffeine it will have. This means that the highest caffeine content is in light roast, and the dark roast has the least.
Among bean types, Robusta beans tend to have more caffeine than Arabica. So if you’re looking to cut back on caffeine, opt for a darker roast of Arabica beans.
Familiarizing yourself with how coffee works can help you find the right beans. We hope this guide helps you make that perfect cup of joe you crave!