The specialty coffee industry around the world has exploded, this is why you need our coffee bean guide that will help you choose the right bean.
There has never been so much choice and variety with new vibrant flavours, and evolving definitions of coffee roast levels being developed all the time.
Buying the best coffee beans has also become alot harder. With so much choice and flavours it has become harder to choose the right coffee bean for your brew.
Find out more below with our coffee bean guide.
How do I choose coffee beans?
Coffee was once just coffee. So easy! But now with so many unique and tasty flavours how do you pick the best one?
Follow these steps to choose the right beans:
- Your taste preference
- Work out how much caffine you like in your coffee
- Buy beans from a respective roaster
- Make sure you check the roast date
- Avoid beans that are labelled 100% coffee
Which is the best coffee beans to buy?
This is a hard question to answer. Coffee is very personal, some like it strong and black while others like it light and milky.
So determining the actual best coffee bean is subject to ones prerrered taste. We recommend you get adventureous and try a range of different varieties to find out what you love and hate.
You may be suprised! Whichever bean you choose make sure you follow the points above and make sure it is fresh.
Stay away from supermarket coffee unless you are desperate. These beans have been sitting on the shelf for ages, you can’t tell how long they have been roasted for.
Don’t buy them. If you want a recommendation to start with try these amazing beans first.
Click here to try the best coffee blend in the world!
Buying Fresh Coffee Beans Is Best – Coffee Bean Guide
Coffee beans are the seeds of a small fruit called a ‘coffee cherry’.
The beans grows on a shrub-like plant and is harvested and processed on a farm.
Coffee is best when fresh. The flavours are clear and distinct, the acids are crisp and balanced, and the aromas are exciting.
Buying your coffee and using it straight away is recommended. A coffee subscription is a great way of ensuring you are getting your hands on freshly roasted beans.
Coffee beans only have 2-3 weeks of peak freshness and flavour once roasted. What!
And it doesn’t take long for those flavours to start disappearing into a single ‘bland’ flavour, for the acids to break down, and for the aromas to evaporate away.
Ground coffee only has 20-30 minutes of freshness until the coffee turns stale and dull. That’s not long!
Always best to buy coffee beans from a source that sends you beans that were roasted in the last few days for the best quality tasting coffee.
History of The Coffee Bean
Click here to find out more about the magical coffee bean and it’s history.
What are the 4 types of Coffee Beans?
There are 4 primary coffee types that you should take note of. They include:
- Arabica – the most common coffee which has a sweeter. more delicate flavour and is less acidic
- Robusta – second inline to arabica it is known for its strong and often harsh flavor profile. Robusta coffees have extremely high levels of caffeine, which makes the plant far more resilient
- Liberica – grown in very specific climates with production being far too scarce for farmers to scale. The beans are considered a pleasant surprise. Many who’ve tried the coffee describe the aroma to fruit and flowers and describe the flavor as having a “woody” taste.
- Excelsa – grown primarily in Southeast Asia and represents only a small fraction of the world’s coffee. The coffee boast a tart, fruitier flavor and is known for showing attributes of both light and dark roast coffees
How Long do Coffee Beans Last?
This will shock you if you are already buying coffee. Remember those times you bought beans and had them sitting around for ages! Well that is bad because:
- Once roasted whole beans stay super fresh for 2-3 weeks
- Ground coffee only has 20-30 minutes of freshness until the coffee turns stale and dull
- Store coffee in an airtight container somewhere cool, dry, and dark
How long your coffee lasts also depends on how you look after those beans after you open the packet. Limit the time coffee is exposed to air for a longer lasting freshness.
Is Coffee a Bean or Berry?
Coffee tree’s produce berries called coffee cherries. The berries on a coffee tree turn bright red when they are ripe and ready to pick.
The skin of a coffee berry is thick and bitter, while the inside is sweet and textured like a grape. A coffee tree is harvested usually once a year by hand and once picked must be processed straight away.
Once proccessed the coffee is shipped unroasted. This is called green coffee.
About 7 million Tons of green coffee are shipped worldwide every year to countries that love drinking coffee.
What type of coffee bean has the most caffeine?
The Robusta coffee bean packs the biggest punch! Robusta has 50-75% more caffine compared with Arabica. But the only problem with Robusta is the flavour can be a little bitter and less flavourful.
Most of your specialty premium coffees are Arabica which have a more diverse and complex profiles.
But what our professional roaster has found through trial and error is stronger coffee needs a little robusta added which gives you the chocolate flavours and more kick.
Arabica Coffee vs Robusta Coffee beans – Coffee Bean Guide
Most robusta coffee types go into low-grade blends, flavoured coffee, and good old instant coffee. But done right can really add some amazing flavours when mixed with a Arabica.
Arabica blends are normally used in most specialty coffee blends. Arabica carries with it a lot of diversity and considered higher quality. Of course the price tag reflects this.
Why are Green Coffee Beans Roasted?
Coffee Beans go through a huge transformation proccess when roasted.
This alters the physical and chemical make up of the bean. Also roasting beans brings out the truest of flavours for us to enjoy.
What is the Best Way to Grind Coffee Beans?
There is only one answer for this! By using a quality grinder. Automatic machine grinders are the best but you can also get a quality grind from a professsional hand grinder.
The good grinders are called burr grinders and crush up the bean consistantly enabling a constant particle size.
Blade ginders are a bad idea because they chop the bean into all different sizes allowing inconsistant results.
One word! Burr grinder, get one here!
Roasting Levels – Light, Medium & Dark
Todays roasters have the skills to find the perfect roast for each individual bean. The old days of roasting where just dark and black as night, while today the blends are alot lighter and offer way more flavour.
Here is the difference between the modern roasts.
Light Roast Coffee
Most light roasts have a dark tan appearance with no oils on the outside of the bean and are often characterised by:
- Retain unique characteristics from their origin
- Appear dark tan with no visable oils outside
- Lack bitterness
- Very Rich Aromas & flavourful
- Bright acidity
Medium Roast Coffee
A medium roast will appear a deep brown colour due to the sugars being released. This particular roast is more well-rounded than a light roast and generally has flavours of caramal, honey or molassis.
They are often characterised by:
- Retains a small amount of characteristics of original origin
- Deep brown in appearance
- Increased sweetness
- Rich flavours & Aromas
- Well-rounded acidity
- A more balanced bitterness
Dark Roast Coffee
Coffee roasted dark often appears dark brown in colour, with a light layer of oil on the surface.
Bitterness is a strong characteristic of a dark roast with flavours of chocolate, earth, spice and nuts appear.
They are often characterised by:
- Fewer characteristics of beans origin
- A dark brown appearance, light oil prescence
- Pleasant sweetness
- Deeper flavour start to appear
- Mellow acidity
- A mild bitterness
Should I buy Single Origin or a Blend?
Single origin coffees come from one single farm where you can taste the region’s unique characteristics. While a particular coffee blend is a mixture of coffee beans from different regions.
Generally blends offer a unique flavour expereince and are typically well-rounded and more approachable to coffee lovers.
Where are The Best Coffee Regions In The World?
The most popular coffee growing regions of the world include:
- Asia and the Pacific – has a diverse coffee growing scene
- Africa & Arabia – they have an intense biodiversity of coffee varieties
- Central & South America – Coffee grows well in the subtropical and tropical climates of this part of the world
Ultimate Coffee Bean Guide
Buying coffee can be hard. We took ages to find the perfect blend that we absolutly loved.
But this is what makes your coffee journey amazing, tying different blends, some you may love, some you may think taste bland. Over time you will discover whatyou love best.
Make sure you take note of what tastes great and what doesn’t.
Here are a few tips in selecting the perfect beans:
- Buy only specialty grade beans
- Always buy whole bean coffee and grind just before brewing
- Purchase coffee from roasters that have just recently roasted beans
- Buy yourself a good quality grinder
- Brew coffee with good quality coffee equipment for best results
Have fun with this and remember we all like different flavours, so what one person say’s is good may not suit you.
I hope you have enjoyed our coffee bean guide.
If you would love a head start on your coffee bean journey try out these specialty beans first.
Need to know how to turn your beans into magic? Then have a read of these guides: