Learning how to choose good coffee beans is a little more art than science and those who know how will spare no expense in finding the best beans money can buy.
But why does it matter? Coffee is just…coffee, right? If you’re used to supermarket coffee you might think so but once you’ve been exposed to really good coffee beans chances are you won’t want to go back to anything else.
Coffee experts agree that a good bean is freshly roasted and ground and makes a superior cup of coffee. Good coffee beans transform your daily cup of java into a taste experience so why not take the time to find the best beans? We put a lot of thought into the meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit we buy so why choose an inferior brand of coffee? But how do you set about choosing good coffee beans?
Start by saying goodbye to shopping for coffee beans at your local supermarket! Good coffee beans are usually found at specialty or gourmet stores. Not only will you find helpful and knowledgeable salespeople in these stores but you will probably be able to taste before you buy. Ask the salesperson to teach you a bit about how best to choose good coffee beans; you may be surprised at what you learn.
Next, make sure you only buy freshly roasted coffee beans. Find out when the coffee was roasted and make sure you’re there when it is. If you are buying at the supermarket (against our best advice) look a the bottom of the bag for the roasting date or a sell by date which will give you an idea of how fresh (or old) the coffee is. Good coffee beans are the freshest ones you can find.
Good coffee beans are never splintered or broken but whole and well-shaped. If you are shopping and encounter a bin of splintered or broken beans find another store -fast! Never hand over your hard earned cash for inferior beans simply because you’re in a hurry, you’ll regret it later.
So what if you’re a complete novice and don’t have the luxury of a knowledgeable salesperson? Simply trust your eyes, and nose. Good coffee beans are well-shaped, smooth and smell good. If your gut says, “this is good coffee’ – it probably is. If the beans smell mediocre and look unappealing, the coffee will be too.
If it’s at all possible, try out a variety of different coffee beans to get a feel for what kind of flavor you prefer. Choose from mild or full-bodied; floral, nutty or wine-flavored for example. When you find one you like, you’re on your way to coffee heaven. Remember: Good coffee beans fulfill all the requirements listed above but must also meet your personal preference for taste!
If you think you’re hooked you might want to learn more about where coffee is grown and which beans are considered superior by connoisseurs. That way you can taste as many of them as possible (if only to see whether you agree!). The countries where good coffee beans are grown include: Latin America, Africa, Indonesia and even Hawaii ( Kona Coffee!) .
What about roasts? Good coffee beans can be found in light, medium to dark roasts and even ‘French’ or ‘Italian’ roasts (which are very dark roasts). Experiment with different roasts until you find the perfect one for your taste and then buy it, in bagfuls if need be!
What about blended coffee? Some specialty and gourmet stores make their own coffee blends but you can also find some standard blends, for example, mocha-java – which is a blend from Yemen. Whatever the blend make sure it’s made from good coffee beans that are freshly ground and roasted.
Right! You’ve found the perfect coffee bean and bought a bagful (maybe two?) so now you need to keep it that way. Coffee is very sensitive to heat and moisture so make sure you know how to store it when you get home. Good coffee beans can soon become bad beans if you expose them to the wrong conditions.
Always store your coffee in an airtight container in a cool, dry area of the kitchen. If you aren’t going to use all the beans in one week or freshly ground coffee buy less next time and never store good coffee beans in the freezer as this will destroy the oils in the beans that give it its flavor.
For superior coffee we recommend buying a coffee grinder and making up a batch of good coffee beans each day. You don’t have to be a coffee expert to agree that there is nothing quite as satisfying as an excellent cup of coffee after a long day’s work or at break time. The trick to taste satisfaction lies in learning how to choose good coffee beans or rather the best coffee beans! Good luck and happy drinking!