How to Choose the Right Coffee Bean
If you are new to the wonderful world of coffee, you may feel confused as to why you are not experiencing the full amount of flavour when selecting different types. However, while you may be picking what you consider to be the best brands of coffee or splashing out on top dollar machines, we will let you into a little secret… choosing the right coffee bean is key to brewing flavoursome java. But with several varieties on offer, how do you know which beans to go for? Read on to discover some important considerations to look out for when shopping for coffee beans:
Arabica or Robusta?
While there are around 100 different types of coffee available to try, the two main species are Arabica and Robusta.
Stemming from a coffee plant which is part of the Rubiaceae family, the Arabica bean is used in more than half of the world’s coffee production and grows at high altitude in hot and humid climates. For lovers of smooth coffee, the Arabica bean will provide a delicious yet delicate tasting brew with subtle hints of a sweet chocolate-like flavour.
While originating from the same coffee plant family, the Robusta bean, on the other hand, grows at low altitude and packs a stronger punch when it comes to flavour, boasting an earthy and intense taste.
Consequently, if you’re in search of a slightly creamier tasting coffee with hues of sweetness, Arabica will be a better option for you as it delivers a smooth and slightly sugary flavour. For those looking for a more potent taste experience, Robusta will provide this as well as a stronger hit of caffeine, which, lets best honest, most of us need, especially first thing in the morning!
Many often make the mistake of thinking that coffee doesn’t expire; we can tell you, it certainly does. Like many other consumables, coffee has a shelf life and should be used within a reasonable time of purchasing as the longer it is left, the more flavour it will lose.
Believe or not, the taste of coffee beans starts to weaken as soon as they finish roasting when a process known as degassing causes the beans to release carbon dioxide. As the gas evaporates, so do all those delicious oils that give the beans their flavour. As such, to ensure you enjoy the maximum taste, buying freshly roasted beans and using them within a four to 14-day period will guarantee the best flavour and the ultimate taste experience.
One of the main factors that can influence the flavour of coffee beans is the conditions in which they are grown. As we have briefly discussed in the cases of Arabica and Robusta coffee, the altitude, along with rainfall, soil chemistry and temperature can each impact the growth of these beans and ultimately, how they will taste.
While most coffee beans are grown somewhere along an area known as the “Bean Belt” – an area spanning 25° north and 30° south along the equator including Colombia, Ethiopia and Hawaii – if the barista you’re purchasing from cannot tell you the exact origin of your coffee beans, we recommend going elsewhere.
While the roasting date of coffee beans is an important indicator of their flavour, the roasting level is also something to look out for that will also impact their taste.
Generally, you will find that most coffee beans are cooked at a medium roast, which is the best level for popular beverages such as an Espresso. However, if you’re after a little more flavour with an intense caffeine kick, a lighter roast will be more suited to your palette as not only do beans roasted at this level offer a punchier flavour, but they also contain more acidity, ultimately resulting in a more potent taste.
Single Origin Beans or Blends?
Single origin beans boast their own unique flavour that is usually balanced and organic and originate from a singular estate. Alternatively, blends are a mix of beans that have been purposefully combined by the roaster to achieve a harmonious selection of flavours, and often heavier than their single counterparts.
Both blends and single origin coffees are popular across the world, and although a contentious topic among java connoisseurs, both can be equally as delicious. As such, whether you opt for a blend or single origin bean is entirely up to you!
Ultimately, the type of coffee beans you choose will depend on how you like to drink your coffee and the flavours you like to experience whilst doing so. However, as long as you take each of these considerations into account when choosing what beans to purchase, we guarantee you’ll end up with a mouth-wateringly good cup of java, no matter what you go for!
To complete that intense flavour experience, be sure that you have a quality grinder like our Rhinowares hand grinder to achieve the maximum taste and squeeze every last ounce of flavour out of those heavenly little beans, along with AeroPress coffee maker so you can relish a good brew, no matter where you are!