How to Buy the Best Coffee Beans- Coffee Lover’s Guide (According to a Barista)

Save for the coffee addicts, if you have just started as a coffee drinker, you will always encounter challenges and one of them is how to buy the best coffee beans.

Unfortunately, if you want to brew delicious coffee at home, you must have good beans. You can decide to buy coffee at your local coffee shop, grocery store or from a roaster, but you must be aware of what makes the best coffee beans. And this is where most coffee lovers get confused.

You are lucky to have landed on this page because from today, you will no longer get confused, neither will you find it difficult to buy the best coffee beans.

 This article shares tips to help you buy good coffee beans.

What’s more?

We will show you the best coffee beans- Is it Arabica or Robusta?

And you will also learn how to store your beans the right way.

Keep reading to learn more.

There is plenty of advice on the internet when it comes to coffee brewing. Some experts have different opinions when it comes to the French press, brew duration, water temperature, etc. However, no matter how you enhance your brewing approaches and tactics, the last thing that will determine the flavor you are going to get in your cup of joe is the coffee beans you will use.

If you buy bad coffee, then don’t expect to get the most out of your coffee.

There are quite a number of coffee brands and this can make it difficult for someone new to coffee when it comes to choosing the best coffee beans.

We were lucky to have a lengthy conversation with Jason Lim, our coffee barista, and this post is all about the advice and guidelines he shared with us when it comes to picking the best coffee beans.

So before you reach your pocket to buy your coffee beans, go through this post carefully to learn how to pick the best; and in the end, we will advise you on what to do with your coffee beans once you have bought them.

Sometimes you don’t need to upgrade to the best coffee maker. You just need to practice caution when buying your coffee beans. Chances are that your coffee maker is just fine, but the problem is with the beans.

…And without much ado, let’s get started.

Some Few Coffee Bean Terms You Should Know

Roast- Roasting is the process of making coffee from the processed beans (putting the beans you have bought into high temperature to make the beans ready for grinding and extraction). If the roast is fresh, you will get good coffee. There are light and dark roasts you (or the roaster) will get at the end of the roasting process depending on the approach you use. Light roasts are said to provide greater acidity and good flavor while dark roasts are quite bitter.

Cherry- This is the case or holder that keeps the bean and the pulp intact. Sometimes the cherry is not cast-off after the coffee beans are picked.

Dry processing- Also known as natural processing, dry processing is the traditional approach of taking out the bean from its case after dryingThis method makes the coffee to yield beans that have greater acidity.

Wet processing- Unlike dry processing where the beans are stripped from the fruit after drying, wet processing is the approach of striping the bean before drying.

Green beans– These are coffee beans that haven’t been roasted. They are beans that have just been processed. If you don’t have a roaster, avoid these types of beans.

How to Buy the Best Coffee Beans

Now that you are familiar with some terms that you will come across every time you go out to buy your coffee beans, let’s get into real details on how to buy the best coffee beans.

Check the Label

Knowing what’s indicated on the coffee label is one of the first and most important things when buying coffee beans. The coffee label has the information you can use to choose the best coffee beans.

Roast Date

Coffee beans do not last long once they are roasted. They lose flavor over time and so you should not expect them to have an eternal shelf life. The roasting process makes the coffee beans to emit carbon dioxide through a process called degassing. Degassing dissolves all the important oil and this affects the flavor.

Well, you can use your old coffee beans to make coffee, but although you won’t get affected, you will not get the great taste you could have got with fresh beans. Always ensure you are buying coffee beans that have stayed for more than three weeks after roasting.

How to buy the best coffee beans- Pre-ground or Whole Beans?

No matter how busy your life is, if you want to get the sweet-tasting coffee from your beans, always buy whole beans. You will be tempted to grab pre-ground coffee due in a hurry to save time on grinding, but you will not enjoy the flavor you could get when you buy whole coffee beans.

Once coffee beans are ground, they are exposed to air which can interfere with the aroma and flavor in them. Grinding coffee beans right before brewing gives you fresh, aromatic and flavorful coffee.

The Coffee Bean Origin

Where the coffee beans originate from can have an effect on the flavor. Check where the beans come from. Generally, coffee beans that come from coffee zones between 25 degrees north and 30 degrees south along the equator are the best coffee beans you can ever pick. Ask your barista or check the coffee bag to know the origin of the coffee beans before buying yours.

There are plenty of countries around the world that produce coffee. However, there are specific regions that are famous for the production of the best coffee beans including:

  • Brazil- Brazilian coffee is packed with a palette of flavors since it is grown under a range of altitudes. Brazilian coffee will leave a sweet-tasting feeling even after you have finished taking it.
  • Kenya- Most Kenyan coffee is grown on open plantations and is processed using a fermentation soak. This is why it is also one of the great coffees you can have in the morning.
  • Hawaii– Hawaiian Kona coffee is also another famous and most preferred by coffee addicts worldwide. Hawaii receives intense sunlight and regular rain showers and this makes the Kona coffee to produce floral aromatics and sweet flavors.
  • Ethiopia– Ethiopia is also another country that produces fruitier and delicious coffee.
  • Other countries that produce good coffee include Colombia, Indonesia, South America, etc.

Single Origin or Blend Coffee Beans?

The main difference between the two types is the price. Single-Origin coffee is costly than a blend. Single-origin is coffee coming from one region or location that’s why it’s a high-quality coffee packed with rich flavors and tastes.

If you don’t have the budget for single-origin coffee, you can still go with a blend but make sure you are buying from a trusted coffee manufacturer. Brazil, Indonesia, Central, and South America are among the countries that produce single-origin coffee.

Acidity or Bitterness

The roast type of coffee beans is the determinant of the acidity and bitterness of the coffee. Coffee beans that have been roasted more will have fewer acidity levels. The acidity of the coffee bean is stored in its outer layer. When roasted under high temperatures, the outer layer is stripped away and hence the levels of acidity are reduced.

If you suffer from stomach problems, then coffee beans with less acidity would be the best option for you.

Organic of Non-Organic

In a bid to make coffee grow properly and to kill harmful insects, coffee farmers use synthetic pesticides. Organic coffee beans are not grown using these pesticides. Although there are pesticides used when growing organic coffee beans, they do not contain harmful substances. Organic coffee beans are costly than non-organic ones. Check the label for terms such as 100% organic, GMO-free or pesticide-free always if you want to buy organic coffee beans.

Your Roast

Generally, there are three categories of roasts namely light, medium, medium-dark and dark roasts.

Light roasts are brownish in color don’t need to be roasted for too long. Light roasts contain more caffeine than all the other roasts.

Medium roasts usually come from America and sometimes you will see them labeled American coffee. These beans have a greater flavor but have no oily surface.

Medium-dark beans, like the name suggests, have a medium-dark color with little oils on the surface.

Dark roasts, on the other hand, are beans have a shiny oily surface and produce a bitter taste when brewed.

Your Taste

What’s your taste? Although you will have known all the other factors that make the best coffee, you can’t ignore your taste. It’s not easy to determine your taste and preference until you experiment with different types of coffee beans and brewing methods. After experimenting is when you can tell what brewing method and coffee beans best suits you.

What are the Best Coffee Beans?

Now that you have known everything you need to know on how to buy the best coffee beans, you have one last thing you risk skipping. The type of coffee beans. The two famous types of coffee include Arabica, also known as Coffee Arabica and Robusta or Coffea canephora. The difference between the two types of coffee is their caffeine levels.

Arabica coffee contains mild caffeine concentration whereas Robusta coffee contains higher levels of caffeine. That’s why Robusta coffee is bitter than Arabica coffee. Arabica coffee accounts for 60% of global coffee consumption since it’s sweeter, acidity, and fruitier.

Robusta coffee is preferred by those who want it just to kick start the day but if you want to drink coffee throughout the day, then Arabica coffee is the best choice for you. Some coffee brands mix the two types of coffee in one coffee bag so that you can enjoy both the bitterness and sweetness in one cup.

Should You Buy Coffee Beans in Bulk?

Definitely, NO!

Unless you are buying coffee beans to sell at your local shop or restaurant, you should always buy coffee in smaller quantities (coffee beans you can use in one or two weeks’ time since it will go bad when stored for a long period of time.

Decide how much coffee you drink in terms of the cups of coffee you drink a day or a week.

For instance, if you drink 4 cups of coffee per day, you will need around 300 grams of coffee beans for one week.

What Else After Buying the Best Coffee Beans?

Knowing how to buy the best coffee beans is half the battle. Once you have bought your bag of coffee beans, you need to ensure it is stored in a good place.

  • Store in an airtight container

This applies to beans that do not come in a sealed or foil bag with a pinhole because these are specially designed bags for keeping your coffee beans fresh for at least two weeks.

But if you bought your coffee beans in a paper bag, then you need to store them in an opaque and airtight coffee canister. For freshly roasted beans, keep the lid loose to avoid bursting your canister since the beans will release carbon dioxide which can burst the container as gas builds up.

  • Keep your beans in a cool, dry, and dark place

Light and air are enemies of coffee so keep your beans in a cool dry and dark place. You don’t stress yourself on this since a pantry or cabinet that is fitted far from your stove can make the best place to store your coffee beans.

  • Keep your fridge and freezer for other things, not your coffee beans

Yes, the fridge and the freezer can keep food fresh for long but, although coffee beans need to stay fresh, it’s not the best place to store them. Storing your coffee beans in the fridge or freezer will ruin the flavor.

When it comes to coffee drinking, the foundation is more important than the processes that follow. That’s why it’s important to know how to buy the best coffee beans as this is the foundation. After all, everything revolves around the coffee beans- whether it’s the flavor, taste, sweetness, and many other things.

We hope you can be able to get things right from the word go when choosing good coffee beans with the help of this post

Happy Coffeeing!

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Sophia Green

Sophia Green

Sophia is a long time coffee enthusiast and blogger, so the project started naturally five years ago. You can find useful information about coffee types, plantations, equipment and even tips and tricks or fun facts.

View all posts by Sophia Green →

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