Buying Coffee Beans
In today’s video, Cath Seay talks about buying coffee beans and what to look for.
It can be hard to buy coffee beans if you don’t buy a lot of coffee and don’t know where to start, so we put together a quick guide to help you.
Start by having a look at the information that is available. If you are buying it in a store, have a look at the bag and see what’s printed on the label. If you are buying online see what information is available on the website.
Things to look at:
What does it say about the origin of the coffee? It’s not enough for us to just know if the coffee is from Brazil, Colombia or Ethiopia. We should know more specifics about where that coffee is coming from. Such as:
That’s the kind of information we are looking for, and with time it will help you guide and discover what are your favourite regions and producers in a specific country.
It’s not enough just to know if the coffee is 100% Arabica coffee beans or Robusta coffee beans, because Arabica and Robusta are two completely different species of coffee. We should know what variety of Arabica coffee the coffee is. Some examples of Arabica coffee varieties can be Bourbon, Catuai, Caturra, Geisha, Pacamara and many many more.
So have a look to see if that is listed on the coffee label, and if it is, that’s a good step. We will write more about Arabica varieties here at the blog, so stay tuned.
The way that the coffee is processed can have a profound impact on how the coffee tastes. So have a look to see if mentions if it’s Washed, Natural, Honey-Processed or another type of process. You might find that you start to have a preference for Washed coffee over time.
This is also a really important thing to look for, as once the coffee is roasted, it starts to oxidise and will eventually go stale (and it won’t be good to drink anymore). Usually around 3 months is the optimum time to drink coffee.
So if you’ve got the bag, have a look to see if the Roast Date is printed on the bag (usually on the back or bottom). If you are buying coffee online, have a look at the roaster’s notes. They usually say what days they are roasting coffee and it will give you an indication of how fresh that coffee will be when it arrives to your house.
If it doesn’t have a roast date, don’t buy that coffee. You have no idea how old it is.
It goes without saying, at this point, that buying whole beans is paramount. We really really recommend investing in a coffee grinder, so that you can grind coffee fresh. We have a great selection of coffee grinders in our online shop, that fits all styles and budgets, so make sure to have a look.
If you are buying pre-ground coffee, you are accelerating the oxidation process and you won’t be able to get the best out of those beans and won’t be able to make a great tasting cup of coffee.
Finally, have a look at the tasting notes of the coffee. The roaster will have written down what the flavour characteristics of that coffee is, and it’s there to help you decide whether or not you might like it. So read the notes, decide what coffee you want to buy and enjoy it!
A final thing:
If you are buying coffee to make filter coffee at home, make sure to get a Single Origin coffee. If you are making espresso, both single origin or a blend of coffees can work.