Grinding your own coffee beans gives you the control over the taste and richness of the coffee that you drink and offer to your guests. Your coffee will retain its flavor and natural oils much longer if the bean is whole until you grind it for use. You must match the grind to your brewing method.
The best beans to buy are whole and fresh roasted. The bag will have a label that can tell you a lot but personal experimentation is the best way to learn what beans are best for you.
1. Aroma- When you smell the good smell of coffee brewing this is the aroma. For example, Kona beans have a fruity aroma as opposed to a more herbal aroma.
2. Body- This would be the thickness of the brew. American roast coffee is light as compared French, Greek, or Turkish coffee.
3. Acid- If coffee is dry you would say that it has an acid taste. The age and roast make a difference. Mexican coffee is dry as compared to Sumatra which is milder.
4. Nuttiness- This would be from poor quality beans. From aldehydes and ketones, that would give a taste of roasted nuts.
5. Bitterness- Caffein and rancid oils can cause bitterness. Robusta has a more bitter taste than Arabica.
6. Sharpness- This is also more prevalent in Robusta beans. There are more acids and salts than in Arabica beans.
There are many types of coffee beans the two biggest varieties being Arabica and Robusta.
The best quality is Arabica but recommended if you can afford the higher cost. Robusta has more bitterness and is often used in instant coffee.
The next thing to consider is geography. Java, Kona, Sumatra, Columbian, and many other regions produce quality coffee beans and experimentation is the best way to find what is best for you. Columbian is what I use the majority of the time.
The big roasters will mix coffee beans from different locations and farms. This cheapens the cost but single source will give your coffee a consistently uniform good taste.If your label has a specific region such as “Columbian,” that means that all the beans come from Columbia. If there is a label “single estate,” that would show that they come from the same farm. That would give you the consistent uniform good taste that you can depend on.
If you do not like the deep,strong flavor of coffee as I do you may consider a lighter roast such as “City” or “Vienna” roast. In pre-ground coffee, they may call it “Breakfast Blend.” If you are not making espresso you will not need an espresso roast. Most people enjoy a more mild roast. If you are not sure it would take some experimentation.
By learning about labeling you can make better choices as to the type of beans you would like to buy. They can tell you expiration dates as well as the source of the beans. Labeling can not replace the tasting of coffee to tell what is best for you. You may also want to offer different tasting coffee for your friends.
If you live in an area that has many coffee shops you can try what they have to offer and ask questions about suppliers. You can also check your local grocery stores and investigate their coffee. Yelp would be a source to find coffee suppliers.
Two subscription based services are “Coffee CSA” and “Mistobox.” They would be a good way to experiment with an assortment of coffees. You can start with small boxes and order the same in a larger bag when you find what you like.
Four other world wide shippers are Intelligentsia Coffee, Counter Culture, Blue Bottle Coffee, and Tonyx.
MistoBox will deliver fresh roasted artisan coffee to your door monthly.
Coffee CSA will send you a regular coffee delivery to your door and connects you with the specific farmer and helps support them.
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Best coffee drinking for you,