Waking up to the rich aroma of coffee is perhaps the only thing that makes Mondays tolerable. For amidst those exhausting errands and deadlines, a cup of hot coffee, blended perfectly, is what keeps you going. And if you are a true coffee lover, you realize the sheer joy of brewing your own concoction. Here is the ultimate coffee buying guide that will help you find the right kind of beans, brewing options and more to enhance your coffee experience. All those fancy coffee shops and big brands are overrated anyway!
All About Coffee Beans
When it comes to brewing up the elixir of life, nothing but the absolute best should be considered. Making coffee is a ritual, it’s your personalized cup of sanity that helps you survive through the day. Choosing the right bean is but winning half the battle, without proper storage the magic beans are going to lose all that wonderful flavor. So, before you pour all your money, and your coffee, down the drain, learn all about procuring the perfect beans and what to do with them once you get them home;
Picking The Right Beans
There are two main types of coffee beans in the world- namely Coffee Arabica and Coffee Robusta. Over three-quarters of the coffee beans sold in the world are those of the Coffee Arabica variety. Coffee Arabica also referred to as gourmet coffee is of a higher quality than Coffee Robusta, they’re more flavourful, aromatic and contain half the amount of caffeine. Coffee Robusta, on the other hand, are easier to grow, have a higher caffeine content and a powerful astringent flavor. Arabica coffee beans are usually named after the country or area they’re grown in.
The geographical location, climatic conditions, soil, and harvesting all contribute to the flavor of the coffee beans. Coffee plantations usually thrive in the “Bean Belt” a zone 25-degrees north and 30-degrees south of the equator. There are several countries that fall under this belt and trade in coffee. Hawaii is one of the largest producers of coffee, Kona coffee is the most sought-after type in the world. The Columbian coffee is known for its distinct caramel sweetness and balanced acidic levels. Brazilian coffee beans are perfect for espresso.
It’s All In The Label
Here are some tips for buying the right coffee bean that goes a long way in giving you that perfect cup of happiness. These are some things you must look for in the label before buying the coffee;
- Always buy whole beans, pre-ground coffee, though convenient, lose majorly out on flavor
- Check the roast date, the fresher the beans are roasted, the better the flavor
- Read the roaster’s information, most brands usually state the process on the label
- Remember high priced coffee isn’t always better.
Check For Certifications
Another important thing to look for is branding, packing, and certifications. Fair Trade, for instance, is one such organization that aims to promote fair trade operations and empower the lower-level coffee producers economically. The coffee beans certified by Fair Trade are usually cheaper, endorsing marginal producers and sustainable. Rainforest Alliance and Smithsonian Bird Friendly are eco-friendly. USDA Organic doesn’t have any chemicals or fertilizers and is organically produced. And UTZ certified beans, in association with Rainforest Alliance, work towards preserving the biodiversity of the Bean Belt, uplift the local farmers and build transparent supply chains.
What Out For These Red Flags
Not every coffee brand you find in the supermarket aisle would offer the same quality or flavor. Here are some red flags you must look out for and avoid religiously
- Never buy ground coffee, get roasted whole beans and grind them at home- the flavor is way better.
- If you find “100% pure coffee” on the cover, we’d suggest you be cautious because usually authentic brands don’t need to endorse their beans are pure.
- Buy coffee beans that are available in airtight containers only. Some stores serve beans in plastic containers or in those self-serve bags- best avoid those stores.
- Also, refrain from buying coffee beans in bulk, as it leads to more wastage.
Protecting The Coffee Beans
The best way to find your perfect coffee is to taste, experiment and try on new flavors. Don’t stick to one type of coffee beans or brewing. There are so many varieties to try out! And after the beans are delivered, whether online or from the local store, the next step is to preserve these precious beans for as long as you can.
· Store the beans in an air-tight container
· Avoid exposing the beans to sunlight, opt for a cool, dry place
· Also, avoid moisture like plague when it comes to storing coffee beans
· Don’t keep the beans in the fridge or freezer.
Where To Buy Coffee Beans From?
Most people pick their coffee from the supermarket or the grocery store down the street. And while those are perfectly reasonable and viable options, you don’t usually find good quality beans in those places,
The best places to buy coffee is from those small-scale independent coffee shops or through a local roaster. Some areas might also have specialized grocers and roasters where you can get authentic beans without the trouble of dealing with middlemen. The best way to find these local sources is to explore your neighborhood, experiment and figure out your preferences. Enquire about the roasting schedules to plan your purchases and get your hands on fresh beans.
People who are lucky enough to have a roaster in their locality can either buy them from the store or order the beans online. There are four primary roast types- light, medium, medium-dark and dark. Light beans have the highest caffeine content while dark roasts are charred and have a bitter flavor. Most coffee roasters and local shops have shifted online to expand their customer base and ship their beans internationally. Subscribe to their services and get the best most flavourful beans delivered right to your doorstep every week, month or year.…