Regardless of how great your coffee appliances may be, no luxury coffee machine or grinder will be able to produce a good-tasting coffee drink without high-quality beans.
If you choose flat, stale blends or go for the first expensive roast without properly studying its effects, juicing a good brew out of it will be next to impossible.
If you’re quite new to the whole home brewing business, this overview might give you a few helpful tips for choosing your first top-grade coffee bean brand. So let’s take a look at some of the most popular coffee bean brands on the market today and their compatibility with various coffee brews.
List of Top Rated Coffee Beans
|Lifeboost Coffee||- Only pure single-origin beans|
- Organic, chemical-free
- Rounded body and fruity aroma
- Sustainable packaging
- Sun-dried and shade-grown
|View on Lifeboost|
|Koa Coffee||- Meticulously selected rare peaberry beans|
- Mild and sweet flavor topped with smooth body
- Works with all brewing methods
- Free of bitterness
|View on Koa Coffee|
|Trade Coffee||- Careful curation of world’s best blends, single-origin beans, and other coffee exports|
- Fresh-roasting on demand and safe delivery
- Accommodating pricing and delivery
|View on Drink Trade|
|Cuvée Coffee||- best for french press|
- dark roast
- Cocoa Nibs
- Lingering Body
|View on Cuvee Coffee|
|Coffee Bros.||- Pure Arabica beans sourced from leading suppliers|
- Always roasted fresh and sealed for best storage
- Sweet, pleasant aroma with hints of berries and sugar cane
- Ideal for espresso
|View on Coffee Bros.|
|Volcanica Coffee||- Grown exclusively on volcanic slopes|
- Distinct aroma
- Roasted fresh right before shipment
- Rich and dark but free of bitterness or ashy aftertaste
- Deeply aromatic
|View on Volcanica Coffee|
Review of the Best Coffee Beans in the World
Lifeboost — Best Coffee Beans
Known for its healthy and ethical approach for coffee production, Lifeboost offers what is quite possibly the best whole bean coffee on the current market. Their range of roasts are also accommodating to all tastes, whether you prefer your coffee light, medium, dark, or decaf—all of which can be purchased in whole bean or pre-ground form.
What separates Lifeboost from similar coffee producers is their sustainable coffee growing process as well as its carefully monitored harvesting and subsequent fair-trade distribution.
Grown at high altitudes in the ecologically clean mountain areas in Nicaragua, Lifeboost’s single-origin speciality beans are guaranteed to be free of GMOs, mould toxins, chemicals, and pesticides.
The small farms that handle every step of the growing and harvesting process make sure all Lifeboost beans are shade-grown in order to avoid the usage of pesticides and get only the purest coffee possible.
All beans are then washed and left to dry in the sun naturally. The sun-drying process helps the farmers exercise more precise moisture control, gathering the dried beans once they have reached the optimal moisture levels of 11.5%, after which the coffee goes through a thirty-day period of rest for flavor enrichment.
So in addition to the rich, natural flavors made possible by high altitude cultivation, Lifeboost beans improve their taste bouquet with the entirely eco-clean sun-drying process and a special resting stage.
Moreover, the company ensures that their roasts are much better on your digestion, particularly their medium and dark roasts that are devised to be much lighter on your stomach.
Koa Coffee — Best Premium Coffee Beans
Though many view peaberry coffee as more of a passing trend, the elite nature of these beans and their unique light flavor are likely to cement their status as the best premium choice for years to come.
But how is peaberry different from regular beans? You may know that all coffee beans are extracted from red coffee tree fruits known as cherries, but whereas regular cherries usually contain two beans growing alongside with one flat side and one rounded, peaberry coffee is a natural mutation in which only one bean grows inside the cherry casing and lacks the regular flatness, instead coming out slightly smaller and completely round.
This mutation occurs in 5-10% of all coffee fruits, so in order to have an entire retail batch of peaberry beans, they should all be picked and sorted out by hand during the harvesting process. The rarity and careful selection of peaberry beans as well as their richer flavor make for one of the best-tasting coffee in the world.
One of the best Hawaiian Kona coffee producers, Koa Coffee offers a rather extensive selection of peaberry coffee beans in a variety of roasts, all offering rich, singular flavors.
Koa Coffee’s Peaberry Medium Roast Kona beans are sweeter and somewhat lighter in taste when compared to regular beans, with its aromatic notes of thyme and magnolia as well as a soft aftertaste of cherry, cedar, and a little bit of caramel.
Koa’s peaberry beans are also less acidic than regular medium roasts, so it might be a good choice for anyone with strong acid reflux. Coffee made from this roast is best enjoyed in its pure form without the addition of cream, milk, or syrups.
Trade Coffee — Best Fresh Whole Bean Coffee
It might seem like an unusual pick for the list that mainly focuses on roasters, considering that Trade Coffee is a coffee bean supplier and not a roaster in itself, but their impressive coffee catalogue and careful selection policy make them one of the most accommodating coffee bean retailers in the country.
Trade Coffee sells both single-origin coffee and blends, and if you have a hard time choosing between the great multitude of roasts and flavors, the site offers a handy coffee quiz that can help you pick a coffee brand based on your preferred flavor, aroma, and even brewing method.
Regular subscription plans and discounts are also available for first-time and recurring customers, and some offers often cover limited-edition roasts and multiple-bag batches.
Cuvée Coffee — Best Coffee Beans for French Press
If you’re a fan of home-made French press coffee, you may know that finding a well-balanced roast for this method of brewing can be rather tricky since it requires the beans to be neither too light nor too dark, and not even a solid medium, but somewhere in between medium and dark.
Devised exclusively for French press coffee and coffee lovers that want something more smokey but not entirely dark, the West Pole Dark Roast from Cuvée Coffee sourced from Caturra beans hits all the beats of medium-dark roasts without losing the smokey strength or overpowering the flavor with bitterness.
Harvested in at high altitude in Colombia, West Pole provides the full spectrum of roast development while keeping the body light and spicy.
Coffee Bros. — Best Coffee Beans for Espresso
Established only recently, the family-owned Coffee Bros are perhaps one of the best newcomers in the business on the world stage of coffee bean production at the moment.
Offering a full range of single-origin roasts and specialty beans, Coffee Bros work extensively with non-profit and fair-trade companies as well as other sustainable business partners that ensure all growing and processing of beans are done naturally, including drying and washing.
Although the company produces all popular types of roasts—from light, medium, and dark to decaf and cold brew—their elite Espresso Roast beans will be of particular interest to espresso lovers who prefer to get their fill at home.
Grown in Ethiopia and Colombia at mixed altitudes (from medium to high), the Espresso Roast comes in Ethiopian Heirloom and Caturra varieties each providing its own unique flavor combination with notes of vanilla and red fruit.
Volcanica Coffee — Best Dark Roast
With their main focus of distribution centered on gourmet single-origin coffee beans, Volcanica Coffee Company has long established itself as one of the leading premium coffee retailers, sourcing high-altitude volcano-grown coffee and roasting every batch fresh before shipment.
Their Dark Roasted Coffee is undoubtedly one of the company’s most acclaimed roasts made from the best specialty beans harvested in Guatemala, Sumatra, and Colombia.
Volcanica’s dark roast is perhaps one of their most aromatic and would satisfy anyone who prefers their coffee slightly richer but not too acidic or bitter.
This roast is all of that and more, adding a certain smoky quality to the drink but not overdoing it in terms of density, so you can take it without sugar. Additionally, it goes particularly well with various flavor additions like milk or cream.
Joe Coffee — Best Light Roast
Light roasts are admittedly not as universally appreciated as medium roasts or dark roasts, but those who prefer their coffee lighter and less smokey know well that it’s not so easy to find a roaster that ensures their light roasts are 100% light and don’t come mixed in with medium or even dark roasts in the same pack.
If you want to be absolutely sure in the purity of your roast, Joe Coffee’s collection of lighter roasts would be exceptionally fitting for your tastes, particularly their La Familia Guarnizo beans of the Caturra variety harvested in the Colombian Andes at high altitudes under Rainforest Alliance certification.
Though La Familia Guarnizo is a light roast, its actual body is softer but retains the full richness of flavor and aroma, bringing in a touch of honey, tangerine, and toasted pecans. The roast comes out especially well in drip coffee and pour-overs, releasing the full range of its sweet fruity bouquet.
PT’s Coffee — Best for Cold Brew
Those who prefer the gentler acidity and smoother taste of cold brew coffee should know that to make it at home you will need two things: a lot of patience and a good blend of coarsely-ground beans since you’ll be steeping your coffee for several hours, usually between six and twelve. And when a brew is so concentrated, the roast variety should be chosen very carefully.
PT’s Flatlander Signature Blend contains a variety of premium beans sourced from eco coffee producers all over South America and freshly roasted in Topeka.
As a blend, Flatlander works particularly well with cold brews given its well-rounded body and richness of flavor built on a bittersweet base with nutty overtones of almond, chocolate, and caramel.
Verve — Best Decaf Coffee
Decaffeinated doesn’t necessarily mean less delicious, and many premium decaf coffee brands offer rich flavors that can rival many middle-market regular coffee producers.
One such brand is Verve, specifically their Vancouver Decaf coffee variety that combines high-quality blends to create a smooth, sweet-tasting flavor palette.
All Verve coffees are Swiss Water Processed®, Vancouver Decaf being no exception. This roast is of light-medium intensity whose components are sourced from several Colombian and Brazilian farms, each singular variety mixing seamlessly with the rest of the bouquet suitable for espresso, drip coffee, and other types of brews, though the Decaf’s intricate brown sugar and nutty notes are best enjoyed in espresso form.
Atomic — Best Organic Coffee
This is where Atomic Coffee Roasters come in: known for their single-origin roasts and blends, the company has been sourcing only purely organic coffee beans grown without harmful chemicals, pesticides, GMOs, or other components that are ecologically or medically hazardous.
Atomic’s House Blend is inarguably one of their best blends suitable even for the most sensitive palates thanks to its medium roast level and softer, sweeter kick achieved through the medium-altitude growing process. The blend also works perfectly with all brewing methods, including French press.
Featuring only the best from Bourbon, Typica, Catuai, and Caturra varieties, House Blend stands-out among other similar neutral-roast coffees with its reduced acidity, well-preserved nutty and sweet flavor with notes of milk chocolate, and a much smoother body overall.
How to Choose the Best Coffee Beans?
Finding a single coffee bean brand that could satisfy everyone is virtually impossible not only on the account of differences in personal tastes but also due to health requirements that vary greatly on an individual level.
For example, someone with chronic heartburn won’t be able to enjoy roasts with high acidity levels just as people with sensitive stomachs can’t pick just any dark roast unless they want to deal with digestion issues.
So to choose the right type of coffee beans for you, it’s best to do some reading on coffee bean types and their effects before the purchase.
When choosing coffee beans, you’re essentially looking at two major aspects of coffee consumption here: individual (i.e. what effects the coffee will have on your body which is determined by flavor, roasting, growing and brewing methods, etc) and environmental, or how the production of any given coffee brand impacts the environment which includes the ethical treatment of workers, land, fair-trade policies, and other aspects of mass production.
Before worrying yourself about flavors or country of origin, it would be wise to start with the brewing method.
Not all coffee types work well with certain brewing processes, so if you have one or two preferred methods of making coffee—the ones you are sure you’re going to stick with for quite some time — it’s best to sort the coffee catalogue according to your brewing routine, whether you’re more of an espresso person, a French press enthusiast, or a drip coffee traditionalist.
Types of Coffee Beans
If you’re here, you probably already know that there are two major types of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta, though most brands offer blends of both with various content ratios in the mix.
Generally the more expensive choice, Arabica coffee is valued for its softer, more well-rounded flavor palette. Typical Arabica coffee is sweeter and often infused with fruity or berry-like notes and it’s also more pleasant aromatically.
And though many coffee lovers value the higher acidity content in Arabica coffee, this is precisely the reason why it might not be the best choice for anyone who’s advised against consuming acidic products due to health reasons.
Compared to Arabica, Robusta is a bit bolder in terms of flavor, sometimes even a little coarse and overpowering. But its low acidity and less punchy aroma make it for a perfect addition to Arabica blends, and when added at the ratio of 80:20 of Arabica to Robusta, the resulting blend comes out perfectly suitable for making espresso with its tasteful body, slightly stronger kick, and more balanced finish.
Coffee blends with higher robusta content are also more suitable for people who’d like to avoid overly acidic coffee brews.
Coffee Bean Purity
Single Origin Coffee
As the name suggests, single-origin coffee beans are those grown and harvested in a single region, though they are also typically processed using a single method (sun-drying, washing, etc).
It’s this precise adherence to single-area harvesting and selection that makes single-origin yields and roasts so uniform in their flavor, so it’s easy to distinguish single-origin beans by taste and aroma.
If you prefer to know where your coffee comes from to the last little detail or if you simply enjoy a more consistent taste, then single-origin beans would be a smart choice.
A complete opposite of the geographical purity seen in single-origin beans, coffee blends are at this point more of an art form dealing with intricate flavor and aroma combinations.
Blends typically mix different coffee bean varieties, often using coffee from the same region or mixing up coffee of several origins.
Anyone who wants to try out something new in terms of flavor or aroma is likely to enjoy premium coffee blends, though it takes a careful selection process on your part since there are countless varieties of coffee blends with more and more being created regularly.
Types of Roasts
Though coffee beans can be roasted with a great number of intensity levels as determined by the roast time of the beans, the main three as described below are the most common roast types in the industry.
Light roasts have the shortest roast time (though it’s far from simply ‘underdoing’ the beans) which results in the beans acquiring a light brown color.
This type of roast is high in acidity and is perhaps the best out of three at preserving the terroir of the beans—their original taste specific to the region, the altitude at which it was grown, air temperature and humidity, drying process, etc—making the brew particularly flavorful and rich since the roasting process didn’t overpower the existing body.
As a rule, light roasts go well with milk, cream, or as a component in sweet coffee drinks or caffeinated cocktails.
Toasted until well-brown in color, medium roasted beans are sweeter than light roasts, more aromatic, and have a rounder body overall.
The roast time is enough to begin the caramelisation of sugars contained in the beans without burning them or completely erasing the aroma with a layer of smoke.
This means that medium roasts are bolder in flavor and aroma but their terroir can still be distinguished easily. The acidity is slightly reduced but is still pretty high, especially in Arabica beans.
Well-done medium roasts are usually the default among coffee gourmets and professionals since they provide the best of both extremes while remaining well-balanced.
Due to the extended time of their roast, most dark roasts acquire a certain shine due to the extraction of natural oils under the heat.
These roasts also turn dark brown or deep black color, again on the account of roasting time, and as a result, the beans lose the subtlety of their aroma and the fullness of the body.
Darkly roasted beans are typically bitter, smokey, and also less acidic which could work well for people who can’t take acidic coffee.
Premium dark roasts are often used for espresso on a commercial level and at home since they work perfectly for this method of coffee brewing.
The freshness of a coffee roast is paramount for the quality of the brew regardless of the brew type and the type of the source roast, for that matter. Depending on how close the coffee is roasted prior to consumption, the taste of the brew can drastically change with the oldest coffee usually losing the richness of its taste and aroma.
Whole bean coffee tastes best within the first week after the initial roast, but if it’s stored in a hermetically sealed container with an air release valve, the original flavor and aroma can be preserved for up to two months if treated right.
The more roasted coffee is exposed to air, the faster it ages and loses the intricacy and vibrancy of its flavor, so exposure must be avoided at all costs. As for coffee grounds, its freshness doesn’t last past one week which should be taken into consideration when buying coffee in bulk.
One of the best roasters currently operating who go above and beyond to preserve the original taste of their roasts are Coffee Bros.
The company works with small batches, so the storage of resulting roasts is economic and comes with minimal risks of loss in terms of flavor. Their beans are also immediately sealed after the roast and are well-isolated for short-term storage and fast shipping.
There’s an old myth accepted by many as fact to this day that insists on caffeine content being directly reliant on the coffee’s roast intensity, but there is little to no truth to this belief given than the roasting process doesn’t destabilize the caffeine content in the beans in any way.
What actually occurs during the roasting process is the change in density and therefore the overall weight of the beans.
So while dark roasts don’t have more caffeine in them compared to light roasts, their net weight slightly decreases, meaning that you will get less caffeine in a single scoop of dark roast beans due to their larger size but lesser weight.
Given than an average arabica coffee bean holds about 1.9 milligrams of caffeine and a robusta bean contains about 2.9 milligrams, it could be surmised that an average 100-gram pack of arabica coffee will give you between 1.2 and 1.5 grams of caffeine, while the same amount of robusta will yield between 2.2 and 2.7 grams.
When applied to an actual brew, an average 8-ounce cup of coffee is likely to contain between 95 and 200 milligrams of caffeine.
When consumed in moderation, caffeine is known to be beneficial for health such as mild improvements for daily memory functions, ability to concentrate, and even certain problems with digestion.
However, the benefits will quickly morph into side effects if the daily average for caffeine consumption goes beyond the allowed limit of the safe 400 milligrams per day. Taking this into consideration, it’s possible to count the optimal levels of caffeine for your individual coffee entail.
But what of decaffeinated whole bean coffee? While it’s true that decaf is considered by many to be a “lesser” coffee, it’s in no way inferior to the one made from caffeinated beans. Generally, coffee could be considered decaf if the caffeine amount per standard cup is below 4 milligrams.
However, modern processing technologies allow coffee producers to extract almost all caffeine from the harvested beans while retaining their original terroir down to the most intrinsic of flavor notes.
This type of decaf is a real lifesaver for coffee lovers who simply enjoy the rich taste of brews made from whole coffee beans but can’t take caffeine due to health reasons.
Coffee Bean Origins
Similarly to wine and the nature in which wine grown in different regions carries their own very specific terroirs, the flavor and aroma of coffee is directly tied to its place of origin.
This can be explained by the coffee variety itself and how it interacts with the climate of the region which is often determined by the altitude of the plantation area, humidity and shade levels during the formative period of growth, fertilizers used or omitted during plantation, and much more.
Certain regions in South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia are considered to be the best places for growing and harvesting coffee beans, though it also depends on the variety of the beans.
So let’s take a quick look at the most prolific producers of globally acclaimed coffee beans and what exactly makes these countries the best of the lot.
The world’s third-largest coffee exporter, Colombia is famous for its specialty coffee varieties and unique drying methods. Due to the versatility in the country’s climate and the ability to grow the coffee almost year-round, Colombia boasts a multitude of coffee profiles that greatly differ from each other in terms of body, flavor, and aroma.
Among the most widely cultivated bean varieties in the country are Bourbon, Castillo, the famous Caturra, Tabi, Colombia, Typica, Maragogype, and many more. The country engages many of its regions in coffee production, though the main three (referred to locally as the coffee triangle) coffee producers are Caldas, Risaralda, and Kindio.
Brazil is quite famously the leading global producer of coffee, taking up nearly 35% of the world’s coffee market. Though the most commonly exported variety is Arabica (around 80% of all exports), Brazil grows other popular varieties such as Bourbon, Acaia, Mundo Novo, Catuai, and many more.
Brazilian coffee is available year-round thanks to the country’s sheer size and farming flexibility, cultivating coffee on small family-own plantations as well as larger estates.
What distinguished Brazilian coffee is the historic development of its cultivation: in the past, the country severely lacked water necessary for abundant plantations, so many processing methods derived from that, giving some varieties distinctly regional flavors, especially in case of specialty beans.
Not only is Ethiopia widely considered to be the cradle of mankind, but the country is also the most likely birthplace of coffee as we know it. Ethiopia’s current export places it the tenth in the global market, taking 5% of the world’s production, though the country is highly regarded as the producers of the best Arabica given that they only focus on Native Heirloom varieties.
Ethiopia relies on three major types of coffee production: forest, garden, and plantation coffees. Grown in the wild, forest coffees are attended to by local farmers, while the garden and plantation coffees operate on a more commercial level in terms of structure.
Garden coffees are grown alongside other popular crops in smaller lots and farms so their quantity is not measured in hectare but rather in the number of trees that occupy the soil space on any given lot.
And plantation coffee, although grown in large quantities in estates that deal exclusively with coffee, take up only a small percentage of the country’s production system.
Out of all coffee-producing Asian countries, Indonesia is inarguably the leader in terms of both the volume of exports (being the 4th in the world) and the quality of the coffee.
Though having originally started with Dutch-imported pure Arabica, Indonesia now allocates about 25% of its plantation capacity to that variety, working primarily with elite varieties of Caturra, Tim Tim, Catimor, Bourbon, Typica, and a selection of S-Hybrids grown on the islands of Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, Bali, and several others.
What makes Indonesian coffee unique is the nature of its processing. A more standard way of storing coffee is preserving its skin, or parchment, before directly exporting, but Indonesian approach actually adds a few extra steps to it: hulling (removing the skin) and re-drying the beans to avoid the formation of moulds and keeping them from rotting. This method adds to the distinct terroirs Indonesian coffees possess, from the spicy profile to richer flavor as a whole.
Together with several distinct agricultural exports like bananas and pineapples, Honduras prides itself on producing and supplying the best of high-altitude-grown Arabica varieties, among which Typica, Caturra, Parainema, Pacas, and Catuai are the most distinguished.
Very high- and high-altitude varieties are grown in Agalta Tropical, Marcala-Montecillos, Copán, Opalca, Comayagua, while medium to very high-altitude varieties can be found in the department of El Paraíso.
Almost 95% of all Honduran production is done by family-owned farms, most of which are small-batch producers with plantations under 2 hectares and fewer which works towards the betterment of the local economy and supports small business in line with fair-trade policies.
As mentioned before, choosing coffee goes beyond personal preferences or health recommendations. As ecological and ethical consciousness grows more and more throughout the consumer world, the transparency statements become compulsory, albeit in an unofficial capacity.
If you worry about your carbon imprint on the world, and rightfully so, as well as the way in which the consumption affects local farmers and economies, this side of coffee production is likely to overtake all other aspects such as personal taste.
Heavier leanings towards more natural, organically-grown products can be observed in all areas of the agricultural industry, coffee being among them as one of the leading global industries in terms.
Coffee is considered organic only when no pesticides, fertilizers, or other chemicals are used in the production. That includes the treatment of soil, the plantation and growth of beans, as well as harvesting and processing.
The USDA Organic classification oversees the production of coffee and makes sure none of the federal guidelines are being violated such as the usage of GMOs and chemically-treated soil etc.
The most organic eco-clean beans are those grown free of any synthetic additives, usually in the shade, and are sun-dried without application of any industrial machinery.
These days the Fair trade model has become more or less an expected standard in the US, at least for the socially conscious consumers. Being under a Fair trade agreement means suppliers in developing countries are protected environmentally and economically, properly compensated, and the rights of their workers are not violated.
Buying Fair trade coffee may greatly contribute to the rainforest preservation, reforestation, better environmental protection, and ethical treatment of workers. One of the most trusted Fair trade whole bean brands is Tiny Footprint Coffee that donates part of their profits towards rainforest preservation.
Best Way to Store Coffee Beans
Spending an entire fortune on elite coffee brands only leaving them to quickly spoil in improperly arranged storage is not only counter-productive but, to put it simply, financially irresponsible. So if you plan to purchase expensive coffee or even get a subscription to one of the elite brands, it’s important to learn how to properly store the coffee beans.
- If the whole beans come in poorly sealed packaging, they should be transferred into an airtight jar or any other container (preferably with an air release valve) to prevent excessive contact with oxygen.
- The container in which you keep the beans should be stored in a dark and dry place, like a kitchen cupboard. It’s vital to keep it away from direct light and extreme temperature spikes.
- Keeping whole beans (and especially fresh roasts) in a refrigerator is the practice most express advise against since the coffee container should be kept at a room temperature, and preferably away from humid spaces. However, a new unsealed package could be stored in the fridge for some time but only if the seal hasn’t been broken.
As already mentioned, all coffee beans contain acids, though the complexity of their acidic content is dependent on the conditions in which the beans are planted and grown.
For instance, Arabica varieties grown at high altitudes tend to be rich in citric acid that imbues the coffee with subtle citrus flavors such as orange or grapefruit.
Chlorogenic Acids, or CGAs, are more present in light roasts due to their inability to withstand longer periods of roasting, hence the generally brighter flavor of light roasts.
On the opposite spectrum of it are the dark roasts infused with quinic acid as a result of long periods of biodegradation. This type of acid can be heavy on the stomach, so drink old or too-strong dark coffee with caution.
Though ‘high acidity’ may sound rather negative, it is what enriches each coffee variety with its strong flavor, so the less acidic the coffee, the less flavor it can produce in the coffee brew.
However, if you physically can’t digest acidic foods and beverages, it’s recommended you choose coffees with extremely low acidity.
Like with other common flavor notes found in coffee such as acidity or sweetness, bitterness is not necessarily a bad attribute as long as it’s there in moderation.
Too much bitterness typically occurs in coffee beans of lesser quality, especially poor quality robusta that has to be roasted to absolute darkness in order to mask the flat body of the original beans, resulting in an overly bitter, ashy aftertaste.
But even premium-quality coffees may turn bitter when ground or brewed improperly, so it’s in your best interests to read on the recommended methods of preparation and brewing for the brand and bean variety you plan to use.
The strength of coffee is typically defined by its caffeine levels. Whether you’re brewing your own coffee at home using whole beans or have a preferred coffee shop, there are easy ways to know the general average caffeine content in popular coffee drinks.
As seen in the table below, the caffeine levels do not vary drastically until you pay attention to the cup size:
How to Grind Coffee Beans
Of course, the easiest way to grind coffee beans is by using a coffee grinder designed specifically for this purpose. Automatic coffee grinders tend to be more expensive, while classic mechanical grinders like simple blade grinders or slightly better burr grinders can do the job just as well and help you save on electricity bills.
But what if you can’t exactly afford a coffee grinder but would still like to enjoy freshly-roasted coffee that you could grind and brew at home? There are plenty of alternative methods for grinding coffee beans without the help of more or less common kitchen tools:
- grinding in a blender
- running beans through a kitchen meat grinder
- using a manual spice mill
- crashing the beans in a regular mortar and pestle
- applying a household hammer
The best coffee beans hail from Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Ethiopia, and Honduras.
Arabica beans are generally considered to be the best type of coffee beans (as well as the more expensive one) largely due to richness of flavor, aroma, and quality of resulting brew.
The four main types of coffee beans are Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsa, though only the first two have significant weight commercially.
Consuming coffee beans will result in similar effects one might get from a cup of coffee, so while eating them is safe for your health, it should be done in moderation. People with sensitive teeth and gums should also exercise caution since coffee beans can be pretty tough to chew through. Otherwise, they should be safe to eat as long as it’s done without excess: after all, coffee beans have been consumed for their antiseptic, antioxidant, and refreshing qualities throughout human history.
There have been no recorded cases of any serious sickness caused by old coffee beans directly, so the age of coffee storage mainly influences its aesthetic qualities such as taste and aroma, plus the caffeine levels may drop the longer you store the beans.
Coffee is classified as neither a bean nor a nut but in fact as a seed. Coffee fruits, also called cherries, are produced by coffee trees, so what has become known as beans are actually the seeds contained within a coffee berry or pod.
As of 2020, the title of the most expensive coffee in the world is held by Black Ivory with prices reaching up to $1,500 per pound, with Kopi Luwak following close behind selling at $600 per pound.
Choosing coffee beans that are precisely tailored for your taste is not something that can be accomplished on the first try, especially for a coffee newcomer. But that doesn’t mean that you should get discouraged—every new endeavor and hobby comes with its own trial-and-error period, and it’s the trying that actually makes any experience worth it.
As long as you establish a few ground rules for yourself before making any sort of purchase (especially if you’re leaning towards pricier beans), you will most likely find a coffee variety that hits all the right spots for you.
The selection criteria can be roughly narrowed down to the type of roast, intended brew, caffeine levels, coffee variety, coffee bean origins, and additional factors such as organic and GMO-free production certifications.
And if you’re planning to brew coffee from freshly-roasted beans every morning, it’s also recommended you buy a coffee grinder and a coffee brewer, either manual or automatic—it all comes down to what type of brew you like best.
- Arabica and Robusta Coffee Plant – Coffeeresearch.org
- Coffee Buying Guide – Consumer Reports
- Coffee Around the World – National Coffee Association USA
- New Study Explores the Wellness Benefits of Low Acid, High Antioxidant Puroast Coffee – Coffee Talk
- Which Has More Caffeine: Light or Dark Roast? – Scribblers Coffee Co.
- Brewing – How to Get the Most Out of Your Coffee – Mountain City Coffee Roasters
- Caffeine: How much is too much? — Mayo Clinic
- Mercanta Coffees by Country — The Coffee Hunters