Ah, coffee. It’s the world’s most popular beverage, enjoyed in almost every country around the globe. If you are one of the countless people who rise each day looking forward to their first cup of coffee, no doubt you want the best pot every time. Knowing what type of coffee maker to use is important, of course, but what matters most are the coffee beans you buy. Nothing determines a great cup of coffee more than the beans you use to make it.
Two kinds of beans are famous around the world, and no doubt – whether you’re a coffee connoisseur or just a coffee lover – you’re already familiar with them. Arabica and Robusta are the two most prevalent coffee beans, and in this article, we guide you to the bean that’s best for you, for your pot, and for your personal preferences.
Know the origins of your coffee beans
Knowing the origin of a bean is vital because it informs you of the climate and environment in which the bean was grown. Those have a major impact on taste.
Coffee beans once grew primarily in Ethiopia and Sudan. Now, however, beans are grown in approximately 70 nations right across the world. Coffee grows best in warm climates, which is why there are no coffee plantations in Canada! The coffee belt, as it is sometimes called the bean belt, refers to the region between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
In the coffee belt, there are several factors that affect how the coffee grown in a particular region tastes, and those factors include the soil type, how much rain an area gets, and how much sunshine it enjoys. These things all affect the flavor of beans, which ultimately means that no two coffee beans if they are grown in different countries, will taste the same.
Central and South America
In Costa Rica, a tradition has grown up around encouraging visitors to tour coffee farms; it’s become part of the nation’s efforts to promote its coffee. The flavor of Costa Rica coffee is usually light and clean.
Brazil is the biggest coffee producer and exporter in the world. Brazil grows both Arabica and Robusta coffees, which are reliably rich and nutty. Because Brazilian coffee has little acidity, it ranks as one of the world’s most popular.
Columbia is the second-largest coffee producer in terms of annual production. The landscape is ideal for growing coffee, and the country’s Colombian Supremo has an aromatic body and gentle sweetness. Colombian Excelso grade is somewhat more acidic.
Ethiopia is the world’s oldest coffee producer. Its coffee is renowned for having a fruity, bold flavor.
Rwanda is newer to the coffee world, but it has become a major player since the beginning of 2000. Its coffee is known for floral notes, and occasionally the taste of fresh, firm apples.
India is lauded for a particular type of coffee, called Monsoon Malabar. This coffee is raw, and before it is packaged, moisture is allowed to get at it, which lends a very striking but enjoyable flavor. Coffee aficionados describe Indian coffee as mild, easy to drink, and creamy.
Indonesia has two areas that specialize in growing coffee – Java, and Sumatra. (As you know, Java is an alias for a cup of good coffee!) The flavors produced here are quite strong, but also full-bodied. Indonesian coffee, many folks say, tastes of the land on which it was raised.
Choose the coffee roast levels
The level of coffee roasting is a function of time and internal bean temperature. These change with time and the temperature of the inside section of the coffee bean. When that temperature rises, it changes chemically and causes what is known as a first and second crack. When the roasting process is stopped after these cracks occur, a variety of roast levels result. And roast levels alter the flavors in your morning cup.
How to determine the bean’s inside temperature? One way is simply by looking at it, which allows the producer to classify the bean by its color. The coffee beans shift from a light yellow tinge to a darker shade of brown. No need to memorize all the coffee professionals’ lingo – The National Coffee Association describes coffee roasting into four levels: Light, medium, medium-dark, and dark. Read on to find out the difference, and which one is right for you!
This coffee bean is light brown and has a dry surface. The coffee it produces is usually fairly gentle and well-balanced, with a high acidity level. This coffee isn’t as pungent as others, as a short roasting period doesn’t allow oil to get through to the bean’s outer layer. Also called Light City, Cinnamon, New England, Half City.
This roast also produces a bean that is brown, but the longer roast period allows a little oil to escape to the outer layer. (This happens to be the most widely popular roast level in all of America.) This bean has higher levels of acidity and body and is the most chosen roast level of consumers and restaurateurs alike in the U.S., where it’s also known as American, City, Breakfast.
Also called Full City, Light French roast, this roasting method produces a rich dark brown color of coffee beans, and a lot of oils exude to the outer layer; in fact, oils are distinctly visible on the beans. Although it’s a little more acidic, it’s also rich in flavor and aroma and is a popular choice among true coffee lovers who enjoy a strong, full-bodied cup. This roast is frequently used to make espresso.
In this case, oils clearly rise to the outer layer and the beans look quite shiny. Because the acidity level is lower, the taste can sometimes be a little bitter, but nonetheless, it has a lot of flavors and plenty of body, and many consumers love this roast. It is also known as Espresso, French, Italian, Viennese, High, New Orleans, European.
Pick the right brew method for you
Many folks overlook brewing methods when they’re choosing their coffee beans. But how you brew it has a huge impact on which beans you should choose!
Know your brewing method, and let it be your guide when you select your beans. Here’s a quick guide to which coffee beans match what brewing style to help you make the right choice.
If you’re using a French press, your best bet (and the most popular) is medium roast or dark roast beans. French presses eliminate the bitter taste that some people feel spoils dark roast beans. This is the preferred brewing method in bistros all over Europe.
Do you love making cold brew coffee? Because lightly roasted beans can be quite acidic, they work well in cold brew coffee makers. Although cold brewing takes about 16 hours to complete, it really lessens how much acidity gets through. In the end, you wind up with a delicious cup of coffee.
If you enjoy making espresso, you must pay close attention to the coffee beans you buy. Traditional espresso is made its best with dark roast beans, or medium roast ones. They are the least acidic and bring lots of bodies to the brewing process. Espresso beans are visibly oily, and the flavor is dark, rich, and deep – a truly delicious cup of brew.
Do you love your pour-over coffee maker? You’re not alone! Countless people love this method of brewing, but be sure to select a lightly roasted bean. Because the water slowly drains over the beans, the full flavors have time to release.
All coffee makers have the potential to make great coffee, but you’ve got to choose the best beans for the brewing machine you own. How flavourful your coffee is depends on just two things: your maker and your coffee beans! Match the right ones, and voila! You’ll make a fabulous cup of coffee every single time!
Check out our blog post “Top 10 Manual Coffee Makers for Every Type of Coffee Enthusiast” for more information on the brewing method you may like best.
Know your individual taste preferences
Do you love strong, rich coffee with a major hit of caffeine, or do you prefer something a little tamer? Every coffee lover has their own tastes and habits, like using cream, milk, or sugar to sweeten their sip. the type of beans you choose can have a big impact on what you get from your coffee and how you like it to taste.
Caffeine is the most widely used mood-altering substance on the market in the entire world. If you look to your morning cup of coffee to give you a hit of energy and perk you up, you should know that different coffee beans have different amounts of caffeine. But which one has the most or the least caffeine? Like so many questions in life, the answer is – that depends!
Robusta beans have about three percent caffeine, whereas Arabica has less, about one-and-a-half percent. If you love coffee for the flavor rather than the burst of energy, Arabica is likely best for you. The higher the caffeine content, the more bitter the taste.
However, how you brew your coffee affects the caffeine content. Ounce for ounce, espresso has the most caffeine of any brewing method – about 40 – 55 milligrams. Drip coffee, on the other hand, has just 9 – 18 milligrams per ounce.
Just remember: There’s a limit to how much caffeine anyone should ingest. Healthy adults shouldn’t consume more than 300 – 400 milligrams per day. More than that may cause unwanted side effects, like a jittery feeling and insomnia.
With or without milk or cream?
Drinking your coffee in any way other than black alters the flavor. If you have to put milk in, or you’re having an espresso and it’s just too strong without milk, be sure to use a blend. But if you’re a black coffee fan, use single origin.
Single-origin is defined as coffee that comes from one estate only. It has a unique flavor, but may not be terribly well balanced. A blend means several single origins roasted together. Because blends are often more full-bodied, they work well with milk or cream.
Brew like a pro with these tips
Do you want to brew the best possible cup of coffee possible? Here are some suggestions to help you achieve that.
When buying coffee beans, check the expiry date. What matters is that you buy them as close to the roasting date as you can – that way, the beans are fresh and smell wonderful. Coffee is at its most flavourful within 10 days of the roasting date. Use it up within one month, or the beans will start to go stale.
Minutes before you brew
Grind it just before brewing it! Coffee packs the biggest punch and has the most vibrant flavor if you grind the beans just before you brew. The aroma is at its peak, the taste is at its best, and you can grind it exactly the size you need it to be. Pre-ground doesn’t give you that luxury. If you don’t have your own grinder, now’s the time to buy one!
Store your beans correctly, in a jar or container with a tight-fitting lid. Be sure you tuck the container onto a dark shelf in a cupboard or in your pantry. Never put them in the fridge! That’s a sure-fire way to ruin the robust flavor of your beans.
And don’t forget: used coffee grinds can be used in lots of different ways. If you aren’t sure what to do with them, check out our blog post, “9 Best Uses of Coffee Grounds You Likely Didn’t know.”
There are dozens of different coffees in this world, and choosing the right one that you’ll love the most, and works best with your coffee pot, shouldn’t be a snap decision. Try a variety of brewing methods, settle on the one you enjoy best, and then select the coffee beans that are right for it.
We hope this article helps you make the right call – let us know in the comments section.