The Ultimate Coffee Bean Selection Guide

Josh Genuth

Brewing a fresh cup of coffee, while unleashing your inner barista, might just be the perfect money-saving approach, as opposed to a daily Starbucks run, but it also poses the issue of choosing the right coffee beans. Ultimately, it all comes down to personal choice and your knowledge of the types of beans. Here are some pointers to help you choose coffee beans that will produce the ideal cup of coffee, from bean type to roast and freshness. 

Bean Types

Like tea leaves, coffee beans come in many different varieties and are grown in different regions. However, it’s important to know that the coffee industry primarily relies on two types, Arabica and Robusta.

Arabica coffee has a fine taste and moderate acidity, resulting in an easy-to-drink flavor profile, and making it the preferred choice for most cafes. Robusta beans, on the other hand, can be cultivated in tougher regions with less rainfall, making them more cost-effective to farm. However, these beans have higher acidity and a more pronounced bitter flavor, making it less preferable for coffee lovers who prefer sweeter notes.

Freshness

One of the most common coffee fallacies is that it lasts forever. The counter-myth that coffee spoils after two weeks is just as misleading. What you need to know is that coffee is essentially a cherry that is produced and handled in a controlled environment, meaning it's always best to have it fresh.

Seek out beans with a visible roast date printed on the packaging. To get the most satisfaction out of the beans, use it no later than 21 days from the indicated roast date. While you may still use beans for up to a month, at around day 14, the quality will begin to decline.

Certification

Organic, shade cultivated, and high-altitude accreditations are labels indicating a high-quality product. Even though a feature like "fair trade" doesn't necessarily guarantee a robust flavor to the beans, it does imply that the journey from the coffee plant to the cup has been meticulously monitored.

Another reassuring bit of information is that organic certification is difficult to obtain and sustain, and producers are made liable for how they handle their beans. This means that you can have peace of mind, knowing that your cup of organic coffee is free of chemicals and that the parasites that threaten coffee trees have been managed through harmless means.

Extent of Roasts

If you’ve tried sniffing raw, young coffee bean that has just been picked, you will know that the scent is more akin to that of a green pepper than aromatic coffee. This is because the roasting procedure is responsible for coffee's classic flavor burst.

Choose dry, lighter-colored coffee beans if you want a smoother cup of coffee, as these beans are roasted for a shorter time, meaning they offer a milder taste profile. Darker roasts, on the other hand, will meet the criteria for a stronger more robust brew.

When you're looking for coffee beans to brew at home, think about the tips featured in this article and see what similar traits you can find in the coffees you enjoy. It may assist you in making better choices in the future when presented with a wide variety of options, or it may offer a new realm of tastes you never imagined possible.