The quality of your favorite morning beverage depends on lots of different factors, such as the temperature and the quality of the water used and the method used for preparing the coffee, but what ultimately gives your beverage its flavor and aroma is the beans – here are a few features to look for if you want to select the best coffee beans.
Look for Whole Beans
When it comes to the quality of your coffee, air is the ultimate enemy of flavor, that’s why the best coffee is made from beans that are ground right before brewing, as part of the coffee making process. Coffee beans have a hard outer shell that protects the interior of the beans, the part that gives the flavor of the brew. If the beans are cracked open and smashed long before the brewing – as it is the case with pre-ground coffee – the contact with air leads to oxidation, which kills much of the flavor in your coffee. The solution: always buy beans instead of powder.
The Date of Roasting
Coffee might have a very long shelf life but it doesn’t live forever. Whenever you buy coffee beans, make sure you check the date when the beans were roasted – don’t worry, you will not get sick if you drink coffee made from beans that were roasted a long time ago, but you will not be able to enjoy the potential of your coffee beans to the fullest if they have spent too much time in the packaging. Roasted coffee beans are at their best within 4 to 14 days from the roasting, so try to buy beans of that age (the roasting date will be provided only on the packages that contain hole beans, pre-ground coffee products are more likely to have a use-by date).
The Roast Profile
The best beans are different for everyone – some of us prefer more robust flavors, while others like their coffee light. The strength of the flavor depends on the roasting method used. Espresso roasts are made to deliver the full, powerful taste that we all know, while filter roasts are made especially for the coffee filter.
The quality of your coffee is determined by the geographical area it comes from. The best coffee beans come from areas where they get sufficient humidity, sun and where they can thrive in nutrient-rich soil. The most renowned coffee producing areas and countries include Brazil, Colombia, Hawaii, Kenya, Ethiopia and Indonesia – if you really like coffee, you will surely enjoy experimenting with beans from all these different areas.
Organic coffee means not only that your beans are more flavorful and do not contain chemicals that might be harmful for your health – it also means that the cultivation process protects the environment. Organic growers use farming methods that do not disrupt the balance of the local ecosystem, technologies that do not pollute the air and the water and they also avoid the use of conventional pesticides and fertilizers. The best coffee beans are not only tasty and strong – they are also grown responsibly, so try to get organically grown beans whenever you can.