Are you a coffee drinker? If yes, then we’d like to ask you this – how much attention have you been paying to the quality of the beans you consume? This might come as a surprise to some, but not all beans are made equal which is very evident today as there is a great variety of brands who pack coffee of different origins, roasts, and qualities.
Table Of Contents
- 1 Types Of Coffee Beans
- 2 Origin
- 3 The Acidity Of The Beans
- 4 The Bitterness Of The Coffee
- 5 Organic Or No?
- 6 What To Know Before Buying Coffee Beans?
- 7 Top 3 Best Coffee Beans (Whole Bean) in the World
- 8 Final Thoughts
Why should this matter to you? Well, the truth is that if you do not care much about the flavor of your morning brew, then this topic shouldn’t concern you, but if you do, then you might want to keep reading. In today’s article, we’ve prepared reviews of the best coffee beans on the market as well as some relevant facts that you need to know if you are into good coffee. Enjoy!
Types Of Coffee Beans
Before we get talking about the best beans, we’d like to explain what constitutes a quality bean. The first and most important factor is the type, and in this section, we are going to clear this up a bit.
There are two main kinds of coffee – Arabica and Robusta. Many have heard of these names before, but few are aware of what they are, let alone their differences, so, let’s take a closer look at both of them.
Arabica vs Robusta
Arabica – this is the stuff that you want, the high-quality beans. They are rich in flavor which is the main reason for their popularity. Arabica beans have to be grown in very specific conditions in order to yield their maximum potential, and this is why they are deemed so valuable.
Some of the best brands on the market will often put a sign “100% Arabica” on their packages, as an indicator of quality.
Robusta – this type is considered inferior to Arabica for a few key reasons. First, Robusta beans are easier to farm, and they give higher yields. Also, they are less sensitive to insects due to their high caffeine content (higher than Arabica). Last, their flavor is sometimes described as rubbery which is an undesirable taste when it comes to coffee.
Quite often, you will see some coffee brands mixing these two types and selling the blend. They do this to increase the caffeine content without compromising the flavor.
You’ve perhaps heard of the terms “single origin” and “blend” when considering which coffee to buy. So, what does this mean?
Single origin, refers to the beans which come from one specific region (e.g., Ethiopia, Nicaragua, etc.). You could also look at it as “unblended” coffee; not mixed with any other variety.
Unlike some plants which can grow under LED lights, coffee has to be planted outdoors, so different soils and climates produce beans of different features. For example, Ethiopian coffee is usually fruity and sweet, whereas Brazilian tends to be dark and heavy.
Coffee enthusiasts who have a specific flavor profile which suits them will undoubtedly care about the origin of their beans, and should certainly go for single origin coffee.
Blends, on the other hand, include beans of different origins mixed together in one package. This is done to balance out the flavor, acidity, and body of the brew. The person in charge of the blending process has to be an experienced roaster who can combine the beans properly and get the best out of each variety.
The result of this process should be a complex and tasty beverage.
The Acidity Of The Beans
Even though the term “acidity” has a negative connotation, it is not bad when it comes to coffee. Scientifically, acidity is used to describe the pH levels of the beans, and we, the “ordinary” people, use it to talk about the coffee’s flavor. Just to clear this up – lower pH levels mean more acid.
Here’s what you need to know about this characteristic. Highly acidic coffee has, what is described as a “tang,” which refers to the sharp flavor which some individuals like as it helps them wake up in the morning.
However, not everyone can handle this kind of coffee. Some folks find it too strong, and this manifests as stomach ache, headache, or a toothache. If you experience any of these symptoms, it would be advisable to switch to low-acidic beans.
Geographically speaking, African coffees usually have higher acid contents, while South American or Indonesian beans are much milder.
The Bitterness Of The Coffee
In case your coffee tastes too bitter, do not replace the beans, but reconsider your brewing method. The latter is the main reason that coffee tastes this way, and we’ll try to explain why this happens.
When the grind size is too fine the water that goes through them extracts more from the coffee, resulting in a harsh or bitter finish. You can decrease the bitterness by adjusting the brewing method.
Organic Or No?
Many have wondered whether it is worth to buy organic coffee or not. Well, it is not necessary, but if you are concerned about quality and the environment, then the answer is yes.
Organic coffee farms do not employ any pesticides or chemicals in the coffee growing process, which is always a plus.
Coffee usually grows in the shade so more trees need to be planted if one wishes to expand their farms. This brings more wildlife to the area and in turn enhances the richness of the soil.
Many organic producers are associated with rainforest and wildlife groups which, besides being good for the environment, increases the chance of fair-trade and better working conditions for the pickers.
What To Know Before Buying Coffee Beans?
The answer to this question mainly depends on your preferences and how you like your coffee. To ensure that you enjoy a perfect cup of Joe every morning, here’s what you need to figure out.
Light, medium, or dark? Which one do you prefer? If you don’t know the difference, please read the following sections.
Light roasts, have a pale and dry look, almost resembling a raw bean. This kind of coffee has less acidity and a bit more body.
Medium roasts, are a bit sweeter than light ones because the roasting process was long enough for caramelization to take place. They have lower acidity, more body, and with a note of bitterness.
Dark roasts, have a strong, roasted taste with little of the beans original flavor remaining. They feel thick and oily when brewed
Depending on your preferred method of brewing, there are specific kinds of coffee that are optimal for you. For example, the French press works best with low-acidity and full body beans, while drip coffee requires a right balance of acidity, flavor, and body.
Black Or With Milk
Those who like black coffee with no additions first need to determine what kind of flavor suits them. Those who enjoy fruity notes should go for African coffees, while folks who prefer chocolate and nutty flavors will like South and Central American varieties.
Milk and coffee combine the best if the beans are low in acid and have a full body.
Top 3 Best Coffee Beans (Whole Bean) in the World
After we’ve learned all there is to know about coffee beans, and what should you look for when purchasing, it’s time for me to review the top products on the market right now. I’m going to test them according to our previous sections, and talk about all we mentioned a great coffee bean product should have.
Let’s dive in!
Peet’s Whole Bean Coffee – Major Dickinson’s Blend
Those who don’t live in Britain might not know this, but Peet’s is one of the top coffee brands in the UK. This particular blend originates from 1969, when a retired army officer and a customer of Peet’s, suggested it to the owner. The founder then refined this idea with a few coffee enthusiasts, and thus Major Dickinson’s Blend was born.
The beans are 100% Arabica, and they come from a few different sources around the globe. The roast is dark and is optimal for the French press and espresso brewing methods. As for the flavor, it has been described as having the aroma of cocoa and wood smoke with a hint of walnut. The latter is due to acidity levels of the beans.
The reason why this particular product made the list is due to its smooth, rich and complex taste - a result of masterful blending and roasting with a tradition more than half a century long.
What We Liked
What We Didn’t Like
Koffee Kult Dark Roast
Koffee Kult is a family owned business from Hollywood, Florida, and their products have become popular among the coffee geek circles. They follow a fair-trade,environmentally-friendly ethos which is always a positive thing. Today, we are inspecting their dark roast.
Same as our previous contender, this blend is also 100% Arabica. The beans come from three very famous regions – Guatemala, Sumatra, and Colombia, and the company claims always to choose the highest quality ingredients.
It is a full body, not-so-bitter tasting coffee which will appeal to those who enjoy a cup with a bold flavor. Besides ‘boldness,’ the cupping notes of this product could be described as cinnamon, smooth, with and bright.
As far as brewing is concerned, the great thing about Koffee Kult is that this blend can taste fantastic with several different methods. The ones that the company recommends are French press, espresso, and drip, so if you get bored of one, you can always switch to another.
What We Liked
What We Didn’t Like
Jamaica Blue Mountain Peaberry Coffee
This is probably one of the most exclusive and sought-after coffees in the world, especially among very picky Java aficionados. Jamaica Blue Mountain beans are grown in limited quantities because of Jamaica’s governmental restrictions which result in the final product being relatively pricey.
On top of all this, the beans are very hard to pick (handpicked from mountain slopes) and around 80% of yearly production is bought by Japan, leaving only 20% to be distributed to rest of the world.
Ok, so what makes this coffee so special? The unique soil constitution, high altitude and long growing time, give these beans an incredible taste. They are medium roasted, and the flavor they produce can be described as a full body, mid-acidic, and slightly sweet.
The recommended method for brewing these beans is the drip, no matter whether it is poured over or automatic.
Now, one has to be careful when trying to purchase Jamaica Blue Mountain because there are many frauds out there. For example, beware of Jamaica Blue Mountain Blends, as they usually contain a very small amount of the original and are packed with other, filler beans.
What We Liked
What We Didn’t Like
Slowly but surely, we’ve reached the end of this article, and now it’s time for us to leave you with a few final words.
Before you set out to buy any of the beans we presented today, please make sure that they are the right fit for you in terms of flavor, brewing method, and the way you drink your coffee. If you do this, then there is little to no chance that you will be disappointed by your purchase.
Another piece of advice would be not to stick to one particular brand all the time. The world of coffee is ever expanding and has never been more rich and beautiful than now, so do more research and you might find some beans that we haven’t yet discovered.
To conclude, we want to remind you to enjoy every cup of this magical drink as if it were your last.