Most people who claim to love coffee never take the time to consider what exactly they are drinking. They just gulp coffee down by the potful and don’t care about brands, bean types, roast and the like. However, if you can’t imagine your day without a cup of coffee or ten, why not put some thought into the process? Once you taste coffee that is any good, you will never want to go back. Are you ready for changing your habits to enjoy the drink as much as possible? If yes, stay with me. Mmmm, a warm cup of coffee with super tasty cream, topped with some cinnamon and whipped cream…
1. Trial and Error
First of all, you should understand that no coffee brand is 100 percent delicious by everyone’s standard. Tastes differ, and your palate may find pleasure in a completely different set of flavours than somebody else’s, no matter how much better they know and understand coffee. Moreover, the taste of coffee heavily depends on how it is brewed and stored, how old it is, what water is used in the process, your technique and so on. This means that the same brand may taste quite different depending on different factors – and the only way to find out what exactly you like is to taste a lot of brands prepared in a variety of ways.
2. Make Sure It is Fresh
Coffee loses its bite rapidly with the passage of time, which means that you should always make sure the beans you buy are fresh. More particularly, always try to buy a package with the roast date labelled. If somebody – particularly a seller – says that roast date is unimportant, don’t bother to buy there, for they obviously don’t know a thing about their merchandise. Usually, a coffee bean’s flavour degrades rapidly after two weeks after roast date.
3. Buy Whole Beans
Ideally, you should have a grinder to prepare the beans for brewing at your leisure. If, however, you lack this useful tool, it is still better to buy whole beans – just ask the shop attendant to grind it for you. Sometimes pre-ground beans can make a passable cup of coffee, but you need to be completely sure that the coffee is manufactured and ground right on the spot, and even then, pre-ground coffee will never go above mediocre.
4. Note the Roaster
What kind of roast you are going to like is a purely personal thing, so you should find it out for yourself. Which company did the roasting, however, is something less subjective. Well-respected and high-quality roasters are widely known and have the reputation that guarantees the quality of their beans – you may want to look them up on the Internet or consult coffee experts on their opinions on them. And conversely, after you find one roast you particularly like, it makes sense to try out other types of coffee they make as well just to broaden your experience.
5. Check the Coffee’s Origin
And by origin, we don’t just mean the country (although it matters as well, and coffee beans coming from, e.g., Kenya and Brazil will have their distinctive features), but the location the beans were sourced for roasting. High-quality coffee never shies away from its origins – you will always find all possible information on it on the package. If, however, it isn’t listed or the shop owner cannot help you with it, then chances are the beans were sourced from multiple locations and thus, by definition, are rather low-grade.
Selecting beans to prepare a cup of coffee that will blow your mind is both a science and an art – one can give some guidelines to it, but anybody willing to make any headway has to find their own way – by trial and error. Good luck!