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A 5 Step Guide to Selecting the Best Coffee Beans
Most consumers would think that coffee is coffee and that it wouldn't matter if it's instant or brewed as long as it tastes okay and wakes them up. While that is all fine and dandy, it is worth noting that picking the best beans according to your preference can result in a coffee which will be most looked forward to every morning. And if you own a grinder or a grind and brew coffee maker, you will notice the difference once you start thinking about your options and you will be glad that you did.
1. Do Coffee Species Matter?
There are different species of coffee plants like Coffea arabica, Coffea benghalensis, Coffea canephora, Coffea congensis, Coffea excelsa, Coffea gallienii, Coffea bonnieri, Coffea mogeneti, Coffea liberica, and Coffea stenophylla. Each species produce beans that have certain different characteristics and distinct flavor profiles.
Around 75% of the world's coffee trade is comprised of Coffee Arabica, the reason being its preferred flavor and ability to thrive in most areas. Arabica beans are coveted for the deep aroma and great flavor that can go with most coffee additives like cream, sugar, and so on. This is something that most coffee drinkers agree on with good reason. You can never go wrong with a high quality brand of 100% Arabica with a medium roast.
2.Which Roast Is The Best?
There are different types of roast, depending on how long the beans are roasted. It can be determined by different degrees of darkness. There are four main types of roasts - Light (Cinnamon Roast, Half City, New England), Medium (Full city, American, Regular, Breakfast, Brown), Dark (High, Viennese, Italian Espresso, Continental), and Darkest (Italian, French, Spanish).
Describing the taste of different roasts is as subjective as that of wine. There is no substitute to judging them with your own palate as only you can decide what your personal taste is. Choosing a type of roast is mostly on personal preference, but most people do like medium roast for its balanced flavor and sweetness.
3. How Important Is The Origin?
Coffee beans are distinct in their terrier, or capturing the place in where they were grown. While differences in flavor can be subtle, beans grown in Hawaii and Central America are more of snappy and vibrant variety, while those from East Africa and Yemen are deeper in bitterness, and those grown in Indonesia and Sumatra are even more complex in flavor.
4. Storing Coffee Beans
When open to air and light, roasted coffee beans can lose their flavor and go stale quite quickly. The best way to store beans is with an opaque airtight canister at room temperature. Theoretically, refrigeration can help preserve the beans longer, but with frequent opening of containers for use creating condensation, the moisture can tamper with the beans' flavor.
When purchasing beans, make sure to get those stored in a sealed bag with a one-way valve laminated on it, which lets carbon dioxide out and keeping outside air from entering. Upon roasting, coffee beans produce prodigious amounts of carbon dioxide, so such valves are necessary for initial storage. Either that or frequent opening of jars for venting as done by most coffee shops. Do not go for beans stored in open beans as they would mostly be stale.
5. Grinding It Right
The perfect grind size is crucial so that the right amount of the flavor is extracted from the beans without going to far, which will take excess bitterness along for the ride. The smaller the grind size, the more surface area there is and over extraction is a big possibility. Too big of a grind size will just keep the hot water from getting enough flavor. Most people would say that they don't like strong coffee, while the reality is that they don't like bitter coffee. With coffee, strong doesn't really have to mean bitter.
If your coffee maker comes with a grinder, then use it. Experiment with different grind sizes to find your preference. If there is no grinder along with your coffee maker, then a small coffee grinder with pulse action will do the job just fine. Grinding your own is best as it is better to draw out the flavors closer to brewing time than having them ground in the shop. Most find a 15-20 second grind best while espresso calls for a finer grind.
Selecting and storing the beans right can have a great impact on the flavor of your coffee, a difference of changing the mediocre coffee from your coffee machine to a restaurant quality one in the comforts of your own home. So next time you are grocery shopping for coffee give coffee beans choice some thought.
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