A Tasty Cup Starts With the Coffee Beans

Coffee is not just a traditional way to start your day or end a meal. Coffee beans are the second-most traded commodity, surpassed only by crude oil. So, it’s no wonder that searching out the best beans for finding, grinding, and brewing the perfect cup of coffee can seem like looking for a needle in a haystack.

There are several ways to tell whether coffee beans are of the highest quality, but since even the most dedicated coffee gourmet is unlikely to pick their own beans, the real test comes once the coffee is brewed.

That said, there are two things you can look for to increase your chances of purchasing high quality beans.

High Quality Coffee Beans

The first is how long it has been since the beans were roasted. The sooner they are ground after roasting, the richer, deeper and fresher the coffee will taste. Ask your vendor to verify the date the beans were roasted and avoid purchasing any that have been sitting for more than a week.

The second is storage. Coffee beans go stale very quickly, so avoid buying beans from vendors that keep their beans in huge open bins. These can contain 20 pounds of beans or more, which have almost certainly been sitting for more than a week. Look for beans that are stored in small vacuum-sealed or airtight containers.

Once you get your beans home, the real test begins. There are six criteria by which coffee is judged, all of which depend on the quality of the beans.

Six Criteria of a Good Cup of Coffee

First is aroma, or how the coffee smells. This is also sometimes called the bouquet, just as in wine tasting. Coffee can have a wide range of different notes in its aroma, such as smoky, nutty, floral or fruity. These aromas come from qualities inside of the beans and from how they were processed. For example, beans that were allowed to mildew will brew coffee that has a slightly off smell. Aroma is especially important because your sense of smell is so closely linked to your sense of taste.

Second is body. This describes how the coffee feels in your mouth. Drip coffee makers are incredibly convenient, but they strip out essential oils that contribute to the coffee`s richness of body. A French press or espresso machine retains these oils, which is one reason French press coffee and espresso taste so much richer than drip-brewed coffee.

Third is acidity, which does not refer to the actual pH, or acid-to-base ratio of the brewed coffee. Acidity is a slightly astringent mouth-feel that usually occurs under the edges of your tongue and at the back of your mouth. A salty sensation to the acidity is one sign of beans that have been over-fermented.

Fourth is flavor. This is somewhat subjective, because some people prefer a slight bitter taste while others like their coffee very smooth and light. The flavor of a coffee made properly from high quality beans will have a perfect balance of aroma, acidity and body so that none of those qualities overpowers the others.

Fifth is sweetness, which does not mean the same kind of sensation you get from sugar. The sweetness in coffee is almost fruity and is generally experienced on the tip of the tongue. High quality beans will offer a very smooth, light level of sweetness.

Finally, there is the aftertaste. This is simply what you feel in your mouth after sipping the coffee. High quality coffee beans will leave a pleasant aftertaste that does not differ from the taste of the coffee at each sip. Some coffee beans will leave an aftertaste that is slightly nutty or reminiscent of caramel or cinnamon.

The friendly experts at TheBestCoffeeOnEarth.com highly recommend purchasing a top quality home grinding and brewing system to ensure that you are getting the absolute best coffee experience possible from bean to cup in the comfort of your home.