Tips For Selecting Quality Coffee Beans

Article by Harvey J. Sharp

Coffee is one of the most widely distributed commodities in the world, usually sitting #2 behind oil. It is the most consumed beverage in North America and the third most consumed beverage in most other parts of the world, behind water and tea. Considered a specialty product due to the delicate growing conditions that are needed by coffee farmers, coffee comes in a variety if different qualities, ranging from inexpensive (instant coffee blends) to expensive (pure beans, special roasts). Here is a breakdown of how to select quality coffee beans for your next cup of java.

Arguably one of the most attractive qualities of coffee is that aroma that comes from the beans as well as the fresh grounds. Your first element that should guide you to buying beans is to choose a bean or bean blend that has a pleasing aroma. Don’t be afraid to stick your head in the bag and take a deep breath. Fresher roasts will have distinct aromatic notes that older roasts won’t. In fact, freshly roasted beans will have no trouble filling a room with its goodness. Tip; go for the beans that smell the best.

While not always possible, it is important to ask your coffee bean seller how the beans are stored. Beans generally stay fresh longer in cool, dark locations, such as a cellar or a windowless room. They should not be kept in the refrigerator or even in the freezer, as these two areas are too cold.

Beans should always be examined before being purchased. Some beans are quite oily, while others are relatively dry. Purchasing oily beans, rather then dried ones generally means there will be slightly more acidity to the coffee after its roasted and the roast is likely a dark one.

Some stores will go the extra mile and allow you to try a sample of the coffee before making a purchase. You can always ask the employee to make you a small espresso and give it the true taste test to see if it measures up in the coffee mug . If the coffee is an espresso, let it sit for a minute first before consuming. The flavors will often balance within this period and give you a truer coffee flavor.

All these tips are meant as guidelines for your purchase. Ultimately, you should be asking the coffee store employee lots of questions and telling him or her what kind of coffee you enjoy. They’ll often be able to pair you with something of your liking.

About the Author

Harvey J. Sharp is an avid traveler and writer, who spends little time in the United States, preferring South America, India and parts of Asia. His interests are in art, design, photography and sculpture.