What are the best coffee beans?

If you love the freshest and best coffee beans in your cup, it is very important to buy the best coffee for yourself you can. Just going to your local supermarket and buying coffee beans isn't always enough — in fact, you could be sabotaging your coffee when you buy some coffee brands.

So what are you going to do to make sure you are buying the best coffee beans? You'll need to check the condition of the coffee beans, buy freshly roasted - not stale - coffee beans, and ask your knowledgeable barista, if you have any coffee questions or need recommendations about which types of coffee beans to buy. After the jump, we'll look at each of these points in more details.

Check the beans' condition

If you are buying best coffee beans that you can see - they are unbagged, or in clear containers, ask the barista or store owner to inspect a small handful of beans. You will be able to see the beans' color and condition with your own eyes:

Check for the following signs of bad quality:

  • Broken, mashed or shreds of beans may indicate either over-roasting of the beans or poor storage. In either case, you won't be getting the best out of these beans!
  • Check for uneven roasting or discoloration of the roasted beans. In short, the beans should 'look' delicious and enticing. If they aren't, put them back!
  • You can also smell the beans in your hand: look for a roasted smell. If you smell stale beans, or there is no smell, then the beans will not make a decent cup of your favorite brew, for sure!
  • You can even taste the beans if you want to. It's not harmful, and the beans will release some of their flavor or aroma in your mouth. Of course, it won't taste like a cup of coffee, but at least if it tastes bad, you'll know!
  • Also, check the size of the beans is similar (esp. if you think you are buying beans from one locale.
  • Lastly, determine the roasting date. You don't want beans that have lain about the store for months in the summer heat or that haven't been stored properly! Each day that passes means that roasted beans lose a little more of the flavor that makes them so desirable!
Once you have experienced the smell, colors, feel and taste of the best coffee beans, you will know what to look for, and what to avoid in your choice of coffee beans!

Buy freshly roasted beans

While coffee can be kept for years with the proper storage, it is quite perishable once it is roasted. This is because roasting extracts the oils that give coffee its flavor, body and aroma.

Buying beans that are freshly roasted insures that you get the full bouquet and flavor of the finished product. The easiest way to get the best coffee beans is to find a store that roasts on a daily basis.

What type of roast makes the best coffee beans?

What type of roast do you prefer? Dark roasts such as Italian or French roast can be quite good but all too often large commercial manufacturers dark roast for purely financial reasons. Lighter roasts allow more of the flavor to emerge, particularly in the fruity, aromatic coffee beans from Africa.

For the very best cup, be sure the beans are freshly roasted and don't discount their appearance or their aroma.

Ask your knowledgeable barista

Barista Making Coffee

The expert barista or coffee expert should tell you when the beans were roasted, where they are from and how the coffee will taste. Most shops will allow you to sample their fresh roasts if you’re not sure whether you would like it.

If you can’t find such a specialty shop and must depend on your local supermarket, you can still buy good beans. Avoid purchasing from bins that have beans that are broken, cracked or visibly impaired.

Bins should have a date on them that tells you when the roasting was done; pre-packaged bags of beans usually list the date on the bottom of the bag.

... or why not to buy pre-ground coffee!

Actually, most of this article presents arguments not to buy pre-ground or prepackaged coffee in the supermarket, or indeed anywhere. It's similar to buying a car from a magazine or a pair of shoes on the Internet... You can't always be sure what's actually in the bag when you open it!

Buying Green Coffee Beans?

If you are buying green coffee beans yourself to roast at home, do pay as much attention to the quality of the beans. Though green beans do keep longer than roasted beans, it's important to make sure that they are stored well and aren't discolored (due to molds or damp), damaged by poor handling or insufficient drying of the beans. You should read much more about how to buy green coffee beans at Buying Green Coffee Beans.

So what are you buying?

I'd love to know what your experiences are when you buy the best coffee in stores, in markets, and online. So drop me a line and tell me what you bought, where you bought, how much was it, and if it lived up to or exceeded your expectations! Just drop me a line in the contact form!

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