Selecting the right coffee beans is the first step to brewing a delicious cup – everything else falls apart if your don’t start with the right base. First, avoid branded blends, which are typically marked up far too much, and make it hard to switch coffee suppliers because you don’t know what’s in your coffee. Go for single origin whenever possible, and buy fresh roasted from a specialty coffee roaster. Coffees from retail stores (and frequently online) can sit on the shelves for months before being sold, resulting in a less flavorful cup.
Top Coffee Growing Countries
When deciding on a single origin, you can generalize the flavor by where in the world it was grown. South American coffees from countries like Brazil and Colombia tend to be milder, smoother and have certain nutty flavors.
Coffees from the East Africa region (Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania) will be more earthy and bright – the high elevations here mean that coffees grow slow and take their time fully maturing, resulting in a higher overall general rating by coffee tasters.
The Indonesia region consists of Sulawesi, Sumatra and Bali and will have coffees that have notes of spice.
Coffee trees can be broken into a number of different varietals, also known as varieties. The most popular of these are the famed Arabica and Robusta, and the lesser known varieties include Liberica and Excelsa. Within each variety there are some-species that share certain traits, with some being more popular to certain regions than others.
Within the Arabica family for instance, you have Heirloom coffee beans, Bourbon coffee beans and Typica coffee beans.
Further complicating things are the cross-species and hybrids, which combine two varietals with the goal of weeding out weaknesses (such as Arabica’s vulnerability to coffee rust).
How to Store Coffee
One should always store coffee beans in a glass, air-tight
container. Air and moisture are coffee’s principle enemies.
Glass is best because it doesn’t retain the odors of the beans
or the oils, which could contaminate future beans stored in the
same container. A mason jar with a good lid works well. If you
use glass, make sure the container is not exposed to light, as
sunlight can also reduce freshness.
Buy only what coffee can be consumed in a week to a week and a
half from the time it was roasted. This is the only way to have
truly fresh coffee.
Do not freeze coffee for regular storage. There are two key
problems here. One, the freezing will damage some of subtle
tastes in the coffee and two, when the coffee is taken out the
container will sweat, exposing your coffee to moisture. If you
must store coffee for an extended period of time divide it into
small portions that you can use in a week or less. Take out one
week of coffee at a time. This will help to reduce the damage to
the coffee. For long term storage freezing is better than
storage at room temperature. One last item to be cognisant of
when freezing coffee is to make sure that is stays dry in the
My advice to you would be try to buy the freshest beans you can
find (preferably roasted within a day or two of your purchase
date) in smaller quantities that can be used in a week or less.
If you must store coffee, break your purchase into the amount
you will use in one week or less. Keep one container out for
immediate use and store the rest in individual one week
allotments in sealed canning jars in the freezer. Remove beans
from the freezer the day that your old stash runs out so that
they will be completely thawed when you need them the next day.
This will help to keep moisture problems caused by moving the
beans in and out of the freezer to a minimum.
If there is not a roaster convenient to you you should consider
taking up home roasting as a hobby. It’s not at all difficult
and can save you a few dollars while improving the coffee you
drink. When you are replacing your coffee every few days with
coffee fresh out of the roaster then storage becomes less of an