Being a coffee lover, you would know what it means to wake up to the delicious smell of coffee beans ground in the coffee maker. But with a wide assortment of choices, selecting the best coffee beans that fall in line with your choices and taste preferences is as tough as choosing wine – if not more.
When it comes to picking the best choice from a myriad of options, you become rather clueless. “Which coffee beans are the best for me?” if you’ve frequently asked this question, we have compiled this all-inclusive guide that ‘cracks’ the coffee secret. From beans, roasting preferences to regions, it all boils down to determining what you like. And that’s where most of us find a dead-end.
In this guide, we will break down the factors to help you buy the perfect coffee beans alongside their tried-and-tested recipes that brew the exquisite cup of steaming coffee at home.
Where Is Coffee Grown?
Starting from the basics, you have to know where coffee beans are grown and how the variety of origin impacts their flavors.
There’s a dedicated ‘bean belt’ consisting of 50 countries along the equator where coffee beans are grown at optimal temperatures and conditions – 21 degrees to 29 degrees with only sufficient rainfall.
The major areas where coffee beans are grown include Central and South America, Africa, and Indonesia. The different locality affects their flavor profile, which we will explore briefly before we proceed to the next section.
Central American coffee beans brew the traditionally-flavored coffee with its signature nutty, chocolatey flavor. They are characterized by a mellow sweetness, with notes of subtle toffee and brown sugar. Central American grown coffee beans have lower levels of acidity.
South American coffee beans taste differently from their peers, with soft fruity and chocolatey flavors. They enjoy a thicker texture with ‘heavy body or mouthful consistency and generally have a wide variety of flavors depending on the altitudes.
African coffee beans are more on the fruitful and floral bar of flavor, such as that we taste in berry and citrus fruits. With a higher level of acidity compared to others, the coffee they brew is lighter-bodied and refreshing.
And conclusively, Indonesian coffee beans typically have a heavy body with earthy and smoky flavors that you enjoy when craving a high dose of caffeine.
There growing regions of coffee beans directly impact their flavors. The altitudes at which the coffee plant is grown, its elevation, and the temperature play a critical role in determining how the beans will taste as the end-product.
When selecting the coffee that suits your taste preferences, it’s important to keep tabs on the inside details of the pack you intend to buy. This information will prove useful to narrow down your selection.
What Are The Types Of Coffee Beans?
Given the variety of origins, there are plenty of coffee beans that are grown. Fortunately, the coffee industry has simplified things by categorizing all those beans into two major ones – Arabica and Robusta. Thus, any coffee bean variety that adheres to the profile of any one of the categories is grouped into it.
Arabica: Arabica coffee has a delicate flavor without the heaviness, inconsistency, or texture. They have low acidity and are usually found at the majority of coffee shops. Arabica whips up the perfect everyday, easy-drinking brew.
Robusta coffee beans, collectively grown in harsher climates with less water, are more acidic and bitter in flavor. They are more economical to grow and give the powerful dose that most drinkers usually prefer unless looking for heavy restrain.
The type of beans that a certain bag has been classified into is usually found at the back of the cover. Now that we have covered the origin and two types of categories, we’ll proceed towards understanding the ‘roasts.’
What Are The Different Types Of Bean-Roasts?
When selecting the best coffee, you can’t do without an in-depth explanation of roasts. Apart from the bean origin and selection, roasting is the next deciding factor in cracking the coffee secret that resonates with the caffeine-lover in you.
You would know that roasting brings out the flavor of the coffee beans. However, the degree of roasting determines how flavorful they become, which is why we are going to understand the different levels of roasting and how they affect the flavors.
1. Light Roast
Lightly roasted beans are exposed to the least amount of heat and are typically light brown. The first ‘crack’ of coffee beans is usually at around 380 to 400 Fahrenheit, and the second comes at around 435 to 450 Fahrenheit. Roasters take out the beans just after the first crack to make it a light roast.
The flavor profile of lightly roasted beans is smooth, bright, and not bitter if the brewing temperatures stay below 305 Fahrenheit. Ideally, light roast retains the characteristic flavor of the origin, given that they endure the least amount of heat that draws out its core flavor.
They have the highest level of acidity, which is not equivalent to sourness. If your coffee tastes sour, something has gone wrong in the production process, and you shouldn’t be using it. Lightly roasted coffee delivering acidity translates to the bright, vibrant quality that’s craved for an everyday drink.
For a healthy, excellent flavor of light and medium roasted coffee beans, try out the fascinating Cream & Crimson Blend that will tantalize your taste buds and brew the best morning cup that you’ve been looking for!
2. Medium Roast
Coffee beans removed from the heat source just before the second crack are called medium roasted. They develop the more roasty-toasty flavor that’s void of the acidity that’s characteristic of light roast. The regional flavor still breaks through the heat-evolved flavor, but the latter overpowers some of the regional notes. Medium-brown in color, they may have an oily surface and specified varietal aromatics.
3. Dark Roast
Dark roasted beans come through the second crack in temperature and take up a distinct oily and shiny surface. The regional notes are completely overpowered by the roasting, with the result bordering on a bitter flavor.
They ideally have the least amount of caffeine and do not have the acidity of lighter or medium roasting. People who prefer dark roast beans like their coffees harsh and strong that packs a punch on the taste buds.
A point to note here is that the common myth about dark roast having the most caffeine is proven wrong. It’s quite the opposite. Lighter roasts have the most caffeine, as less of it gets cooked out in the shorter roasting process.
4. Darker Roast
Italian roast and French roast are usually the dark and darker roasts of coffee beans that run from slightly dark to completely charred. They have shiny black and oily surfaces with only sufficient acidity to liven the cup. If you’re looking to find a tasteful blend of dark and medium roast, you can get Big Iron Blend or Smokehouse Dark Roast for an amazing mix.
What else do you need to know?
To find out your coffee preference, make a wise selection based on the information in this guide alongside an experimental venture with a large palate of coffee beans. Try out light, medium, and dark roasted coffees from different regions to find out which one you liked. Move to other destinations and do a similar experiment. The only thing that can conclude on a preference is yo
Ultimately, try new offerings to evaluate flavors, the body, and how it makes you feel. At Altruistic Joe, you have a pool of resources on coffee updates as well as single-origin offerings that update with different seasons. We are a small veteran-owned business shipping fresh roast coffee beans nationwide with a noble cause. We recommend trying our sample packs, and if you do, please let us know which bean is your favorite!