What’s your expectation from your morning cuppa-joe? Do you crave a classic Italian espresso, or does the Vietnamese ca phe trung, made with egg yolks and condensed milk, make your day?
Being the world’s most popular beverage and grown in over 50 countries, coffee locks incredible diversity in itself. The secret to this diversity is hidden in the different varieties of beans grown and roasted using a myriad of techniques. Additionally, the growing region’s climate also contributes significantly to the nuance and tasting profile of the beans.
If you’re desperately searching for a unique taste, a special treat, or a distinctive road, we’ve got you covered! Keep reading this post as we’ve compiled the top choices for the best coffee beans in the world.
Granted, all self-proclaimed coffee snobs won’t go for anything except whole coffee beans; however, for those who are more comfortable with pre-ground, we’ve got a little something for you too!
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The Best Coffee Beans Brand – Our Favorites
If you don’t have a nice coffee roaster in your area or for any reason you don’t want to try them, the next best option is to buy coffee beans online. This opens numerous options to choose from a wide area. Don’t worry about the roast dates as we have only picked those who deliver the freshest to their customers.
Below are our favorite coffee brands from all around the world. Though there are numerous options that we could have included, we have picked the ones that are most popular, easy to find, and good to begin with if you are getting into gourmet coffee for the first time.
1. Koa Coffee’s Grande Domaine Kona Coffee
Koa Coffee’s Grande Domaine has been adjudged the winner of the Kona Coffee Cupping Contest and is known for its outstanding balance and texture. Surely a brew you cannot go wrong with!
Origin: Hawaii Roast: Medium-Dark Tasting Notes: Fruity Sweet, Spices and Nuts
The Grande Domaine is a premium coffee offering by Koa Coffee. The beans are grown in the Mauna Loa region of Hawaii. Mauna Loa is one of the five active volcanoes that make up Hawaii, and coffee grown in the richly fertile volcanic soil has a distinctly unique flavor for you to enjoy!
The Grande Domaine is available in both ground and whole bean options. Each bag contains 100% genuine Kona coffee of the highest quality, hand-picked for your tasting pleasure!
It is also unique because each bag contains a mixture of regular and Peaberry beans, creating a flavor profile having influences from both. They are roasted to a perfect medium-dark tone, also known as the Vienna Roast.
This creates the perfect blend of a slightly charred bitterness along with the natural flavor of raw coffee beans. Another advantage of the Vienna Roast is the tantalizing aroma it lends to the brew.
Each sip of the Grande Domaine has the signature fruity sweetness of genuine Kona, along with undertones of nuts and spices. They work together beautifully to create an unforgettable brew that will leave you craving for more!
Who is this for?
The Grande Domaine is perfect for those wanting to try a premium Kona coffee with a delicately balanced flavor profile. It presents sweet notes from the authentic Kona beans, which are countered by the bitterness of the Vienna Roast.
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2. Koa Coffee’s Medium Roast Peaberry Kona
The subtlety and uniqueness of this product have helped it to gain the title of ‘The Best Coffee in America by Forbes magazine in 2001 and win the Kona Festival Award in 2002.
Origin: Hawaii Roast: Medium Tasting Notes: Sweet Chocolate
One of the most appreciated coffee options available in today’s market is undeniable, Koa Coffee’s medium roast Peaberry Kona. Derived from rich, volcanic soil, these rare beans produce cups that blow your mind away with a distinct aroma and enjoyable cup notes.
This full-bodied, smooth variant comes with a hint of bite and undertones of sweet chocolate, making it magically tangy and tasty. The global coffee connoisseurs have titled this variant the ‘Champagne of Kona’ because of its out-of-the-box cup notes that hold the ability to rule over the reign of coffee.
Though the plantation is relatively recent, established in 1997, it has managed to play the role of the leader when it comes to rendering a pleasing, gourmet coffee experience to coffee buffs across the globe.
When it comes to talking about the freshness factor, Koa coffee peaberry has simply nailed it! To deliver the fresh, hand-roasted beans directly to your doorsteps, Koa coffee roasts beans the same day of receiving the order and ships it the very next day. What else could guarantee the ultimate level of freshness?
From soothing smoothness to the perfect sweetish taste blended with an acidic aftertaste – Koa Peaberry Kona has everything to leave a classic coffee lover overwhelmed.
Add more energy to your mornings and more charm in your evenings with a cup of Koa Peaberry Kona!
Also Read: Best Peaberry Coffee Beans
Who is this for?
Anyone who looks for that ever-desired, ultimate touch of uniqueness in their cups. From French Press to Aeropress – the brewing options for this variant is versatile, making it the best ally for your breakfast, dinner, or bedtime snacks.
3. Volcanica Coffee Company’s Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe
Hints of lemon and blueberry accentuate the flavor of the brew and lend it a bright vibrance. Prominent blackberry undertones create an irresistible aroma that will have you craving for more!
Origin: Ethiopia Roast: Medium-Light Tasting Notes: Lemon, Blueberry, and Blackberry
This Ethiopian coffee from Volcanica Coffee Company is a highly demanded, undisputed bestseller! As the name suggests, the coffee is grown in the famed Yirgacheffe region of southern Ethiopia, famously known as ‘The Birthplace of Coffee.’
This region consistently produces some of the highest quality coffee beans in the world. These beans are first washed in fresh river water and then dried and roasted naturally in the bright Ethiopian desert sun. This helps each bag of the Organic Ethiopian retains its rustic natural flavor.
The coffee is grown organically and is free of chemical contaminants and other inorganic substances, bringing you the authentic flavor of natural and healthy produce. Additionally, it is completely Kosher certified with no trace of any non-kosher substances used in the production process.
Each sip of the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe presents an exotic flavor with surprising acidity. The beans are of the Arabica variety and have a trademark floral and fruit-toned flavor profile. This creates a medium-bodied taste with rough winy tones.
Also Read: Best Ethiopian Coffee Brands
Who is this for?
Coffee lovers with a passion for highly demanded brews having bold flavors will surely love this. The notes of fruity sweetness brought about by the lemon, blueberry and blackberry are sure to refresh you with every sip!
4. Volcanica Coffee Company’s Kenya AA Coffee
Each sip of the Kenyan AA by Volcanica is packed with bold flavors. This strong flavor profile is headlined by a prominent fruitiness brought by cranberries and raspberries.
Origin: Kenya Roast: Medium-Light Tasting Notes: Raspberry, Cranberry, Fresh-Cut Redwood, Alyssum-like flowers
The Kenyan AA Coffee by Volcanica Coffee Company is a premium brew meant for those looking to make a statement purchase. Its comparatively higher price point is accompanied by a truly elevating taste and flavor profile.
The coffee is of single-origin, derived completely from the same farmland to keep the flavor consistent throughout all servings. It is grown on the Nyeri Hill Estate in Kenya, and all beans in the bag are Kenyan AA beans of the largest size and highest quality.
The coffee cherries are hand plucked and then washed in the fresh waters of Kenyan rivers before being naturally sun-dried. After drying and roasting, the cherry is separated from the beans, which are promptly packed and shipped while still fresh. If you are sensitive to caffeine, they also have many decaf beans to opt for
This product is Kosher certified. It does not contain non-kosher substances, and they are not used for the production process either. It is also Rainforest-Alliance Certified and responsibly produced to sustain the environment.
The tanginess of the coffee is superbly offset by the grounded undertones of fresh-cut redwood. This earthy flavor combination gives a raw and natural finish while an inviting floral aroma draws you in!
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Who is this for?
Those looking to try luxury coffee should definitely check Volcanica’s Kenyan AA out! They will not be disappointed with the relatively high purchase price and will instead come back for more! The remarkable taste of the coffee is sure to impress discerning coffee enthusiasts.
5. Brazillian Coffee by Luciano de Castro- Presented by Onda Origins
Onda Origins presents coffee to customers straight from the farms of partner producers. Each bag is identified by the name of the farmer who grew the coffee inside. It is of a single origin as the coffee in each bag comes from a single producer.
Origin: Brazil Roast: Medium Tasting Notes: Pumpkin Roll, Nectarine, Oolong
This Brazillian coffee is produced by Luciano Carvalho de Castro. Luciano hails from a longstanding and proud lineage of coffee producers. He is a fourth-generation farmer, and the first trees on his farm were planted by his grandfather in the 1920s. His father introduced specialty roasting to the region in 2003, and Luciano has overseen the continuation and growth of the enterprise since. Their coffee is of the highest quality and has satisfied customers for many decades.
This coffee is grown in Fazenda Fumal in the Carmo de Minas region of Brazil, at an elevation of 1100 meters above sea level. The beans are of the Acacia variety and are available in whole or ground options. The preparation is completely natural to preserve the authentic flavor profile of the beans.
The taste of the brew is headlined by strong flavors. Most prominent is the presence of nectarine in each sip, which lends a fruity tanginess to the brew. This is well complemented by hints of pumpkin roll and oolong, which work well together to create a truly elevated taste.
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Who is this for?
Coffee aficionados looking for perfectly medium roasted coffee will love Luciano’s Brazillian! It creates the perfect medium-bodied experience for your tasting pleasure.
6. Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Aged Coffee – by Cooper’s Coffee Company
The inviting aroma reminds one of premium bourbon and lends a new dimension to each serving. The flavor is reminiscent of Kentucky Bourbon and is truly spectacular to experience.
Origin: Brazil Roast: Medium Tasting Notes: Cocoa, Dark Fruit, Bourbon
Each sip of Cooper’s premium Kentucky Bourbon Coffee contains the finest coffee beans roasted until medium-dark. The beans are all Grade 1 and sourced directly from Colombian farms where it is grown. If the beans do not stand up to the stringent requirements, they are not selected for use.
So, you can rest assured that the coffee that you’re enjoying is high-quality, with no compromises. The confidence of quality in each serving is so high that Cooper’s provides a 30-Day refund guarantee!
The preparation process of this coffee really sets it apart in its segment. The beans are first roasted to perfection and then deliberately aged in bourbon barrels. This involves delicate temperature control and a complex aging process- infusing a rich and deep bourbon flavor into the beans.
A dominant, full-bodied taste characterizes this brew. It also has subtle undertones of dark fruit flavor, which gives an understated tartness to each cup of the brew. A hint of cocoa is paired with the tartness of the fruits to create a slightly sweet finish.
Who is this for?
This coffee will be greatly appreciated by those coffee aficionados who are looking to explore from among high-end options. It is also great for those wishing to try a unique and new flavor that one doesn’t come across often!
7. Catuai & Bourbon in a Handcrafted Wooden Box from Spirit Animal Coffee
Spirit Animal is known for roasting a divergent blend of coffee. They collect the beans from micro plots in Honduras. They promote the motto of sustainable economic growth, and to establish this objective in a more robust way, they have managed to obtain Fair Trade & organic certifications.
Origin: Honduras Roast: Light Tasting Notes: Jasmine, tropical fruit cocktail, multidimensional
This limited-edition Spirit Animal Catuai & Bourbon Coffee is the real delight for coffee lovers across the globe. Bourbon beans are highly admired because of their intense, creamy chocolate tang and exceptional sweetish attribute that carries the hint of jasmine & tropical fruit cocktail.
The smooth and light fruit overtones add more to their appeal. When you get a box of Catuai & Bourbon from Spirit animals, you create room for brewing well-balanced cups, which are extraordinary in every means if compared to the other bean variants. The reason behind this is the fewer cherry production capability of the Bourbon plant variety. The Catuai & Bourbon comes in a handmade wooden box, which is manufactured in Honduras, adding more vibrancy to its charm.
However, in their effort to keep the trading environment clean and tenable, they don’t limit themselves to collecting beans that fall under the typical top 1% category. Instead, they focus on collecting beans that are hundred percent organic and have been produced, adhering to all the necessary guidelines that make them environmentally friendly.
Besides, they provide their farmers with all the required tools and techniques to improve the efficiency and quality of production. The Speciality Coffee Association scores all of its coffees above 90 points!
Who is this for?
These beans are dedicated to the admirers of elegance who are looking for a sweet, fruity cup tuned with light fruit notes, low acidity, and a full mouthfeel.
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8. Dark Roast Whole Bean Coffee, Organic Honduras from Cardiology Coffee
Cardiology Coffee aims to promote the incredible health benefits of coffee, which include lowering the chances of heart attack, mortality, and increasing span of life. In a one-liner, you can define good quality, perfectly roasted coffee as the immortal nectar!
Origin: Honduras Roast: Dark Tasting Notes: Bittersweet, Cocoa, Citric
This delightful organic whole bean coffee not only aims to give your taste buds the ultimate pleasure, but it also takes good care of your health. These exclusive beans are Nitrogen flushed, toxin-free, and as the name suggests, they dedicatedly help in keeping your heart health optimal.
To keep these beans’ virtues untouched and unharmed, the roster supplies them in resealable bags, allowing you to keep them fresh for a longer period.
The beans are of specialty grade, and they’re 100% organic & hand-picked. In addition, Cardiology Coffee tests them thoroughly for toxins and checks the chemical analysis and microbiological report before bagging them, which guarantees that they are completely contaminant-free.
Additionally, the beans are roasted till dark to maximize their antioxidant properties. Talking about the quality of the beans, the roasters take pride in the same!
Apart from their consumers, the roasters are also concerned about the growers’ holistic wellbeing. Due to this reason, they contribute five percent of their total revenue to aid the welfare of Honduran children.
The specialty dark roast coffee from Cardiology Coffee is roasted, keeping the healing factor in mind. These beans are extremely efficient in supporting cardiovascular health. However, their goodness is not only limited to heart health; instead, they can contribute to the body’s holistic wellness.
Also Read: Best Dark Roast Coffee Beans
Who is this for?
Dedicated to the community of health-conscious coffee admirers! Those who are looking for a healthy, classic dinner-style cup can bet on Cardiology coffee’s dark roast variant unhesitatingly.
9. Nguyen Loyalty from Nguyen Coffee Supply
Nguen’s coffee is bold, smooth, and packs a serious caffeine punch. The beans are of single-origin and organic, and the packaging is stylish and appealing.
Origin: Vietnam Roast: Medium to Dark Tasting Notes: Cacao, Pomelo, Almond, and smoked caramel
These premium quality Robusta and Arabica beans come with distinctive nuances. These beans contain 25% more caffeine than 100% Arabica coffee! The unique roasting art of Nguyen coffee Supply brings out a distinct flavor profile with the right balance of smoothness and sweetness. A nutty tang adds more charm to your cup, which is induced because these beans are grown at high-altitude, mineral-rich Vietnamese soil.
This Brooklyn roaster dials the beans in their exclusive phin filter, which makes the ground finely sized. Additionally, these high-quality beans are known for their ability to produce state-of-the-art cup notes, which include the fusion of Cacao, Pomelo, Almond, and smoked caramel.
The best brewing method for this wonderful variant includes phin, drip, espresso, and French press.
Also read: Best Coffee for French Press
Who is this for?
The coffee freaks want a bold cup that offers strong caramel and nutty notes with a full mouthfeel. In other words, this variant is dedicated to those who appreciate a strong flavor cup without the touch of bitterness.
10. Lifeboost Espresso Organic Coffee
The bold flavor and earthy, eye-opening aroma of Lifeboost’s Espresso Organic coffee makes it millennials’ favorite.
Origin: The Mountains of Nicaragua, Central America Roast: Dark Tasting Notes: Nutty, Chocolate, Strawberry
Possibly the title of the best espresso in the world is meant for Lifeboost’s Espresso Organic variety! Passionately prepared with slow-ripened Arabica beans and roasted to perfection, this coffee variety is going to win over your heart, for sure!
Not only magical espressos, but this milk-friendly variety can also add more attraction to your cup of Latte or Mocha. The roasters use only the least defected largest-sized beans that result in cups that can do wonders. The best part is, these beans are both stomach and teeth-friendly, so health-conscious coffee lovers can also give this a try. Additionally, these beans are also strictly tested for molds, making them hundred percent safe.
The roaster believes in fair trade and sustainable growth, encouraging the growers to grow beans with more enthusiasm and love. Naturally, it helps them to produce beans that are of exceptional quality. They harvest each small batch at the peak of their ripeness.
Also Read: Best Coffee Beans for Espresso
Who Is This For?
Anyone who’s a serious admirer of the classic, eye-opening cup of espresso. It’s also the best choice for those who look for that typical earthy, chocolaty & nutty aroma of conventional dark-roasted beans.
11. Ethiopian Coffee Yirgacheffe
- Fragrant and floral with wine and fruit overtones, the...
- When roasted to a medium-dark level, it has a smooth medium...
- Fresh Roasted Each Morning & Shipped in the Afternoon!...
- Since Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee and it has...
Origin: Ethiopia Roast: Light & Medium Tasting Notes: Floral, Citrus, Fruity
Ethiopia is the place where coffee growing started – in fact, there are still cloud forests in the country where wild coffee trees grow. Ethiopia still produces some of the greatest coffee bean varieties in the world, including the popular beans from the Yirgacheffe region.
Yirgacheffe is about 6000 feet above sea level, making it a perfect environment for growing the finest Arabica beans. The beans from this region are wet-processed, which means that the pulp of the cherry is removed before fermenting and drying.
Yirgacheffe is a delicate, sweet-tasting coffee with bright, vibrant acidity. The aroma has both floral and spice notes and the body is light to medium. You may notice a hint of nuttiness or even chocolate in the finish.
This coffee is usually roasted light to medium-dark. Lighter roasts allow the delicate floral notes to shine through while darker roasts accentuate the sweet, spicy, and nutty tastes. A balance of these flavors is achieved with just the right medium roast.
Who’s this for?
This is meant for the coffee lovers looking for ultimately inimitable, sensitive, and delicate notes in their cups. One of the perfect fits to start an energetic day!
12. Tanzania Peaberry
- Comes from the Mondul Estate in Northern Tanzania, Africa,...
- Fresh Roasted Each Morning & Shipped in the Afternoon!...
- The prized peaberry grade assures that you are getting ready...
- This gourmet African coffee displays many of the...
Origin: Africa Roast: Light to Dark Tasting Notes: Chocolate, Blackcurrant, Sweet
When a coffee cherry produces just one round bean instead of two flat ones, it is called a Peaberry. It is one of the best-tasting coffee beans around the world and is preferred by many. Because there is just one bean inside the fruit, people say that Peaberry coffees have a richer, more concentrated taste.
There may be another explanation for why Peaberry coffee is traditionally valued so highly. With older roasting techniques such as skillet roasting, the round shape makes it easier to keep the beans in motion resulting in a better quality of the roast.
Tanzanian Peaberry beans come from the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru. The acidity is noticeable without being extreme with the aromas of blackcurrant and chocolate. The finish is long and sweet. This is a medium-bodied coffee that creates a velvety feeling in the mouth.
Try a medium roast to bring out the natural sweetness of this unique bean.
Who’s this for?
Dedicated to the community of adventurous coffee buffs who loves to boost themselves with a cup of perfect cold brew, cappuccino, or latte!
13. Sumatra Mandheling
- Sumatra Mandheling is an exotic, full bodied coffee that is...
- The island of Sumatra in Indonesia has been known for its...
- The Coffee Beanery has the highest standards in the industry...
- Our master roaster roasts each of our specialty coffees to...
Origin: Indonesia Roast: Medium-Dark to Dark Tasting Notes: Earthy, Sweet chocolate, and Licorice
This coffee grows on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. The name Mandheling refers to the ethnic group that traditionally grew the coffee and not the geographic region. These beans grow in the rich volcanic soil of the Aceh and Lintong regions of the island, at between 2500 and 5000 feet above sea level.
This is a low acidic coffee while still having a bright, vibrant taste. The aroma is a bit earthy, and you may notice flavor notes of herbs, chocolate, and licorice with a spicy finish.
Mandheling is a dry-processed coffee, which means that the beans are dried with some of the pulp still on them. This process gives the beans their unique taste, which is moderated somewhat by the process of washing the dried cherries in hot water. The parchment is removed from the beans before they are finished drying, which also contributes to Mandheling’s unique flavor profile and color.
Often you will find that Sumatra Mandheling beans are dark-roasted or medium dark-roasted to bring out the earthy sweetness of the coffee. You will also notice floral notes both in the aroma and the finish.
Who’s this for?
Anyone who is looking for the beans that boast a full body, low acidity, and notes of sweet chocolate and licorice with undertones of earthy tang.
Also Read: Best Low Acid Coffee Brands
14. Kenya AA
- Fresh Roasted Each Morning & Shipped in the Afternoon! Sweet...
- Fragrant, sharp, and full bodied. This coffee is slightly...
- Announced by strong overtones of berries and citrus fruits,...
- Staying in the characteristic traits of distinctive floral...
Origin: Kenya Roast: Light to Dark Tasting Notes: Black currant, Tangerine, Roasted cacao nib, Lily-like flowers
This is the highest grade of coffee from one of the world’s best coffee-growing countries. Like other African beans, Kenyan AA has a rich body and pleasing acidity that may remind you of citrus and berries. Like most African coffees, these beans have a distinctive floral aroma that also carries into the finish. Some connoisseurs claim that Kenya AA beans produce the world’s brightest coffee.
Kenyan AA beans are grown above 6000 feet above sea level, which is the perfect altitude for Arabica beans. To avoid losing the brightness and floral notes, look for a medium roast. Longer roasting tends to obscure the subtle flavors that make Kenyan coffee so distinctive.
Who’s this for?
Those who are looking for splendid and seductive yet authoritative cup notes. These beans are balanced in structure but pure in aromatics!
15. Jablum Blue Mountain
Origin: Jamaica Roast: Medium Tasting Notes: Floral, Herbal, Nutty, Sweet
We absolutely had to include Jablum Blue Mountain Coffee as well. Blue mountain coffee is famous all the way from the small island of Jamaica. We absolutely can see why after sipping this delectable coffee. With a rich aroma and indescribable taste, this coffee is regarded as one of the signature coffees of the world. As the name suggests, this coffee plant is cultivated in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica.
With nature working in its favor, this coffee is grown in mineral-rich soil at the ideal altitude, having mountain shade and just enough sunlight to flourish. The berries grown in the Blue Mountains take longer than others to mature but if that’s what it takes to produce such a delightful espresso drink we are willing to wait. Handpicked and roasted, this coffee has an intense aroma and an exotic taste. After one cup we were screaming more, we encourage you to treat yourself.
Who’s this for?
The coffee buffs who are passionate about starting their day with a cup of refined and mild coffee that renders extremely pleasant sweetness.
16. Death Wish
Origin: India and Peru Roast: Dark Tasting Notes: Chestnut, Browned butter, Sweet, Nutty, Pecan
For strong and bold coffee lovers, this one is the way to go. It’s a high caffeine coffee that doesn’t go bitter. It’s a Fair Trade certified, all-natural organic coffee. This coffee when brewed as directed results in almost twice the caffeine content as in a normal cup of coffee. For high caffeine, the brand uses a mix of Arabica and Robusta beans and so it’s not 100% robusta. The arabica is used to maintain quality whereas the robusta beans are meant for the high caffeine kick.
Death Wish is often claimed to be the World’s Strongest Coffee. The skull bones logo on the pack gives it a little scary and shocking glance at first. But if you are addicted to consuming strong coffee, this one might be a great try. The pack is available as both beans and ground coffee as a Signature blend. They even have started the instant coffee, if you in some way like that.
Who’s this for?
People who want to immerse themselves in a smooth, subtle, never-bitter cup that aims to make a busy morning more energetic and turn a gloomy evening into a charming one!
How To Buy The Best Coffee Beans
First of all, there is no such thing as ‘Best Coffee Beans’ as everything depends on what suits your tongue. Everyone in this world has their own taste preferences and so, the requirements and need varies. No one coffee is best for all and hence we have so many varieties. Still, we can take checks to ensure that quality is in no way compromised.
What beans you choose depends on several factors where personal preference is the most important. A single origin may get rave reviews from the coffee snobs, but if you don’t like the taste, there’s no point in trying to pretend that you do.
Coffee reviewers use a lot of the same language that wine tasters use to describe the flavor profile of a given bean. You may not be able to taste “blackcurrants” or “licorice” in your coffee, but paying attention to the descriptions of coffees that you particularly like or dislike can be useful when you’re trying to choose a new bean. If you like one coffee that is usually described as “bright,” you may like other bright coffees too.
How you plan to use your coffee is also important. You wouldn’t use a high-grade single-origin bean to make a pumpkin spice latte, because the complex flavors will be masked by the other ingredients. Many people will have a couple of different kinds of beans on hand that suit different uses.
If you’re going to spend money on high-quality beans, it’s especially important to use them within 10 days of roasting and to grind them as close as possible to brewing time. Otherwise, the quality of the coffee will have degraded to the point that you’re not really getting what you paid for.
One thing for us might be awesome but for the other person, it might not be the same, it’s a fact. Still, there are few factors that are used to determine bean quality. Here are some of the factors that should be considered before buying the beans.
Arabica Vs Robusta
Like all agricultural products, coffee has been selectively bred resulting in a variety of different subspecies. All of these fall under the categories of either Arabica or Robusta beans. Although there are good and bad coffees in both these categories, Arabica is generally considered better quality. All of the beans on this list are Arabica.
Arabica beans grow at high altitudes. They are generally considered better quality and harder to grow than low-altitude Robusta beans, and they cost more accordingly. In reality, the whole “Arabica is better” notion is a bit of an oversimplification.
There are cheap, low-quality Arabica blends, and even the best roasters in Italy always include some Robusta beans in their espresso blends to improve the crema (the tight foam that enhances espresso’s flavor and mouthfeel). It’s also worth noting that Robusta beans contain more caffeine.
Also Read: Caffeine Content in Coffee
However, remembering that Arabica beans are generally of higher quality is a good place to start.
Geography or Country of Origin
Where a bean grows is just as important to the final outcome as the genetic profile of the breed. Altitude, climate, and soil conditions all have a profound effect on the flavor of the coffee. Weather conditions can change from season to season, which is why single-origin coffees can vary so much in flavor and quality.
Arabica beans grow best at around 6000 feet above sea level, but there are two beans that grow at much lower altitudes – Hawaiian Kona and Sumatran Mandheling. In both cases, the trees grow in rich volcanic soil which contributes to the flavor and quality of the end product.
Different origins have different tastes and which one to pick requires some testing or know-how about origins to find the best coffee beans.
This is where it all started. Coffee is native to Ethiopia, and this country still produces some of the world’s best coffee. Ethiopian coffee has a high range of genetic diversity and is mostly still grown using traditional organic methods. Popular Ethiopian beans include Harrar, Sidamo, and especially Yirgacheffe. An Ethiopian coffee tends to be fruitier and sweeter.
Many East African countries such as Uganda, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe produce and export coffee. Kenya is the most famous coffee producer in the region after Ethiopia, producing bold coffees with bright acidity and sometimes blackcurrant notes.
This region produces some of the most familiar coffees to American consumers. Coffee is grown throughout Central America, the Caribbean, and tropical South America. The quality ranges from familiar grocery-store brands to Jamaican Blue Mountain, the most expensive coffee in the world. Guatemalan, Mexican, and Costa Rican are some of the popular beans from this region.
Brazil is easily the largest coffee-producing nation in the world. Gone are the days when Brazil produced only cheap coffees for grocery-store brands. Now there is a wide variety of both Arabica and Robusta grown in the country, from inexpensive beans to some of the world’s best espressos. These are mostly dark roast coffee and heavy in taste.
This is a major coffee-growing country, and the island of Java has given coffee one of its best-known nicknames. Indonesia produces Java Arabica beans, a variety of Sumatran beans, and the notorious Kopi Luwak (defecated by civets after eating coffee cherries).
This is the only US state that has the right climate for commercial coffee production. Hawaiian coffees tend to be mild, sweet, and floral. The most famous (and the most expensive) is Hawaiian Kona.
You might like: World’s Best Coffee Growing Regions
Taste of Coffee
Brazilian, Peruvian, and Colombian are the terms used in the beans originating from here. The coffee from Brazil is heavy-bodied and contains nuttiness in flavor. Beans from Colombia are one of the finest and are extremely balanced, perfect in acidity, and have a great body. Peru produces light-bodied and bright beans that have a nutty character and chocolaty aroma. Examples of this origin are Cool Breeze Colombian, Pure Peruvian, and Bom Dia Brazil.
There are a number of factors that contribute to a bean’s flavor. Some are determined by the bean itself, while others are produced by processing, roasting, and brewing techniques.
- Roast: How long the beans are roasted will affect every aspect of the flavor, aroma, and appearance of the bean. Longer roasting produces darker, shinier beans while shorter roasting produces lighter, dried beans.
- Aroma: The first aspect of the flavor that will hit you, even before you drink the coffee, is the aroma. It turns out that our taste buds are not that sensitive to many different flavors, and most of what we think of as “flavor” is actually coming from our sense of smell.
- Acidity: A bright or fruity coffee will tend to be more acidic than a mellower bean.
- Body: What do people mean when they describe a coffee as full-bodied? Some coffees feel light in your mouth, while others feel more earthy and heavy. This impression comes from a combination of the aroma and other flavor characteristics.
- Balance: An extremely acidic coffee doesn’t taste good, nor does an over-roasted blend. When the various flavor parameters are properly balanced, the coffee tends to taste better and more complex.
- Finish: This refers to the aftertaste left behind after you sip the coffee. A very low-quality coffee may have a sour, acidic finish, while good coffee may have a finish that reminds you of fruit, nuts, or chocolate.
A lot happens to coffee beans between the tree and the roaster. Some coffee producers are very careful to harvest the cherries at the peak of ripeness, resulting in a higher grade of coffee than a more haphazard approach.
Coffee can be either wet-processed or dry-processed. With wet processing, the cherry is removed and the beans are washed and usually fermented before drying. The parchment is removed after the beans have lost about 90% of their moisture content.
With dry processing, all or some of the fruit is left on the beans during the drying period. This process creates a different flavor profile. One reason that Mandheling beans taste so different from Kona even though both grow in similar soils and at similar altitudes is the difference in processing techniques.
Coffee beans are graded according to overall quality before they are exported. Higher grade coffees have to meet stricter standards when it comes to size, shape, color, and percentage of substandard beans (fermented or moldy). Different grades of coffee from the same farm can taste quite different, and the price of high-grade beans is also much higher.
Blends Vs Single Origin
When a roaster wants to create the perfect espresso with great Crema, Aroma, Flavor, and Body, he or she will probably blend beans from several different origins together. Blending allows roasters to control the outcome, compensate for seasonal differences, and create a product with consistent quality.
A single-origin coffee contains beans from just one source. No two single origins will taste quite the same. Coffee connoisseurs love to experience the unique flavor qualities of different single-origin beans.
If you are looking for some specific flavor profile like fruity, sweeter, or strong, go for a single-origin coffee we talked about just above here. But else, if you are looking for some complex flavors to sense your taste buds, try artisan blends that mix various top-notch origins to create an amazing taste profile. Don’t go for cheap blends that are mixed together to save and reduce costs.
So, which is better: single origin or blends? It depends on what you’re looking for. Blends are much more popular because they are more consistent and reliable. Single origins have a smaller but devoted following with connoisseurs. Why not enjoy both?
Freshness (The Roast Date)
Freshness is the single biggest factor in making a great cup of coffee. As soon as beans are roasted they become perishable, quickly losing flavor. Grinding beans makes the quality deteriorate even more rapidly. The best coffee is made from recently roasted beans that you grind at home immediately before brewing.
The best way to get freshly roasted beans is to buy them from the roastery, or from a local roaster who distributes them to retailers in your area. The roasting date should be on the bag. Opinions differ, but generally speaking, coffee is best consumed between 2 and 10 days after roasting.
If you’re not able to buy beans this fresh, the next best option is to look for a package with a one-way valve. Beans off-gas after they are roasted, and if they are to be sold fresh, this gas has to have a way of escaping.
Beans that you buy tightly sealed in bags or cans have been allowed to off-gas completely before being packaged – meaning they are no longer fresh and so that’s a good clue to look for before buying your best coffee beans.
Do you know you can roast the beans at home also! If you roast them at home, one benefit is that you can experiment with the same beans to different roast levels. Another benefit is you won’t have to worry about freshness. You can read our guide about the best home coffee roasters for more details on this topic.
Coffee aficionados often say that dark-roasting beans destroy their unique flavors and qualities and that high-quality beans should be lightly roasted. If you really love dark roasted coffee then that is what you should buy, but save your money and buy less expensive beans: the subtle flavor characteristics that make high-quality beans more expensive are smothered with the darkest roasts.
Light roasts are referred to as Cinnamon, Light City, or Half City. They tend to retain both their acidity and caffeine content and have a flavor that may remind you of roasted grain. They are roasted until the “first crack” when beans begin to make a popping noise at about 205 degrees Celsius.
Also Read: Best Light Roast Coffee Beans
Medium roasts are traditionally the most popular in North America. They go by names such as American Roast, City, Breakfast Roast, or just Regular Roast. They are roasted to about 210 or 220 degrees Celsius, or just before “the second crack.”
Medium-dark roasts are roasted to a second crack, which occurs at about 225 degrees Celsius. These are more full-bodied roasts and the oil begins to appear on the surface. Full City and Vienna Roast are names sometimes given to medium-dark roasts.
Dark roasts are roasted beyond the second crack to about 240 degrees Celsius. After about 250 degrees the beans start to taste more like charcoal and produce a thin-bodied coffee. Dark roasts go by names such as Italian Roast, Espresso Roast, French Roast, and New Orleans Roast.
Try experimenting with medium-dark and medium roasting levels to see if you can start to detect some of the subtle flavors that distinguish one type of bean from another.
Coffee grows near the equator, meaning that some of the poorest countries in the world are coffee producers. Try to buy ethically sourced beans whenever you can, as coffee farmers often suffer due to mistreatment and dishonest business practices.
Fortunately, the best ethical practices – organic farming, shade growing, treating workers well – also tend to produce the best coffees. Certification boards exist to ensure that products are organic, shade-grown, child-labor-free, fairly traded or grown at altitude.
These certifications are helpful, but it’s also good to do your own research as many non-certified coffees still meet these requirements. Ethiopian coffee, for example, is generally organically grown and Indian coffee farmers are usually well-paid and well-treated.
A word of warning about Kopi Luwak, or civet poop coffee from Indonesia: traditionally this was picked off the ground in coffee plantations where the civets were allowed to live freely. Now it more often comes from civets living in tiny cages in horrible circumstances.
Unless you are very careful about the origin, these beans are almost always the product of animal cruelty. Most coffee experts agree that it is at best a gimmick in any case, and doesn’t really produce a better coffee.
A Matter of Taste
There is no point in buying coffee beans according to what you are “supposed” to like. Try a few new beans and roasts and you will closely know your own preferences. Excellent beans are grown all over the tropical world, and no country or region has a monopoly on quality.
Some people prefer a sharper, fruity, more acidic coffee while others prefer a mellower, earthy flavor. The beans themselves have underlying flavors, and the roasting, grinding, and brewing process make their own contributions to the final taste.
Now, as you know the characteristics to consider when buying coffee beans, it’s time to know where to buy them. With thousands of varieties and options, one can easily get confused or it’s tedious to make a decision with an exhaustive number of options. To get the freshly roasted beans, we suggest you buy from a local roaster. Lastly, store the beans in airtight containers available for coffee so that they remain fresh for your next brewing day.
You might like: Best Coffee Beans for Cold Brew
Where to Buy the Best Coffee Beans
The best coffee can be sourced from the people who, in actuality, define themselves as coffee lovers and coffee carers. Now when it comes to talking about care for coffee, hold on for a second and consider asking yourself who can be the one caring about coffee more than you do. So, when it comes to answering this question, where to buy the best coffee beans, the answers are quite straight-forwards, and they look like the following.
The very first option is buying them from local roasters. When you decide to buy coffee directly from a reliable local roaster, you can bet on the quality and freshness of the product. Hence, it can be said that the first step to buying wonderful coffee is to start taking a tour of the local roasters and trying out what they are offering.
In case you find it a daunting job to get in touch with a local roaster directly, or you don’t want to spend a weekend finding one, there’s another viable option for you. Simply go ahead and order from an online roaster. The best way to make the most out of your online ordering session is to select a roaster who unhesitatingly declares that they proceed with the roasting process only after getting your order confirmed.
Naturally, this omits the minimum chance of getting shipped a bag of coffee that’s been roasted months ago, compromising with the freshness. Some of the best examples of such coffee roasters are Cooper’s Cask, Volacanica, and Portland Coffee Roasters. To make your job easier, there’re a lot of sites floating over the internet, which can narrow down your search as they come with an array of the best coffee variants from different world-class roasters.
This list is far from exhaustive, but it should give you a place to start. Once you start paying attention to the variety of flavors and aromas found in different beans, you will get a better sense of your own preferences and will find your best coffee bean. There are so many varieties out there to try and you will never end up trying the whole! Instead, you have to stop somewhere where your tongue sticks.
- How to choose the right flavor?
Well, the best way to pick up the right flavor of coffee is to check your preference in terms of tasting notes. For example, if you crave wine-like, floral, fruity, and exotic flavors, you should always go for the light roast single-origin beans. On the other hand, if you are more comfortable with classic, full-mouth feel cups, the dark roast full-bodied beans are the perfect choice for you.
- I love coffee, but I am sensitive to caffeine – what's the way out?
Don't suppress your coffee love just because you're sensitive to caffeine; there are a lot of decaf coffee options available in the market. Simply go ahead and choose one.
- What if I look for extra caffeine?
There are super-high caffeinated coffee beans you can consider. Simply filter your search with the term 'world strongest coffee beans'
- I don't have a coffee grinder; what can be my options?
To celebrate your coffee love, you don't necessarily need to have a grinder handy. Most of the good roasters grind the beans before handing them over to you.
- Is there anything stomach-friendly when it comes to grabbing a cup of coffee?
Low acid coffee beans are good for the stomach. Hence, if you're in search of something stomach-friendly, you always have the option to choose from the wide variety of low acidic beans offered by various brands.
- What is Coffee – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_bean
- How Coffee moves from Seed to Cup – https://www.ncausa.org/about-coffee/10-steps-from-seed-to-cup