Deciding which gourmet coffee beans to purchase can be challenging, especially if you’ve only recently developed a taste for gourmet coffee. Coffee beans usually fall into the broad categories of Arabica and Robusta. There are many brands available and several variables which affect the taste of the coffee, even within the same brand. Depending on where the coffee was grown or how long it was roasted, the flavor can be quite different. If you’d like some help in choosing the best beans, you’ll find all the guidance you need below.

Selecting and Storing High Quality Coffee Beans

Some feel one of the first decisions to make when selecting  gourmet coffee beans will be between Arabica and Robusta coffee. Arabica grows in high altitude areas and it is known for its smooth, slightly acidic taste while Robusta grows in lower altitude locations and has a stronger, almost bitter taste. Arabica beans overall tend to make better coffee but a lot depends on how the coffee is grown and how it is treated before it is roasted. In the grand scheme of things, this distinction won’t matter that much.

A lot of the commercially available coffee is a blend of beans from many different regions. However, you may want to sample varietals from some of the most popular coffee-growing regions like Colombia, Kona, Kenya, and Sumatra.

Colombian coffee often has a slight to moderate floral aroma and it could have an almost fruity character. This varietal can also have green notes and earthy base notes which vary from barely noticeable to slight or moderate. Kona coffee shares many similarities with Colombian coffee. However, high-quality varieties from Columbia and Kona can also have a distinctive spicy, wine-like character. 

Alternatively, Kenyan coffees vary quite a bit sometimes including berry or citrus aromatics with slight to moderate body. It also tends to be fairly acidic although not so much that it is jarring. Sumatran coffee may include fruity or vegetable notes along with a distinctive woodsy aromatic. It usually has moderate to full body.

Another factor which affects the flavor of gourmet coffee beans is the roasting process. Roasting turns green beans into coffee that’s ready to be ground. Light roast beans have a sour taste and contain the most caffeine. Medium roast coffees can have a noticeable acidity even though you can also pick up fruity, floral or vegetable aromatics. Medium roast coffee beans contain somewhat less caffeine than light roast varieties. Dark roasts have a slightly bittersweet aftertaste and notes of caramelization. Another option is darker roasts which have a bitter or even smoky aftertaste and substantially less caffeine than light roasts.

Since different brands and regions label their roasts differently, you may have to try a few options before you find the quality coffee beans you like best. No matter which type of coffee you choose, you need to store it correctly to maintain freshness and retain flavor. You must keep your beans away from strong odors, light, heat, and moisture. 

Some tips to keep your freshly roasted coffee beans from losing their flavor:

  • Transfer freshly roasted beans to an airtight glass, ceramic or non-reactive metal container.
  • Keep your coffee bean container in a dark, cool location away from the stove or oven.
  • Purchase small amounts of coffee beans that will last one or two weeks since fresh-roasted coffee loses its freshness quickly.

Where to Buy the Best Gourmet Coffee

Now that you know how to choose the best gourmet coffee, you may be wondering where you can get it. Your local supermarket or shop may be a good place to start if they sell retail bags of beans. Be sure to ask about the origin of the beans and when they were roasted. If you can’t find a good shop or roaster nearby, you can search online for places in your area. Another option is to get your gourmet coffee online. You’ll have access to a large number of roasters and many different types of coffee. Searching for “gourmet coffee near me” or “gourmet coffee beans near me” will likely yield some results.

It may take some time to discern your favorite taste, and your selection may vary over time. Often those who start with a lighter roast may gradually favor a darker one the more they drink. However, it’s a journey you’ll no doubt enjoy. Use the tips above to help you get started with gourmet coffee whether you need it for home use or your office coffee delivery service.

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