Best Coffee Beans – Selection Guide 2017

After buying a coffee maker, as a rule, appears an immediate question how to choose the best coffee beans for usage? Many people in their opinions ask for definite coffee brand or sort recommendation. But it is unrewarding task – all people have different tastes and you may guess it just by coincidence. However, I will give you some recommendations how to choose the best coffee beans for your coffee maker.

Arabica or Robusta? What is the difference?

The fundamental feature of the coffee beans is correlation of Arabica and Robusta sorts. These are different kinds of coffee beans. Almost all taste sensations appear due to Arabica in particular. Robusta – is for richness, bitterness and strength. The caffeine content in Robusta is on average 2 times higher than in Arabica. The slightly sour taste is absent in Robusta. Robusta is responsible for the froth height as well, that is why Robusta is usually added into espresso blends – the froth will be higher with it.

Arabica, in its turn, can have variety of taste senses and sides; it depends upon the country of origin, on the climate in particular, where the coffee trees are growing. By the way, if someone didn’t know, coffee is a berry. The higher the sort grows, the thicker the coffee beans are, the richer taste is and more sour notes there are. A bit of sourness, by the way, gives variability of taste. 100% Arabica means that caffeine content is relatively low in the blend, the taste variability is high. For some definite sensation extraction (citrus, cocoa, and flowers’ notes) you should deal with mono-origin. What is it?

Mono-origin represents the beans grown in one single country, on the exact territory, plantation, and as a consequence, in one relatively even climate with distinctive taste features. The mono-origin coffees, with the rarest exception of Arabica, should be of one crop inside the pack. 

Best coffee beans

The bigger sourness taste, for instance, belongs to coffee beans from Kenia, Ethiopia, and Mexico. The tender berry sour taste with pepper sense – from Jamaica. Brazil is characterized by roasted nuts and cocoa, Guatemala and Uganda – dark chocolate. 

There are some more nuances like the way of processing, height of growing, size of beans, but these things are, as a rule, not urgent for automated coffee makers’ buyers.

If you want to buy some different types of coffee blends exactly after purchasing the coffee maker in order to define your best coffee beans, the good variant is to take several packs of different brands from Lavazza. Lavazza Crema e Gusto is 70% of Arabica and 30% of Robusta, it is classic Italian espresso. Crema e Aroma is slightly “weaker” with the correlation of 80/20. Caffe Espresso and Qualita Oro are different brands of plain Arabica.

Which roasting degree should have the best coffee beans? Or should you just buy the medium roasting?

In this question everything is quite individually. Coffee beans for coffee machine may be of different roasting: light, medium or dark – the question is in the taste. But if we delve into this theme, we will see that there are even more roasting degrees, indeed.

Best Coffee Beans

The coffee beans roasting degree.

Light coffee roasting: Scandinavian (the roasting temperature 200-210°C), American (210-220°C). It allows exploring nuances of taste, because it saves the sourness maximally. The herbage flavor and sweet notes appear there.  Scandinavian roasting fits worth for espresso surely.

The medium roasting degree: Viennese (225-230°C) is the most popular and typical for espresso blends. I recommend starting your tries exactly with this type. If you want more strength, bitterness, richness – go to the next level. If you are looking for new taste sides – try light roasting degree.

Dark roast: French (240°C),  Italian (245°C), Spanish (250°C). It represents bitter aroma with caramel notes, the sour taste disappears. With the temperature increase the situation worsens.  The French and Italian roasting types are mainly implemented in this group. The Spanish roasting (Cuban with another word) is characterized as almost “embers”. It allows depriving from the sour taste and adding noble burnt taste with very long aftertaste.  The dark roasted coffee should be oily and glossy. If you don’t see that, it means that the roasting is old and there are ”zwiebacks” in front of  you. In the mean time you should pay attention to the pricing category, because roasting the bad bean “half to death” is the best way of hiding its mediocre taste features.

The main thing is freshness! The best coffee beans are freshly roasted beans!

If there is, for instance, the beginning of 2017 outside, the top price for such zwiebacks is 10$. In reality, all the taste variations of definite sorts, types and kinds are topical only in case of freshly roasted coffee. It is considered in the world of professionals that the coffee should be consumed not longer than in two weeks after it was roasted. Two months is a deadline, afterwards the coffee beans loose most of the taste features and start turning into typical rank zwiebacks. After a half of a year the coffee beans may be thrown out without any doubts.

But real pundits are fanatic people to some extent. The next scheme may be showed for an average consumer:

An ideal variant – 2-3 weeks after roasting;

Excellent – up to 1 month;

Quite good – up to 2 months;

Acceptable – up to 4-5 months;

You may drink up to 1 year old coffee of course, but there is no hope that you will feel some notes or senses.

Even later the purchase of any coffee, even the cheapest one, is devoid of any common sense – it is just throwing away your money.

What coffee beans are better for your coffee maker, espresso blends may be?

You may find warning or recommendation from the manufacturer to use only definite coffee beans or special espresso blends in almost every manual to espresso-machine: automated, cone filter coffee maker or even drip coffee maker. Indeed, almost every brand offers corresponding sorts with “espresso” prefix. But it doesn’t mean  that other beans do not fit for coffee makers.

Indeed, almost every brand offers corresponding sorts with “espresso” prefix. But it doesn’t mean  that other beans do not fit for coffee makers.

It is protection of manufacturer from the “fool” only in order to prevent you from using some aromatized, caramelized and other modified beans, which can break the coffee grinder. In reality, you may use not only espresso-blends, but any other beans (surely non-aromatized etc.).

Espresso blends of various brands differ from the “non-espresso blends” of the same brand only by average combination of suitable parameters for any lover of classic Italian espresso: Arabica/robusta ratio, roasting. In case of ground coffee the grinding is also necessary; it is specially defined for espresso coffee makers. But in fact, the answer on the question “how to choose best coffee beans for coffee maker” is narrowed to taste preferences and freshness, as I already mentioned above.

Coffee Beans CupHow to adjust the taste notes while brewing?

After you have bought beans for coffee maker, opened the pack and put coffee into the grinder you are able to adjust the taste sense to some extent: 

Grinding. First of all, the definite grinding fits to every definite coffee brewing type. For instance, the coarse-ground coffee suits for French-press. In case of espresso machines the medium or fine-ground beans are usually used. The smaller the grinding is, the stronger, bitterer and richer the coffee is and the higher the cream froth is. One more common benchmark is: the darker the roasting is, the coarser the grinding becomes, as a rule. It is not recommended to use too small grinding for beans of dark roasting.

Beverage volume. The less coffee volume is, the more specific sour and other notes in the taste appear, the deeper richness and less caffeine is. And quite the contrary, the more water flows through the coffee, the stronger the suppression of all senses is, less sour notes, less bitterness, but more caffeine and actual strength appears. On this page, in comments I offer you sharing which types/brands/sorts do you personally prefer, about their notes, strength, richness, sourness, in which beverages do you prefer using proved coffee beans? This information will serve as an additional benchmark for other coffee lovers, which are looking for something new.

P.S. I haven’t written anything about the coffee choice for capsule coffee makers in this material, because they are strictly connected to the definite capsules’ manufacturer. Variability – is only among small set of predefined tastes. There is absolutely nothing to say about them. Except for Nespresso systems there are exceptions like alternatives and even with ground coffee from freshly roasted beans.