What coffee beans should I buy?
You just purchased all your new coffee gear for home and your next and final step is to buy some beans to start enjoying coffee at home, but when you visit your local cafe or BarkerSt.com.au you see so many options and words like single origin, process, Gesha, Arabica, filter roast etc and you look at the coffee or screen with a blank face all confused. Well we have all been there, we all have to start somewhere.
We have broken down everything you need to know about getting your head around purchasing coffee for you to enjoy minus all the hipster words.
So lets get into it.
Ground or Whole Beans
Your local hipster will always say whole beans as “Fresh is best” and we would agree but we understand not everyone has a grinder at home to be able to grind the coffee as they require it. So if you can, purchase whole beans and grind as you go but if you cant, grounded beans are fine.
If you do purchase grounded coffee beans, we would suggest to purchase less coffee per order to maximize freshness as your coffee will become stale quicker if they have been grounded.
Single Origin or Blend
Single Origin coffee is from a single farm in a particular country eg Ethiopian Single Origin just means that coffee was grown in a single farm in Ethiopia. A blend is coffee which has coffee beans from multiple countries and/or farms eg This Clark St Ringleader Blend has coffee beans from Colombia, Guatemala, Ethiopia and Brazil.
Single Origin coffee beans are best to be used when making an espresso or filter coffee and blend coffee beans are best to be used when adding milk to your coffee. That’s not to say you cant use blends for espresso or filter coffee and single origin coffee for milk based coffees but majority of the time this rule applies.
We have two types here, Espresso/Dark roast or Filter roast, without going to deep into the science of this, Espresso roasted coffee gets roasted for longer than Filter roast coffee.
Now which one should I use? If your using a espresso machine or Stove Top at home, go for Espresso roasted coffee. If you’re using a Aeropress, Chemex, V60 or a manual brewing method go for Filter roasted coffee.
On each coffee bag you buy you will see it mentions the Process in which the coffee beans have been prepared. We have three different options here, Washed, Natural and Honey.
Washed coffee is the most commonly used method. It starts with placing all the coffee cherries into a large tank of water where all the ripe cherries will fall to the bottom of the tank. The soaked cherries are then transferred to a pulping machine where the pulp and skin is removed via a pulping machine. After this the coffee will be fermented for about 12 hours and then move to a drying bed in the sun to dry.
Naturally processed coffee is the most traditional coffee processing method. Once picked, the coffee is placed on a raised bed in the sun to dry for about 20-40 days. Over those 20-40 days in the sun the fruity flavours from the coffee cherries slowly release into the green bean. After the coffee cherries have been dried the skin of the bean is slowly removed.
Honey processed coffee is once the coffee cherries have been picked the skin is removed from the cherries leaving the sticky mucilage covering the bean. The skin is removed via a de-pulper machine which can be adjusted to remove as much or little of the sticky mucilage as they desire. The coffee is then placed on drying beds where the coffee is placed in the sun to begin the drying process.
When starting out, we suggest not to worry to much about what process the coffee is but to mix it around and try tasting all process methods and see which one suits your unique taste buds.
Arabica or Robust
Easy way to put this is, Arabica good and Robust bad. All the coffee you will find on BarkerSt.com.au and from your local roaster will be Arabica coffee. Robust coffee is used by your large multinational companies as Robust coffee is much cheaper.
View all our wonderful Arabica coffee range
Varieties & Altitude
We don’t want to go to deep into different varieties and altitudes in coffee beans as this is were it starts to get some what geeky, but on some coffee bags you purchase it does mention varieties and the altitude so we will explain it a little for you.
When you hear coffee varieties mentioned it basically means the type of tree the coffee was grown on. Exactly like how fruit and vegetables have different varieties, so does coffee.
Altitude is just in reference to how high the coffee was grown at. Coffee grown at different altitudes will give the coffee beans different flavors.
Now with all the information you need to start brewing great coffee at home, go out and start tasting all the wonderful coffees the world has to offer. Always remember, there is not right or wrong way of brewing coffee, the best way to brew coffee is the way you enjoy most.
We at Barker St have made it super easy for you to enjoy great coffee, shop our range of 120+ different coffees from Australia’s finest roasters or subscribe to one of our subscriptions and never run out of coffee again.