6 Tips For When You Buy Coffee Beans

6 Tips For When You Buy Coffee Beans

When people want to buy coffee beans or ground coffee, sometimes they just grab a bag off the shelf of their local retail store and that’s it. We’re often influenced by the fancy packaging or may have seen a TV commercial for a certain brand and reach for that (that means the advertisers have done their job!).

If you’re serious about brewing a perfect cup of coffee, it’s not a good way to choose your coffee. Putting a little more time and thought into shopping for coffee, can have big rewards when it comes to taste.

Here are 6 tips to help you purchase (and hopefully make) great coffee:

Buy Coffee Beans
Hopefully, you know that you should be buying whole coffee beans and grinding them yourself. Whole coffee beans are always better than pre-ground coffee. Whole coffee beans will keep their flavor and natural oils longer than pre-ground coffee. The best coffee is made from freshly ground bean, which means the flavor is kept locked inside the coffee bean until it is ground – which should be right before brewing.

Grind Your Own Coffee Beans
Grinding your own coffee beans gives you control over the grind of the coffee bean. This is important because coffee beans can be ground fine, medium or coarse and the grind depends on the method you are using to make your coffee and your particular taste. Of course you will need a good grinder like the Burr coffee grinder.

Do Your Research
Do your research and understand where coffee comes from and the characteristics of the different types and names of coffee beans available. Certain regions cultivate distinct flavors, and the altitude at which the coffee bean is grown also influences the quality of the bean. By being more informed you will have a better chance of making the right choice when buying coffee beans.

Find the Freshest Coffee Beans
Finding the freshest coffee beans is the key to an excellent cup of coffee. So where do you look? Coffee beans are sold in many places, pre-packaged in retail grocery stores and coffee shops or they can be purchased loose in some stores.  Coffee shops are usually a better place to purchase coffee beans as they often have a higher turnover of coffee beans than a regular grocery store – there’s a good chance the coffee beans are fresher. Visit a good coffee shop and speak with the owner to get an idea of the various types of coffee beans available to purchase. Coffee shops often stock various kinds of coffee beans which are not available in larger retail stores.

Coffee beans can also be purchased online from specialty shops and online stores such as Coffee.org which offer many types and flavors of coffee beans. The bottom line is, you will not produce a great cup of coffee if the beans are not fresh.

Check the Packaging
A bag with a one way valve will keep the coffee beans fresher. But it’s not just about the type of bag, check the bag for a ‘roast date’. This is the date the coffee was roasted but it can be hard to find bags of coffee beans with this information on it. If you can find a bag with the roasting date on it, as opposed to the ‘use by’ date, that is a very good thing .  A use-by date is better than nothing but a roast date is best.  Coffee beans start to loose their freshness as soon as they are roasted.

Ask for a Free Sample or Purchase Sample Sizes
If possible get a sample of the coffee. This is the only way you will be able to taste the coffee before you commit to a larger quantity. Unfortunately, samples are not always available but there’s no harm in asking. Some of the gourmet coffee stores will be pleased to give you a free sample in the hopes you will become a regular customer. Some types of coffee beans can be purchased in sample sizes. These smaller bags of coffee will allow you to try out the coffee before you commit to purchasing a full bag. It’s a cost effective way of finding the perfect coffee bean for your particular taste.

As a final note, don’t be afraid to try unique and unfamiliar flavors and brands of coffee. Who knows – one of them could end up being your favorite brand!

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