a high quality coffee bean

July 16

Use Only the Highest Quality Coffee Beans

Even the highest quality coffee beans will produce low-quality coffee when brewed in a reduced-quality automatic coffeemaker. ​

It’s crucial to start with the highest quality coffee beans. Espresso machines of the best quality and proper techniques can only do so much.​

No matter how perfect your technique, you won’t be able to improve the quality that much if you’re starting with low-quality beans.​

In fact, coffee scientist Christopher H. Hendon suggests that the outcome of any given cup is dependent on four key variables: the quality of the green (unroasted) coffee beans, the roast, the water, and the brewing technique.​

However, he doesn’t give each of these equal weight.​

What Influences Cup quality?

Hendon says the green coffee beans’ quality has the most significant influence on the brew (50%). ​

Its impact is enormous compared with those of the roast (20%), water (20%), and brewing technique (10%) to emphasize, this is assuming that the brewer uses the best methods. ​

Another way to look at this is to realize that there are limits to what a great roaster and a great brewer can do to improve the bean’s quality if the quality is not there.​

Robusta vs. Arabica

Variety of coffee trees and the conditions where it is growing also make a big difference in the flavor of the coffee. ​

There are only two important species of coffee trees that produce coffee beans that are widely sold: ​Coffea Arabica and Coffea Canephora (also known as Coffea Robusta). 

Arabica beans have a better, sweeter flavor and are the way to go for making great coffee. ​​

Robusta coffee is easier to produce and has more caffeine, but Robusta is bitterer than Arabica.​

You may be able to tell the difference between Arabica beans and Robusta beans by looking at them- Robusta beans are more round, and Arabica beans are more elliptical in shape.​

processing coffee beans
Coffee cherries

Processing The Beans

Coffee processing is the stage where the coffee seeds or coffee beans are extracted from the coffee cherry. ​

The process by which the cherry is removed can significantly affect the taste of the beans. ​

There are several processing methods

Here are some of the conventional methods of processing coffee and how they affect flavor.​

The main ones are natural or dry process, pulped natural or honey process, or washed or wet process. ​

Each processing method will have an effect on the flavor of your coffee. ​

When brewed, natural process coffee tends to have robust fruity notes and full body texture. ​

Pulp natural coffees will lack the natural process coffees’ fruity notes, but it will have a very similar body texture. ​

It will have the sweetness and the acidity similar to washed process coffee. ​

Wash process coffee tends to be juicy as far as texture and will have delightful bright flavors and good acidity. ​

When buying coffee beans, you should find on the label or listed on the website what process the coffee is. But if you don’t, leave and buy from someone else.​

Storing Beans​

By storing your coffee beans correctly, you can keep a high quality bean fresh for up to a couple of weeks from the time it was roasted, but not more than that. ​

To freeze or not freeze?​

There is a debate in the coffee industry regarding freezing coffee. ​

Some say you should, and some say not to freeze. ​

I go by what my roaster tells me, just buy enough for a couple of weeks at most, and keep it in a dark, cool place.​

The enemies of coffee are oxygen, moisture, heat, and light. ​

So the best way to store it is in airtight, opaque canisters in a dark, cool, and dry place. ​

One right way to store coffee is to divide it into smaller portions. Keep about half of it in one container and the rest in another. ​

This way, you can use one container for one week, and the other half of the coffee won’t be exposed to air every time you open the can. 

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