How to Choose Coffee Beans That Taste Delicious
By: Molly Apel
April 20, 2021
- If you’re brewing more coffee at home, you’ve likely encountered the challenge of buying coffee—where do you start?
- Coffee flavor depends on five variables: variety, region, roast, grind and storage.
- Follow this guide to choose the right coffee beans to brew into your perfect cup of morning deliciousness.
Channeling your inner barista and making a fresh pot of coffee at home can be a great money-saving technique, but it also raises the question of, “Which coffee beans are the best?”
If you want to make good coffee at home, you have options. It all boils down to the beans and preference. From variety and region to roast and grind, here’s a breakdown of the factors to help you buy coffee beans that will make the perfect cup of coffee, whether you’re shopping online or at the grocery store.
What are the different types of coffee beans?
There are as many varieties of coffee beans as there are wine grapes. To make it easy on us, the coffee industry depends mostly on varietals that fall into two categories — Arabica and Robusta.
- Arabica has the delicate flavor and low acidity of coffee you’ll find at most coffee shops. For an easy-drinking everyday brew, go with Arabica beans. You’ll find this information on the coffee packaging.
- Robusta beans can be grown in harsher climates with less water, which makes them more economical to grow. That said, these beans also have a more acidic and bitter flavor — not what you want in your perfect cup.
Where is the coffee grown?
If you’ve tasted a variety of coffee, you know that different coffee regions deliver wildly different flavors. When you’re buying coffee, the flavor will depend largely on where it was grown.
Seem like a lot of information to go over in the coffee aisle? Don’t worry, this coffee guide has you covered:
Here are some characteristic flavor notes of the broader coffee-growing regions:
- Subtly nutty
- Bright, acidic (not sour)
- Slight sweetness
- Hints of caramel and honey (especially Colombian coffee)
- Hints of wine, berry
- Fruity, floral
- Ethiopia’s trademark is its strong blueberry flavor
Single-origin coffees with a light to medium roast will allow the coffee’s unique regional characteristics to shine through.
Another consideration when choosing the perfect coffee bean is elevation. Read the package and look for coffee grown at high altitudes, which develops a richer and fuller flavor than coffee grown closer to sea level.
Some coffee brands may blend beans from different regions together to create a good cup of coffee That’s because a lot of different factors can affect the taste, including growing conditions and time of year. Bulletproof beans contain beans from Columbia, Guatemala and El Salvador to create a perfectly balanced flavor profile. Talk about an eclectic cup of morning (or anytime) coffee!
How do you choose a coffee roast?
What coffee guide would be complete without an in-depth explanation about roasts and what they mean? After all, it’s impossible to answer the question of, “Which coffee beans are the best?” without diving into each type of roast first.
When you roast coffee beans, the flavor of the bean is brought out. To complicate matters, coffee isn’t all roasted the same amount. Lighter roasts deliver the flavor of berries, caramel, chocolate, spice, or even floral notes. Darker roasts tend to bring out a stronger toasted flavor that can overpower the lighter regional flavors.
It’s a common misconception that the darker and more bitter your coffee is, the more caffeine it has. That’s not true. Roasting burns off caffeine, so light roasts pack more of a punch than dark roasts. One roast isn’t necessarily better than the other — it all comes down to preference.
Light roast means the coffee beans were exposed to heat for the least amount of time, and the finished product is light brown in color. Coffee beans pop at around 380°F to 400°F, known as “first crack,” then again between 435°F and 450°F, “second crack.” Roasters remove light roasts from heat just past the first crack.
Light roasts retain the regional characteristics of the bean. The flavor profile is smooth, bright and not bitter at all, as long as brewing temperatures stay below 205°F. A light roast also delivers the highest acidity, which in coffee speak isn’t the same as sourness. No coffee should taste sour. (If your coffee is sour, it means something went wrong at some point in the production process.) Instead, acidity refers to the bright, vibrant quality of coffee.
Start your day right with Bulletproof Breakfast Blend, the light roast sure to satisfy all coffee drinkers. This light-roast variety will tantalize your taste buds with vibrant notes of milk chocolate, orange, berry and citrus. Talk about a delicious way to start the day!
Roasters remove coffee beans from the heat source just before the second crack to get a medium roast. Medium roasts lose a bit of acidity and take on a more roasty-toasty flavor. This flavor overpowers some of the regional notes, although the regional characteristics still come through to a degree. Medium roasts have lower caffeine content than light roasts, and more than dark roasts.
Your mug (or whatever drinking vessel you choose) is begging to be filled with Bulletproof Original Coffee. And if you still want to savor the distinct notes of cinnamon, plum, and orange without the caffeine boost, we’ve got you covered. Bulletproof Original Decaf still brings that signature medium roast flavor and unmistakable cocoa hazelnut finish.
To achieve a dark roast, coffee roasters heat beans to a second crack and then some. High temperatures extract a lot of the natural oils, so beans take on a shiny, dark brown character. The roasted flavors come out, and the resulting coffee can taste bitter.
Since dark roasts cook the longest, they have the least amount of caffeine. As far as flavor goes, a dark roast cup of coffee doesn’t have the bright acidity that lighter roasts have, and you can barely detect regional characteristics. People who appreciate the roasted quality over subtle regional flavors will favor dark roasts over light or medium.
For dark roast lovers, you can’t go wrong with Bulletproof French Kick, which features a smooth, medium-bodied flavor with a smoky chocolate aroma. If you’re looking for something in between a medium and a dark roast, Bulletproof The Mentalist offers a full-bodied flavor with notes of cherry, almond and caramel. And if you want to take things up a notch, try incorporating some Bulletproof Grass-Fed Ghee to give your body (and brain) a boost of quality fats!
Other coffee considerations
In addition to how your coffee tastes, there are other considerations you should keep in mind when choosing which coffee beans to buy.
- Coffee bean form: You’ve found your favorite flavor, but do you go whole bean or ground? If you have time to pull out your coffee grinder and grind your beans fresh every morning, choose whole bean coffee. Maybe convenience is more your thing, so add ground coffee to your shopping cart. Are you a one-cup-and-done coffee drinker? If so, Bulletproof single-serve pods should be your go-to.
- Organic coffee: Organic certification is a great way to get quality beans. So is Bulletproof’s approach of working with small farms and making sure adequate testing of the beans supplied by all these hard workers takes place.
- Brewing method: Whether you’re using a coffee maker or French press, you can usually get away with any type of bean you like. French press does require a coarse grind, so pre-ground coffee won’t work. Rocking an espresso machine? You may want to grab espresso beans for that straight-from-the-coffee-shop flavor. Any full-body dark roast or espresso roast will work well. After all, these beans are rich in natural oils, which helps to form the espresso crema.
What about Bulletproof Coffee Beans?
Bulletproof Coffee Beans are 100% Arabica beans, available in four different roasts: light, medium, medium-dark and dark.
They’re tested for toxins, which is a big deal when you are a coffee lover and drink coffee every day. You want high-quality coffee that tastes good and makes you feel even better.
Bulletproof Coffee Beans deliver in the following ways:
- They are fair trade, which means they are grown in direct partnership with Rainforest Alliance Certified farmers to ensure sustainable operations.
- Single-origin beans grown on high-altitude estates in Guatemala or South America, depending on the season.
- Delicious whether you drink your coffee black or enjoy Bulletproof Coffee.
- Choose between whole bean coffee, ground coffee, or K-cup coffee pods.
Learn more about what makes Bulletproof Coffee Beans different.
With your new coffee knowledge, you’ll know what to look for when you’re shopping for coffee beans. Ultimately, which coffee beans are the best boils down (excuse the pun) to tasting different roasts until you find one that suits your palate the best. Sip dark roasts, try a new variety of beans from South America and pay attention to whatever makes your taste buds happy.
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