The Tastiest Coffee Bean
Finding the tastiest coffee bean is a specialty in itself. The wine market (and the tea market) has sommeliers. In the coffee industry you have the seasoned barista who has a nose for good coffee.
I always really enjoy sitting in a coffee shop with a cup of coffee. Sometimes with friends or family. Sometimes with my laptop. Writing is an activity that I enjoy. That pleasure is enhanced by the presence of good coffee. So I dare to say that I have developed a good coffee taste over the years. I've found my best coffee bean, but tastes differ. Let's find your best coffee bean.
We've all stood in front of a shelf where we didn't know what to choose. We stared blindly at the possibilities. I've had this all too often myself. I usually let myself be tempted by a brand I knew or a type of bean a friend had told me about.
Although that was usually a good choice, I convinced myself that there was more to it. There had to be more to be found on the internet.
Factors to watch out for
When it comes to the tastiest coffee bean, there are several factors that are important. These factors largely determine the taste of the cup you ultimately drink.
Kind of bean
There are almost as many varieties of coffee beans as there are varieties of grapes. More than a hundred variants. There are two main classes of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta. Within this there are varieties, bred for certain characteristics, such as natural taste but also disease resistance, etc.
These beans give the complex taste of the coffee you drink in a good coffee shop. Arabica beans usually have a higher price tag, but you do get something in return. Many people swear by arabica varieties. If you ask them for the best coffee bean, they will undoubtedly try to talk you their way.
Although these quality beans win the prize in quality, they still occupy the majority of coffee bean varieties. About 75 percent of all coffee beans are Arabica beans.
Robusta beans have a stronger, rougher flavor with a grainy overtone. The aftertaste is often a bit peanut-like. There is usually twice as much caffeine in robusta beans as in arabica beans. In general, they are seen as less qualitative and refined than arabica beans. However, there are robusta beans of good quality. These are excellent for use in an espresso and are appreciated for their strong, deep flavour.
Robusta beans are less picky when it comes to growing climate. They are easier to grow. They grow in lower areas and are less dependent on pests and weather conditions. These varieties also flower much faster than the arabica beans, which often take years to really ripen. In addition, these varieties produce more beans per tree.
Robusta beans mainly grow in Africa (eg Uganda) and Asia (Indonesia, Vietnam). Arabica beans are also grown in Africa, but these types are mainly found in South America. Only arabica beans are produced in Colombia. You will find them both in countries such as Brazil and India.
It remains a matter of taste. Everyone has their own coffee bean that is the tastiest. Some arabica beans can give an overwhelming taste. Adding the rich, dark flavor of a robusta bean can work well in a blend.
Origin of the bean
The real coffee connoisseurs among us know that there is a lot of taste difference between the beans from different regions. Each region has its own distinctive flavors that you can taste in the beans grown there.
These beans generally have a smooth, fruity taste. There are hints of nutty flavours. They have a clear, slightly sour taste.
Coffee from this region is characterized by a light sweetness. You can even taste a caramel or honey flavor in some beans. This is especially true for the Colombian beans.
The Asian coffee has a robust taste. The acidity is low and you can taste woody and earthy notes.
This is where most of the fruity and sometimes floral beans are produced. You often taste sweet flavors such as hints of wine and berries. The Ethiopian coffee bean is known for a strong blueberry flavour.
Single origin coffee that is roasted for a short to medium length of time gives the most information about its origin. You can clearly taste the flavors that are characteristic of the region of origin.
Height of the crop
The height of the crop also plays a role in the flavors that you taste in the coffee. When the crop is high in the mountains, the taste of the coffee will be stronger than at sea level. This also applies to the characteristic regional flavors, which then come back more clearly.
The reason that the taste of the coffee is so dependent on the altitude at which the beans are grown is as follows. Sugar is an important source of energy for the coffee tree. When the coffee tree cannot find it in the earth, it will look for other sources of energy. You can taste that in the beans.
A coffee tree grows best at a temperature of 18 – 23 degrees Celsius. However, the tree needs sufficient rain to grow well. You will find such a climate mainly higher in the mountains.
From 1500m above sea level, the product that comes from the coffee tree takes on a refined sweetness and acidity. In Kenya you have a lot of these types of higher altitude crops. When you sit a little lower, at 1000 to 1250m above sea level, the beans already get a more subtle taste with more earthy notes. This is common in Brazil and India.
Blend or single origin
It's hard to really give a good answer to this. In general, lovers of milk in their coffee are more inclined to go for a blend. You see both in lovers of black coffee. A single origin shows off black better.
It is true that many blends are composed with the addition of milk in mind. A milk-based end product is taken into account in the composition of flavors. The coffee beans that are added to such a blend are carefully selected. Some beans contribute to a blend with more body, others are responsible for the somewhat sweeter taste. All the beans together form a delicate balance. That's the purpose of a blend.
Single origin coffee comes from a specific region. This coffee is preferred by coffee drinkers who appreciate the characteristics of a particular region.
Of course you are free to combine a single origin coffee with milk. It is also possible to drink a blend of black coffee. Whether the taste turns out well here also depends on the coffee beans that are chosen.
Moment of the surf
It's rare to find a roast date on the package of your beans with supermarket coffee. The date you can usually find is the expiration date.
However, that date is not enough. Coffee beans react with oxygen, moisture and heat. In this process, the coffee bean loses its freshness and therefore taste. Freshly roasted is therefore preferred, but if packaged properly, you can store coffee for quite a long time. As a bean, the coffee stays good for the longest time. Ground coffee can possibly be stored longer in the freezer.
Most of the coffee you'll find on supermarket shelves has been roasted weeks before. Then it entered a process of packaging and distribution. That took time.
At Van Hilst Koffie en Thee we roast fresh coffee 3 times a week. You can taste that in the cup you drink. If, after reading this article, you find out which coffee bean best suits your taste, I would like to invite you to take a look at our range.
Profile of the surf
There are two ways to roast your coffee. We know the espresso branding and the filter branding. As you probably already suspect, you can deduce from these names for which equipment the coffee is roasted.
Espresso roast coffee is roasted longer, giving it more body. This ensures that the coffee comes into its own in an espresso machine. This way you get the optimal taste from the coffee.
Filter roast coffee ( single estate and blends ) is roasted for less time to retain the acidity that a coffee needs. If you use a classic coffee maker, the filter grind is a wise choice. We have 2 nice examples of what branding can do in our range.
- Single Estate – Indonesia and Espresso Toradja are the same beans. The Espresso Toradja is roasted darker.
- The same applies to Single Estate – Brazil and Espresso Brasil .
But there are also excellent medium/filter roast coffees that are suitable for both espresso and filter. For example our Guatemala , which has a relatively full flavor and slightly less fruit tones.
Processing the bean
With the more luxurious coffee brands you can see on the packaging how the coffee bean has been processed. Usually this is a simple designation of crops or natural. Although this may seem like a small difference, you can expect a completely different taste from the same coffee bean.
Washed coffee has the outer pulp of the bean removed. The beans are then stored in fermentation tanks, after which they are washed and left to dry. This gives you coffee with a clear taste that still retains its complexity. This form of processing is very popular with coffee farmers because it gives them good control over the fermentation process.
The counterpart to this is the coffee that is processed in a natural way. This means that the coffee bean remains in the shell during drying. This gives you a coffee bean that is full of flavors. The sweeter flavors in particular come into their own because of this.
The Tastiest Coffee Bean: conclusion
So if you are looking for the best coffee bean, there is plenty of choice. I hope this article has made you wiser. That I helped you on your way in the search for the ultimate bean.
If you have any questions or need advice in finding your best coffee bean, we are at your service at Van Hilst Koffie en Thee. In that case, please contact us.