How To Choose Coffee Beans?

how to choose coffee beans?

In pursuit of the best whole bean coffee – in a slightly different way. An unconventional whole-bean coffee test because I believe there’s no such thing as the best! 

So, how to choose coffee beans?

Tips before choosing whole coffee beans

Is there such a thing as the best whole-bean coffee? I don’t think so. And this could be the end of the article, but you may have a valid question about that:

‘Why not? What do you mean there isn’t? I love one of the premium coffees from Walmart!’

Premium coffee brands line the shelves, competing for customers. Most people must learn that premium coffee doesn’t even reach supermarkets. 


While store-bought vacuum-sealed coffee is produced through large-scale industrial processes, machine harvesting, and processing, the highest-quality specialty coffees are

  • hand-picked, 
  • dried for weeks, 
  • and then slowly and carefully roasted in small batches.

This means that it’s impossible to produce the same coffee every year: 

  • The crop will be different, 
  • The weather will be different, 
  • The processing will be different, 
  • and the roasting process as well.

Read more about coffee roasting!

Coffee is just like wine: There’s no identical batch of whole-bean coffee on the shelves of a roaster two years in a row. Products usually change about every month. In March, you will taste a coffee from Honduras; in April, you’ll try a coffee from Ecuador. 

Which beans taste the best?

Because of the above, choosing a favorite coffee is quite challenging. You can have a favorite roaster, flavor profile, and growing region – and great coffee becomes relative from this point forward.

We often see situations where a high-quality coffee ends up being poorly prepared in a mug, and then it loses all of its discernible flavor notes when drowned in lots of milk – whether it’s a three-in-one or even the best ground coffee.

But what truly matters? Lovers of Italian coffee might say that it doesn’t matter what kind, as long as it’s Italian. For them, it’s a quality indicator. For others, what’s important is being able to prepare it with home barista tools.

Arguing over this is unnecessary, as the Specialty Coffee Association rates the best coffees.

Criteria for coffee beans selection 

An average coffee test generally revolves around two main criteria:

  • the price of the whole bean coffee,
  • and its taste.

However, for our drink to belong among the best coffees, it needs to pass through a much more intricate filter. According to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), it must score at least 80 points on a scale of 100 to earn the title of specialty coffee.

The SCAA takes into account factors such as

  • aroma (the scent of the ground coffee),
  • flavor (the scent and flavors after hot water is poured over),
  • acidity,
  • body,
  • flavors, flavor notes, and aftertastes,
  • sweetness,
  • balance (the essence being that no single parameter dominates).

From these, an overall evaluation of the coffee is formed.

It’s important to note that nowadays, in the spirit of environmental protection and fair trade, aspects like the humane employment of workers have come to the forefront. So, a roaster can only obtain a specialty coffee qualification if Indonesian child laborers don’t do the harvesting.

The Best Whole Bean Coffees

The primary ingredient of the best whole bean coffees is often Arabica coffee

  • Arabica is a type of coffee with fruity flavor notes, unlike its major rival, 
  • Robusta, which represents a less refined, more pronounced, bitter taste profile with higher caffeine content.

Famously excellent whole-bean coffees come from coffee cherries of the so-called Geisha variety, almost all considered specialties.

How to make the perfect coffee after purchasing?

Not only can the above example with milk alter the taste of coffee entirely, but a poorly executed brewing method can also ruin even the finest coffee.

Some basic rules must be followed:

  • Use clean tools and water specifically for coffee,
  • Don’t use tap water,
  • Ensure the coffee grounds are finely ground,
  • Avoid compressing the coffee,

Read more about coffee brewing methods!

Summary: How to pick coffee beans?

  • Choosing the best whole-bean coffee is subjective, and no “best” option exists.
  • Premium coffee brands in stores are produced through large-scale industrial processes, whereas specialty coffees are hand-picked, dried for weeks, and roasted in small batches.
  • Coffee production varies yearly due to crop differences, weather changes, and processing variations.
  • Choosing a favorite coffee is challenging as taste is relative and can be affected by preparation and brewing methods.
  • Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) criteria for specialty coffee include scoring at least 80 points out of 100 based on aroma, flavor, acidity, body, flavor notes, sweetness, and balance.
  • Arabica coffee is often the primary ingredient in the best whole-bean coffees.
  • To make the perfect coffee, use clean tools and water specifically for coffee, avoid using tap water, and ensure the coffee grounds are finely ground and not compressed.

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