How to Choose Coffee Beans

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Enhance your coffee experience by learning how to select beans. Coffee enthusiasts agree: The best coffee is made from freshly roasted, freshly ground beans.

Things You'll Need

  • Coffee Beans
  • Coffee Filters
  • Coffee Grinders
  • Find a specialty or gourmet shop where the salespeople are knowledgeable and will spend some time educating you about the different kinds of beans. Ask if you can taste coffees before buying them.

  • Buy only freshly roasted coffee. Ask the coffee salespeople when the coffee is roasted (many specialty shops will roast coffee daily) or, if you're buying coffee in the supermarket, check the bottom of the bag for the date the coffee was roasted, or at least a freshness date.

  • Stay away from bins where the beans are splintered or broken.

  • Trust your senses. Good beans look and smell appetizing.

  • Determine what kind of coffee you enjoy: mild or full-bodied; floral-tasting, nutty or winy; and so on.

  • Learn about the different coffee-growing regions and which varieties are highly regarded; discover which regions produce coffee that matches your tastes. Most coffee is grown in Latin America, Africa and Indonesia.

  • Determine your roast preference. Different roasters treat their coffee to lighter or darker roasts. "French roast" and "Italian roast" are two terms for darkly roasted coffee, although the actual beans aren't specified.

  • Consider blended coffees. Many specialty shops offer their own custom blends, but there are standards as well: Mocha-Java, for example, is a famous blend of coffee from Yemen (Mocha) and Java.

  • Store coffee beans and ground coffee in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. If you won't use the beans within a week, or ground coffee within a few days, keep the coffee in the freezer.

Tips & Warnings

  • For the best taste, invest in a coffee grinder and grind your beans at home.

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