Gourmet coffee starts with picking the right beans. For beginners, the choices can be overwhelming. This article is a great way to start from the basics, to find coffees you will enjoy.
Basics for choosing coffees from around the world
Choosing from about 50 coffee-producing countries worldwide can make it tough to know where to start. With some over generalization to keep this simple, you can narrow your decision down to three primary choices, with these tastes.
- African – acidic and fruity undertones. Examples would be Gourmet coffees from Kenya and Ethiopia.
- Indonesian – an earthy flavor. This includes Sumatra and Java.
- Central American – milder, somewhat nutty taste. Colombian is the gourmet taste to which most Americans are accustomed. Beans from Brazil tend to be less expensive and lower quality, although some producers are improving.
You should look for 100% Arabica beans. Generally avoid robusta beans, which can be more bitter even though higher in caffeine. Coffee blends (a mixture of beans from different countries or regions) can be good but still pay attention to be sure you’re only getting Arabica beans.
Freshness is key for buying, storing and grinding your coffee beans
Always buy freshly roasted whole beans, no matter where they were grown. Then you need to properly store the whole beans to maintain their freshness. Grind your beans just before you brew. Only grind as much as you will use right away, or perhaps for today and tomorrow (ground beans lose flavor much faster than whole beans).
Unless you’re an expert, you should purchase roasted beans. Darker roasts have a reputation for gourmet flavor, although the three most popular roasts are as follows:
- light American roast
- medium roast
- full city (dark) roast.
French roast is another common roast. French roast brews extremely dark, with a smooth, caramelized flavor.
You may be fortunate enough to find a local roaster, who can help guide you through the multiple choices and provide you with freshly roasted gourmet beans. Otherwise you can find wonderful choices from world class online coffee store merchants who are experts in selecting the best beans and roasting them to perfection, to ship directly to you, fresh and ready to grind for the perfect brew.
Single serve brewers offer beginners gourmet coffee the simple way
To simplify coffee for beginners, here is a tip. The easiest way to learn great taste is to purchase a single serve coffee maker. That way you can enjoy many different brews, one cup at a time, without worrying about the finer details. You will purchase prepackaged coffee ready to brew by touching a button. The three types of one cup makers are Keurig, Tassimo and pod makers.
The best advice
Buy the beans from the locations you think you will like, and try different roasts. Then have fun experimenting! Enjoying coffee is a wonderful hobby, because you can always brew a new pot. Just try different beans and roasts until you find the perfect flavors for your own taste