Choosing a coffee can be a little over whelming especially when there is so much choice on offer. You know you want something that you can enjoy every day, not just sometimes, it's got to be good every time. After all, drinking coffee should take you to your happy place.
Some people choose by brand name, the bigger and more well known the better, but sometimes it's the familiarity of a name that gives a false sense of security. So, we're here to help you take a leap of faith and try something new.
Here's what to look out for:
1. Source your coffee from a respected roaster - buying coffee fresh from a roaster you trust will ensure you are drinking a high quality product. Most roasters offer a variety of strengths and flavours, so you should have no trouble finding your nirvana in a roastery.
2. Buy Fresh - only buy fresh coffee, it tastes better! Locally roasted is ideal because it hasn't been sitting in a shipping container for months. HACCP stipulates that we must provide a best by date on all bags, which we oblige, but our coffee is out the door within two weeks of roasting it. You don't want to drink it within the first week after roasting because it needs to go through the degassing process before the full flavours come out. Also, if the beans have an oily appearance chances are they aren't fresh.
3. Know your preferred tastes profiles. Cupping notes can help and will at least let you know what the coffee grower and the roaster have tried to achieve. The coffee species ie Arabica is without a doubt the most popular bean: bright, sweet, complex with lovely acidity and body.
Light roasts tends to retain the fruity flavours and have a lighter body, a medium roast will further develop the sweetness and body and a dark roast will be quite bold and earthy. It's a personal choice.
You also need to take into consideration what equipment you use to brew your coffee. Filter, pour over or plunger are great with a lighter roasts and single origins, and espresso machine brewers love medium and dark roasts. Or another rule of thumb is - blends for milk and single origins for black.
4. If you can, buy whole beans. We appreciate that not everyone has a grinder so this isn't always possible but if you can, buy your coffee in beans. If you need it ground, then buy in smaller portions ie 250g or 500g and once you open the bag, keep it in an air tight container away from light and other smells.
5. Know your Coffee growing Regions. There are three main coffee growing regions, they are: Central and South America, Africa and Asia.
Central and South America grow sweet, nutty and smooth coffee;
African coffees are more fruity, winey and light in body; and
Asia (Indonesia/India/Vietnam) produce an earthy and heavier body coffee.
Papua New Guinea is a large supplier to Australia. They grow some excellent arabica coffees and are widely used by Australian roasters. They work very well in full-bodied, smooth blends. Keep an eye out for PNG coffees.
So, next time you're looking to select a new coffee to use at home, remember some these tips and you should be onto something good. Enjoy...