Coffee is how most people wake up no matter where you are around the world. Caffeine helps you get through the day and keeps feelings of tiredness at bay. Some people love sipping coffee while reading a good book or spending quality time with a friend. Whether you are a coffee enthusiast or enjoy a cup every once in a while, there are various factors you should consider before buying coffee online.
There are two major types of coffee—Robusta and Arabica. In addition, coffee is available in different types of roasts like light, medium, medium-dark, and dark roasts that affect its taste. Other factors to consider are roast date, price, taste, grind size, among others. We'll tell you all you need to know about how to shop for coffee.
With the various options of coffee available on the market, it might become difficult to find the best one for your daily beverage. We understand your concern, and that's why we have created a comprehensive buying guide containing all the aspects and other important information that you should bear in mind while choosing coffee that satisfies your taste buds.
What are the different types of coffee beans?
There are two major types of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta. Arabica is slightly more expensive but boasts a smoother flavor that is preferred by many connoisseurs. Robusta, on the other hand, is more bitter but is typically smoother in texture.
What are the different types of coffee roasts?
Roasting converts beans into ready to grind and brew coffee. You can find four types of coffee roasts on the labels of the packs—light, medium, medium-dark, and dark. Light roast coffee beans are roasted for the least amount of time, due to which they have the most acidity as well as caffeine. However, medium roasts have a balanced aroma, flavor, and acidity. Most Americans are used to these kinds of roasts. Besides, medium-dark roast beans have a rich flavor, thick consistency, less acidity, and deep aroma, while dark roasts are full-bodied and have sweeter flavors and the least acidity as well as caffeine.
How to shop for coffee
Coffee is subjective in taste, but certain brands appeal to most coffee drinkers. A great way to find your favorite brand is by trying different options. Some brands come in a set with different flavors. If you like this option, go for a pack that has multiple flavor profiles.
Origin of beans
Coffee beans come from two main origins: South America and Africa. So when you are exploring different brands, pay attention to where the beans are from. Some people prefer one origin over the other because of their unique flavor profiles, but it is a subjective preference. You can usually find something that appeals to your taste buds no matter where the beans are from.
African coffee mainly comes from Ethiopia, which is the origin of coffee Arabica. Coffee from this part of the world is considered the best because it is grown in high-altitude areas with excellent climatic conditions. The flavor contains various notes like jasmine, blueberry, and bergamot. In addition, it has mild acidity levels.
South America also produces Arabica and Robusta coffee in Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. This coffee profile is characterized by caramel, chocolate, and orange notes with a nutty undertone and mellow acidity.
Blend vs. Single roast
A blend comprises beans from various origins, while a single roast only comprises one type of bean. If you like to drink the same kind of coffee roast every time, try finding a brand that offers more than one flavor blend. This allows for more variety each time you make your morning drink. However, if you prefer changing it up with different types of coffee roasts, purchase individual roasts instead.
It is important to look at the roast date before you make your purchase because it determines the freshness. For best results, try choosing coffee that was roasted within the last three months. This should provide you with the freshest cup of caffeine kick for your great day ahead. However, if you prefer roasting your beans, you should ensure they do not go past four weeks.
Some brands offer pre-ground coffee beans in fine, medium, medium-coarse, or coarse grinds, while others sell fresh, whole beans. If you purchase the pre-ground option, it will last longer than the whole bean. Also, you can choose to grind your coffee yourself before or after brewing, but this takes time and patience. While there is not one universal grind size, drip coffee makers usually work best with medium-sized ground beans. If you prefer espresso, try using fine or extra-fine grounds instead. The best option is to find a brand that gives you the options that work for you.
Different brands of coffee are best brewed using different methods. So, make sure to check out each pack’s recommended method of preparation before making a purchasing decision. We suggest selecting coffee that can be brewed in various ways. Some of the best brewing methods include:
Cold-brew is an alternative method that some brands offer for making iced coffee.
French press is the traditional way of making strong coffee while percolating grounds create a more mild cup.
Drip methods are the most common and produce a uniform cup of coffee.
Coffee can be pricey, especially when you like drinking it every day. The average cost ranges from $24 to $87 depending on whether the coffee beans are whole or ground, their grind size, origin, brewing method, number of packs, flavors, package weight, and more. When buying coffee, you should pick something that not only fits your budget but also tastes great.
How should you store coffee?
If you want to make sure your precious coffee gets properly stored each time, here’s what you need to do:
Purchase small quantities
When purchasing coffee, only purchase the amount that can be consumed within a few weeks. Coffee will go stale if stored for too long, so buying smaller quantities ensures that you won’t have a bad start to the day. In case you purchase more than you need, divide it into two and then use one and store the other.
Airtight storage containers
When it comes to storing beans, many different types of storage options are suitable, including plastic canisters, stainless steel tins, and glass jars. However, make sure the container is airtight so that no oxygen gets to the beans or grounds.
Cool and dark location
The best place to store your coffee is in a dark location with low humidity. The fridge is not recommended for coffee storage, as extreme temperature changes can damage the natural oils in the beans. Also, avoid storing in cabinets that are frequently exposed to the sun.
This is one of those unique packages of coffee that comes in four different flavor profiles. The box contains whiskey barrel-aged coffee from distinct origins and specific roast levels. The malt whiskey profile is made of beans from Sumatra Lintong with a medium-dark roast that has tasting notes like vanilla, caramel, tropical fruits, and woody earth. In contrast, rye whiskey beans come from Ethiopia and are light roasts with acidic spice, redraw honey, and fruit notes.
Similarly, the Kentucky Bourbon option comes from Colombia and has a medium-dark roast with chocolate hazelnut and roasted nuts notes characterized by a bourbon finish. The fourth package, Thomas Tew RUM from Rwanda, is a medium roast with oak, caramelized sugar, red raisins, molasses, and vanilla notes. Thus, this is the perfect pack for trying a variety of coffee flavors or gifting your loved ones who are coffee enthusiasts. The manufacturer also offers a 100% money-back guarantee if the customer is displeased with the item.
The pack has 4 barrel-aged taste profiles to offer variety
Premium quality is guaranteed since the company only uses Grade 1 coffee
Well packaged in an attractive box set
Recommended by top Whiskey & Coffee Drinking blogs worldwide
If not prepared well, it has a harsh and bitter taste
Get your dose of instant caffeine with this Donut Shop medium roast 100% Arabica coffee. You can take it throughout the day because it has a sweet and smooth flavor that comprises hazelnut and brown sugar notes. If you are wondering whether it will be suitable for your brewing method, you need not worry as it is ideal for all coffee brewers. You will also be assured of premium quality coffee since Real Good Coffee has been around for more than 30 years, producing nothing but the best coffee from Central and South America.
Comes as a whole bean to allow you to grind it to your preferred size
Does not contain any artificial ingredients, preservatives, or additives
Blended coffee is more complex than a single profile, and this product offers you just that. It is made with the best coffee beans from Brazil, Guatemala, and Colombia. Since each has distinct characters, the mix yields a cocoa-toned result that is smooth and has low acidity.
The 100% Arabica coffee is GMO-free, so you can be sure that it is not toxic. Besides, natural sugars in the whole beans are caramelized to make the medium-dark coffee with a natural flavor and toastiness that leave your mouth with a pleasant aftertaste. This caffeinated, caramel-flavored coffee will be ideal for your daily use.
Comes in a resealable bag
Can be brewed using a french press, cold brew, drip, and hand drip method
If you are a coffee connoisseur who loves dark roast whole beans, this is the perfect fit. The roast is dark brown with no oil but balanced acidity and smooth taste. Its unique aroma is pleasant, while the flavor boasts notes like cocoa and cinnamon with a full body and long finish. Besides, it is 100% gluten-free Arabica coffee from various parts of the world, including Sumatra, Brazil, and Columbia, and is roasted in Florida. This is one of the best gourmet coffees known for its bold and smooth flavor.
100% Arabica coffee made from exotic raw beans from various origins
Has a great aroma and bold flavor
Exotic beans are roasted in small batches and shipped immediately to ensure freshness
Ideal for people with gluten intolerance since it is gluten-free
If the proper preparation ratio is not followed, it has a sour taste
If you are looking for medium roast whole coffee beans, this is the perfect product. It originates from Nicaragua and has roundly expressed acidity. It is well known for its deep and syrupy flavor with chocolate, aromatic wood, and almond notes. Besides, it has a sweet finish and orange aroma.
This product adheres to Kosher dietary rules. Since it is the whole bean, you can use it in batches by grinding what you need in a single brew cycle. However, it should be used for only two weeks after roasting, so ensure to buy enough to last you for that period.
100% Arabica coffee
Comes as whole beans that allow you to grind to your preference
Ideal for daily use
The manufacturer recommends it be used for two weeks after roasting
Requires grinding for every brewing cycle
Q: How does coffee get its flavor?
A: Coffee beans are roasted to bring out their natural flavor. Each bean has different variations in how it can be roasted, like light roast, medium roast, and dark roast, which affects the taste. The kind of roast affects flavor and taste.
Q: Which is the best between whole bean and ground coffee?
A: It all boils down to personal preference because some people love fresh whole beans that they will grind every time they need coffee. However, others love pre-ground options that tend to last for long. You should buy what best suits your needs
Q: Where do coffee beans come from?
A: While all coffee beans are grown in tropical regions, they can be sourced from different countries based on flavor profiles. For example, Central American coffee is light-bodied, while Eastern European coffee tends to be more nutty or earthy.
The Old House Journal Review Team’s product reviews and in-depth guides are here to help you restore, repair, update, and decorate your home. The content is created by The Old House Journal Review Team. The Old House Journal editorial staff is not involved. Old House Journal is reader-supported: When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.