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    Coffee beans are of course the basis of all cups of coffee. Thankfully, there are literally thousands of blends out there to choose from if you have a very particular taste in mind

    Or you may actually see this as a negative if you have no idea what to look for. From all of the different tastes and origins to the individual roasters and coffee requirements, there is a lot to take in, especially for someone buying their first-ever batch of beans.

    So, we have compiled a guide of some of our personal favourites below, as well as notes on their particular USP’s if you’re looking for something particular.

    Grab your coffee grinder and get ready to be taken on a journey of quality coffee…

    Our Top Picks

    The Best Coffee Bean Brands

    The Ultimate Coffee Bean Buying Guide

    How To Choose Your Coffee Beans

    Above, we have some of our favourites, and a pick for pretty much every flavour profile, method and preference. But how do you narrow it down to what you want?

    Ask yourself three simple questions – which method are you using, which flavours are you seeking and what kind of coffee drinker you are.

    Method

    • French Press – Medium to dark roast for a full bodied taste
    • Cold Brew – Light roasted, higher-acidity beans. Single origin is great for maximum taste. We have listed our favourites here
    • Espresso Machine – You want a dark roast for more flavour without milk and sugar
    • Pour Over/Drip – If you don’t add milk, choose an exotic single origin bean with stand-out flavour notes of your choice which will be intense
    • Pod Machine – You can’t use any of the beans above (unless you prepare your own pods using a fine ground). Look at our picks of the best Nespresso pods instead

    Any other method, such as bean to cup, is pretty flexible and can adhere best to your tastes

    Flavours

    • Fruity, Floral Exotic Flavours – Opt for light roast single origin coffee. Best drunk without milk and using a drip method
    • Full Bodied Coffee Taste – After the classic palate? Go for dark roast coffee. You are flexible with aftertastes, and can add milk
    • Fruity Picks – Something medium roast from Africa, or a speciality house blend, will likely give you this. You can choose between berries, citrus or floral picks

    Circumstances

    How do you drink your coffee? As mentioned above, if you use milk, a darker roast is best so the coffee flavours still emerge through the dairy. Anybody who needs something quick may be best buying pre-ground, and using a cafetiere or automatic coffee machine, so pick accordingly.

    When you drink the coffee can also have an impact. You may want an invigorating strong roast in the morning, but something more mellow with hints of caramel for a post-lunch perk.

    Grind Choice

    We have included this information because despite being a page for the Best Coffee Beans, you don’t necessarily have to buy them as beans.

    While we would always recommend buying beans and grinding them just before use, this does require a grinder or bean to cup machine, so it is easier for a lot of people to buy it pre-ground, even if it means it has to be used within ~two weeks.

    Capacity

    A 250g bag will give you around 15 cups. By this following, a 1kg bag will be enough for around 60 cups.

    Think about how much coffee you drink. Freshly roasted beans should ideally be used within a month, so if you are only partial to a coffee rather than drinking two or three per day, a small bag will be plenty.

    Origins

    There are two things to bear in mind here – country, and blend.

    Where the coffee bean was grown can have a big effect on taste. Ethiopian coffee has distinct fruity flavours, like berry, with floral notes. Guatemalan coffee has chocolate hints in the aftertaste, with nutty hues when being drunk. El Salvador coffee can see plum or red fruit.

    This isn’t to say your coffee will definitely have these flavours because of where they come from, but it is used as a good guide.

    The blend can either be single origin or house blend. Single origin means one bean, from one grower, so there will be a particular taste. A house blend is a mix of beans, usually from different countries, to create an overall taste.

    FAQs

    Why choose coffee beans?

    Why beans over the ready-ground coffee available in the supermarket? Surely that just means more faff and work for you?

    Well yes, there is a bit of grinding needed from you, but the closer a bean is ground to when it is used, the fresher it will taste. You can still buy most of the above beans pre-ground if you don’t have any access to a grinder, however.

    Buying the beans is also perfect for anyone who wants to grind to a particular level, or who uses multiple types of coffee maker and would require various grinds.

    Is there anywhere I shouldn’t buy coffee beans from?

    Not particularly. All we will say is that you should be wary of anywhere where freshness could be a possible issue, such as supermarkets or grocery stores where the beans could have been in storage for quite a while before being sold.

    Online, this could be any store which doesn’t give you the option of your beans arriving whole bean or pre-ground. Any coffee which is roasted/ground to order should feature a roasting date on the packaging so you can keep on top of the freshness.

    But in general, buying from a named brand such as an online coffee store or large supermarket will mean you’re getting quality, and they won’t have been sitting around long enough for their taste to be impacted anyway.

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