April 22, 2022 3 min read
Taste is a very subjective thing so one person's idea of a delicious tasting coffee may be very different from another's. Finding a coffee that you prefer can take a little work and you may need to understand a little bit of industry jargon, and a little of how coffee is processed to become confident in choosing coffee you'll really enjoy
We usually distinguish between two main types of coffee beans:
Within these types there is a variety of different flavours, qualities and roast profiles. It's a good idea to try a few of each type, including blends to work out your preference.
There are so many amazing coffee roasters, you could try coffee from a new one every week for years and years. Some tips on finding the ones worth spending your money on:
Where the coffee comes from, and the terroir is a strong indicator of how it is likely to taste. Try coffees from a range of different countries and growing regions to find out what you like. You should also pay attention to the tasting notes, or flavour profiles listed by the roastery as these will also help you narrow down the types of coffees you prefer.
In general, one can say that coffee from East Africa is often fruity, intense and has a lot of freshness and acidity. Coffee from India and Brazil is often more rustic with flavours of nuts and chocolate, while coffee from Colombia and Central America is often sweet with a little freshness and fruitiness.
How long and at what temperature the coffee beans are roasted during production also has a great impact on the taste. This is often referred to as the roast profile, and we usually distinguish between dark and light.
Dark roasts are bitter and powerful, while light roasts tend to be grassier, with light acidity and fruit/floral notes.
Most often, when a coffee is given a strength rating, it relates more to the roast profile than anything – dark roasts are referred to as stronger due to their increased bitterness and body.
In addition to the level of roasting, you may want to check the roasting date on the beans, as roasted coffee has a limited shelf life. As the coffee ages the oil and fats that give coffee its pleasant taste will oxidize, and you risk a stale, ashy tasting coffee.
The coffee is best within six weeks after roasting, so if roasteries give a 'best before' date, rather than a roasting date it may be best to avoid buying from them in favour of freshness.
If you're looking for more help choosing coffee and finding the right fit for you why not speak to your local roastery or specialty coffee shop? In these places you have a much wider selection and the chances are greater that you will find just your personal favourite coffee, as well as receiving some expert, tailored advice.