Choosing good coffee beans has a lot more to do with art than with science. And those who know how to, will spare nothing just to find the best ones that money can buy. But why should you care? Coffee beans are just coffee beans, right? And coffee is just coffee. What's the big deal?
Well, if you're fond of the common supermarket variety of the aromatic pods, then chances are that you're right. It isn't such a big deal. But once you have tried the real deal you will understand why so many people go to such lengths just to find the perfect beans for the perfect cup of coffee.
So where do you start?
When it comes to good coffee, there's no better place to start than what the experts say is a good place to start. But make no mistake. Their words are no bible. However, they do give you some idea on how to go about taking your first tentative step towards genuinely good coffee.
First, you need to learn that freshly roasted and ground coffee beans are what make a superior cup of coffee. You can never go wrong with fresh beans. In fact, the underlying philosophy is: the fresher the beans, the better. Just try it and you'll be surprised to find how a few fresh ones can transform your favorite cup of java into a fantastic gastronomic experience.
Next, where do you find the freshest possible? You may get lucky and stumble upon a few bags in the supermarket. But if you want to be certain that you are getting fresh, good quality beans, then start at your local specialty or gourmet stores. The salespeople at these stores are usually very knowledgeable about coffee and helpful to the extent that they may allow you to taste before buying anything.
But how do you know if they're good?
Well, for one thing good quality beans are never splintered or broken. They should be whole and well-shaped. If you encounter a bin or bag of splintered or broken ones, then put it right back where you found it and look for another.
It's quite possible that you won't find any helpful salesperson around, especially if you're doing your shopping at a supermarket. If that's the case, then you have to learn to trust your own eyes and nose.
Okay, so now you know that good coffee beans are whole and well-shaped, but what about the smell? They smell good, period. That's all you need to know. It has to do with gut instinct, similar to how you'd know right away that the milk has gone sour when you smell it.
If you find some that have gone bad will smell just a bit off and you'll recognize that smell, even if you're a novice.
Founder of Atitlan Network