Selecting the right coffee beans
Date Posted:15 October 2013
This article will help you navigate the origins and styles of coffees that are best suited to your coffee equipment - plunger, percolator, filter, stovetop or espresso.
Certain brew methods work better with different types of coffee beans.
Our table below may help you choose the best type of coffee for your application.
|Brew Method||Quick Recommendation|
Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda,
Guatemala, PNG. Colombia
Colombia, PNG, some African coffees
(although Ethiopian beans may be too fruity)
Blends - try Mocha, Espresso, Barista
Single Origins - try Colombia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Guatemala, PNG,
(black - no milk)
Blends - 8 Ounces, Suuweet, Barista
Single Origins - Brazil, Sumatrans, Colombian, Rwanda, Panama, Kenya and some Ethiopians (fruity)
Blends - Centre Way, Suuweet, Espresso, Barista and Mocha
Single Origins - Generally speaking, most origins will work OK so long as you know how to dial-in your grinder and dosing.
Guatemala, Colombia, PNG, Costa Rica and El Salvador are all excellent choices.
Additional information explaining the reasons for the choices above is available by reading the remainder of this guide. We hope this assists you in selecting the right mycuppa.com.au coffee beans.
The first 2 key questions I would normally ask someone who is looking for assistance in selecting coffee is how they intend to brew or extract the coffee beans and whether milk is added.
First and foremost, the brew method is very important as the sort of coffees suitable in espresso machine may not entirely work in a plunger (or French Press).
The addition of milk to a coffee plays an important part in the coffee selection.
Black coffee drinkers do not like excessive acid and yet acid is an essential requirement for milk-based coffee beverages.
So let's start with the simple question - brew methods.
Believe it or not, you cannot grade coffee beans into classifications of strength - it's not a valid descriptor.
Strength of a coffee is directly related to the dose levels and brew efficiency - not the coffee bean.
So please - disregard all your pre-conceptions about beans having strength.
Now - to provide more flavour in a plunger infusion (or extraction) we would recommend coffees that exhibit more intensity with high flavour - such as African coffee beans from Kenya or Ethiopia, or the Colombia and Guatemala coffees.
Due to the brew method of plunger requiring longer contact with the ground coffee particles, the acidity levels are not as critical as in an espresso extraction.
Coffee beans with a long finish are best suited to plunger.
Again, it is necessary to look for coffees that have high flavour and long finish.
African and Colombia coffees tend to shine in the filter coffee brew.
Blends do not always work best in filter because the blends have been optimised for espresso (because it's a more popular brew/extraction method).
Personally, I like to use African coffees in a stovetop as the fruit and complexity tend to show through more with a stovetop espresso.
4. Espresso machine
Well, here the choices are only limited by personal preferences.
Espresso extraction requires absolute precision in grinding and dosing.
Espresso is where you can try just about any type of coffee and get some kind of result - assuming you have extracted the coffee correctly.
The second part of the coffee bean selection criteria deals with milk........with or without ?
5. Without Milk
For a black coffee to work as espresso, you need to have some good acid balance - look for lower acid coffees such as Brazil (neutral acid), Sumatra (low acid) and some of the Ethiopians like the Sidamo.
6. With Milk
Coffees with sparkling acidity provide a clean, refreshing cup when milk is added.
Our Colombian coffees tend to be slightly higher in acid.
Brazils work well with milk to deliver lots of milk-chocolate.
Guatemala has very high flavour with dark-chocolate.
El-Salvador provides a rich, long finish.
Costa Rica generates a nice, clean cup.
Nicaragua tastes like toffee.
PNG gives you tropical fruit and a hint of caramel.
India works supremely well in milk - the soft acidity creates a wonderful balance with lots of raisin and chocolate notes.
Ethiopians are fruity and can deliver a nice, berry finish.
African coffees can be intense and the fruit may not suit everyone.
7. Everyone loves Chocolate
In a general sense - most coffees can be separated by the following characteristic......
Does it give you chocolate or fruit (sometimes both - which can be amazing)
Women love chocolate notes in their coffees. It's a well-proven fact.
Chocolate can come from many different origins but if you want some fail-safe tips on generating chocolate in your milk-based espresso - try our Espresso blend and the Guatemala, Brazil, India and El-Salvador origins.
Chocolate notes in an espresso can be influenced by the way in which the coffee was roasted (by me).
I tend to roast just on the medium depth - which preserves the original character of the coffee bean and offers combinations of fruit and chocolate.
Darker roasts can have more caramel and malt - but lose the sweetness and sparkling acidity.
Rwanda gives some excellent Swiss-chocolate notes.
Guatemala gives dark chocolate.
Colombia gives cocoa.
Fruit can be a wonderful character in coffee.
It tends to suit the newer styles of brewing and extraction such as cold-filter or siphon and requires a lighter roast depth to preserve the original fruity aspects of the coffee bean.
Fruit can sometimes be overwhelming in the cup.
As an example, a lot of our natural processed (dry) Ethiopians have a fermented fruit character.
Extracting these coffees can be challenging, requiring advanced barista skills.
African coffees tend to have very high levels of fruit - some of the beans we source contain intense fruit.
The Yirgacheffe have more of the lemon citrus note.
Some of the Colombia Excelso coffee beans we source can provide a rich red berry infusion.
These are high-grade coffees with superb fruit.
Rwanda has more of an Orange or Tangerine finish with chocolate.
Kenya can have intense winey, berry, almost lemony grapefruit finish.
The fruity coffees have more intensity in the cup.
Brewing and extraction needs to be carefully managed with fruity coffee beans.