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Selecting The Best Tasting Coffee On The Market In 2024

mycuppa helps you choose the best tasting coffees in 2024

Selecting The Best Coffee Beans in 2024

We have written this post to help you buy the best coffee beans online for your machine and drinking preference.

Blends Vs Single Origins

When starting out on your coffee journey, trying to make some sense of the many virtues in comparing a blend to a single origin can be confronting.

Researching the answer online may lead to clarity and indecision. Most content must be factually correct and relies upon old-fashioned myths about blends using cheap commodity coffees to keep the price or costs lower.

Today, coffee in Australia is too competitive with 2,300+ brands - you can't just play around with a product's quality by using cheap, low-grade beans, hoping to lower the costs.

You won't get away with it—short-term thinking is unsustainable for a brand's survival.

Only companies with a "locked-in" customer base can play at the bottom of the quality scale.

The fact is that blends are often more expensive to develop and maintain than single origins, yet single origins still command a price premium in the retail side of the market.

Single-origin coffees are coffees from a solitary estate or part of an estate not blended or mixed with other coffees.

Trying single-origin coffees is useful as there may be something you enjoy immensely. In contrast, blends are typically crafted to be rich, smooth, and creamy, with minimal acidity, fruitiness, or complexity.

In the early days of your coffee journey, buying blends is recommended to build up your skills and expertise in extracting and brewing the coffee.

Blends are easier to work with than single origins, especially in the more popular espresso category.

Single origins can sometimes be difficult or frustrating to "dial in" the grind and dose for espresso extraction.

Some single origins can also require significant adjustment of the grinder settings to prevent choking or gushing of the espresso shot.

For these reasons, it's suggested to stick with blends until the expertise and experience of using your espresso equipment develops to a point when you are confident of being able to adapt the gear to suit the nuances of the single origin.

Much has been written about blends using cheap "filler" or buffers.

Those are urban myths from 20 years ago, before the dawn of specialty coffees. Modern coffee blends are dynamic, evolving and optimising to suit the variable nature of the changing raw/green coffee lots.

Our mycuppa blends are created using the same origins we sell in our store - we don't have enough room in our warehouse to hold a secondary range of coffees for blends.

That means we use precisely the same coffees in our blends as you can purchase in our store single origins. The only secret is which of those coffees appear in our blends.

Another important point to understand about blends is that they always change.

Once upon a time, long ago in the coffee world, it was almost a religious belief that coffee should taste the same, year after year.

Unfortunately, like many urban myths published about coffee, it's impossible to achieve a consistent flavour or cup profile for coffee blends every year.

To appreciate why blends are always changing, consider a common four-bean blend. It has four different coffees that could be from entirely different areas of the world, e.g. Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, and Costa Rica.

Most coffee origins have at least one and sometimes two harvests per year. So, taking the above example, we are faced with seven different harvests if we assume a single crop from Costa Rica and two crops from the others.

That's seven changes in 12 months. Each crop and harvest will be different due to the nature of agricultural growing conditions.

There are also inter-harvest variations - early, mid and late harvests will yield different tasting fruits (cherry); the early harvest may have a higher portion of unripe cherries and taste a bit "green"; the late harvest might have over-ripe cherries and taste sour.

You can see now that coffee is changing literally every couple of months, so it's impossible for a blend to taste the same throughout the year.

OK, a coffee company purchased a single lot from each origin in higher volume. That's enough to last a full year.

Then you will have a closer chance, but even raw green coffee changes over time, so the acidity and vitality of the coffee in their warehouse before it's roasted will deteriorate with age.

Single origins allow you to broaden the taste and sensory experiences of coffee by indulging in the characteristics of the coffee bean as it was harvested and processed by the farmer.

Blends give you a safety net with both the brewing equipment and the taste profile, which is more in the centre, which most coffee consumers prefer.

Where to Buy the Best Coffee Beans

For the best coffee, use freshly roasted coffee beans.

You can't compare a pack of 3-week-old coffee to something just a few days old - would you eat stale bread or drink old milk?

Judging a coffee to be "best" is risky.

Coffee has hundreds of different flavour compounds and taste elements, so awarding a coffee the "best" title is impossible.

A person might consider it not to their liking or preferences, whereas another might think it's perfect.

Humans have variable tolerances to the characteristics of coffee - it's always changing. For example, someone might think the flavour is too strong or intense, while another believes it's too weak.

Some like fruity, others like Chocolate, and others might prefer nutty, caramel, vanilla, etc.

Even when armed with the best coffee beans that are freshly roasted, it's then up to the consumer to extract the flavours and essence from the coffee beans into a brew ratio they find appealing.

Having the best coffee beans will not automatically result in the best brew; it takes a skilled technique to convert quality coffee into a delicious-tasting beverage.

Local Roasters & Online Roasters: What factors are important when choosing one?

It's always difficult, or impossible, to know how often a coffee company roasts coffee.

Typically, coffee companies primarily engage in the supply of cafes, roasting only a few days per week, then focus on distributing and delivering to their customers.

Online suppliers tend to roast in smaller batches and more often.

It comes down to the company's philosophy, the size of their coffee portfolios and the scale of their business.

Mycuppa roasts five days a week, which, on average, is twice as often as most wholesale providers.

Mycuppa needs to roast so frequently because of the large range of coffees offered and the unpredictable customer ordering patterns. Mycuppa can't predict or second guess what will be ordered on any day; hence, mycuppa roasts around 20 to 25 different coffees every day, five days a week.

Scale or size also plays a factor.

For instance, mycuppa ships over 2 tons of freshly roasted coffee every week around Australia; often, it's a battle to keep up with the demand for popular coffees like Suuweet, Barista and Espresso that are roasted daily.

Local roasters may look to offload aging stock. Therefore, it's important to ensure you are buying fresh roasted coffee, not something they have not been able to sell for one or many weeks.

How to Pick the Best Coffee Beans for Your Taste

What's Your Brewing Method

Some brewing methods can extract higher flavour, body, acidity, sweetness, fruit and finish.

Espresso is a technically challenging brewing system requiring optimal roasting, grinding, dose, temperature, and pressure to extract the correct dissolved solids from the coffee beans.

With such narrow tolerances, espresso can be a knife-edge of disappointment or joy.

Espresso can produce exceptionally high solids in the brew - flavours, sweetness, acidity, body and finish are all enhanced when everything works well during the extraction.

Pure espresso, which has not had either water or milk added, can exhibit high acidity, and the taming of this acidity leads to complex flavours residing in the cup.

Generally, lower acid coffees like Monsoon Malabar, Brazils, Sumatrans, and naturally processed Ethiopians will respond better to short-black espressos.

Adding milk weakens the espresso shot and disperses acidity.

In Australia, more than 90% of espresso extractions tend to have milk added, so in this case, it's useful to look for higher acid coffees like Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, PNG, and Costa Rica as the acids will work well to keep the sweetness in the cup.

Plunger

Believe it or not, you cannot grade coffee beans into strength classifications - it's not a valid descriptor.

Coffee is not traded or sold by farmers or brokers based on "strength" - in fact, the strength of coffees is relatively similar in terms of the caffeine levels present.

The strength of a coffee is directly related to the dose levels and brew efficiency - not the coffee bean.

In other words, coffee is just an ingredient, like flour, and what you do with the ingredient determines the resultant outcome.

So please - disregard all your pre-conceptions about beans having strength.

Now, to provide more flavour in a plunger infusion (or extraction), we recommend coffees that exhibit more intensity with higher flavour (and by default acids) - such as African coffee beans from KenyaEthiopiaColombia and Guatemala coffees.

Due to the brew method of plunger requiring longer contact with the ground coffee particles and lower pressure levels to release the "coffee oils", the acidity levels are not as critical as in an espresso extraction.

Coffee beans with a long finish are best suited when wanting a plunger or the best filter coffee beans

The term "after-taste" refers to the finish or persistence of a flavour.

Filter/Drip

Again, looking for coffees with high flavour and a long finish is necessary.

African and Colombian coffees tend to shine in the filter coffee brew.

Alternatively, a PNG or Guatemala might also give great results.

Blends may only sometimes work best in the filter as blends have been optimised for espresso (due to espresso being a more popular brew/extraction method).

That's not to say blends won't work, but the characteristics of the cup will be more balanced and smooth.

Stovetop

Some blends, like our Barista Blend and Espresso Blend, work well in Stovetop (or Moka Pot).

The stovetop works similarly to espresso machines, albeit with longer contact time and lower pressures.

I prefer to use African coffee on a stovetop as the fruit and complexity show through more with a stovetop espresso. At the same time, the acids are more muted, producing a nicer balance than espresso extraction.

Colombia, PNG and Guatemala all work well - coffee with a rich infusion will perform well on the stovetop.

Espresso machine

When it comes to espresso - whether it's milk-based or black, the choices are only limited by personal preferences.

For espresso to generate the right result, extraction requires absolute precision in grinding and dosing.

Even the slightest deviation of grind or dose will produce a less desirable result.

The key to espresso extraction is to slow down the shot flow to the slowest possible rate - like honey, by increasing the flow resistance of the water via finer grind and higher dose levels (easier).

We suggest finding the choke point where the flow is almost "dripping" and then backing it off slightly via a micro-less dosage.

Espresso is about creating resistance using both grind and dose.

If the pour is too fast, then oils from the coffee, which are the flavours, will be low. This is why having a "tight" espresso extraction is important.

The risks of over-extraction are not as bad as under-extraction, so we aim for a tighter shot.

Please don't use high tamp pressure to increase the espresso shot resistance. By tamping harder, you will inevitably end up with compaction and channelling, leading to uneven extraction and weak and poor espresso brew.

Tamping is only to ensure an even and level pack of grounds, not to alter the shot dynamics.

Espresso is where you can try just about any coffee and get some results - assuming you have extracted the coffee correctly.

The second part of the coffee bean selection criteria deals with milk.

Without Milk

For a black coffee to work as an espresso, you must have a good acid balance and a good espresso shot.

We suggest looking for lower acid coffees such as Brazil (neutral acid), Sumatra (low acid) and some Ethiopians like the Sidamo.

The lowest-acid coffee in our portfolio is Monsoon Malabar.

Please be aware it has a rather pungent aroma and spicy notes that some people may find unpleasant or unusual. Still, it's also powerful and nuanced - customers who like this coffee won't drink anything.

Monsoon Malabar requires an extremely fine grind setting (almost like powder) due to the lack of bean density. The coffee beans underwent the monsooning process, which involves drying before roasting.

Colombians and PNG can also work well with blacks, as do the Burundi and Mexicans.

With Milk or Dairy Alternative

When you add milk to coffee with sparkling acidity, it results in a clean and refreshing cup.

Typically, Central American coffees from Guatemala, NicaraguaEl-SalvadorHonduras and Costa Rica provide superb examples of milk-based espresso coffees.

Our Colombian coffees tend to be slightly higher in acid.

I tend to favour certain Colombians that exhibit a bright and lively cup profile - the Excelsos, rather than the smoother Supremos that can be dull.

Brazil works well with milk to deliver lots of milk chocolate.

Guatemala has a very high dark chocolate flavour.

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.

Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania deliver very high flavour and acid - making them perfect milk-based partners.

If you are in doubt - go for a Guatemala, Colombia or PNG if you enjoy a more rounded and balanced cup of milk.

African coffees can be intense, and the fruit may only suit some.

Everyone loves Chocolate

The following characteristics can generally distinguish coffee.

Does it produce a chocolate or fruit taste? Sometimes, it may have both, particularly with Ethiopian coffee - 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 Coffee and the Guatemala, Brazil, India and El-Salvador origins.

When roasting coffee, the chocolate notes in espresso can be influenced. I prefer to roast on medium depth, which preserves the original character of the coffee bean and offers a combination of fruity and chocolatey flavours.

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.

Brazil and El Salvador provide milk chocolate.

Fruity-Tutti.

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.

For example, many of our naturally 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.

Ethiopia coffee varieties from Sidamo, Limu, and Harrar have a stronger berry note.

The Yirgacheffe have more of a 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 an intense winey, berry, almost lemony grapefruit finish.

The fruity coffees have more intensity in the cup.

Brewing and extraction need to be carefully managed with fruity coffee beans.

Our Best-Seller Coffee Beans For Sale

Suuweet is our most popular coffee and has been for over a decade.

It's also the same coffee we supply to select premium cafes around Australia.

There's a balance and refined richness to Suuweet that makes it an enduring favourite coffee for our customers.

It's designed for milk-based espresso drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, and flat whites - the most popular coffee choices among Australian coffee drinkers.

It's roasted every day, five days a week.

Suuweet flies out the door every day; we struggle to keep up.

Perfect for any time of the day.

Dominant notes of salted caramel and dark Chocolate.

Centre Way is a special blend created to stand out from the crowd.

Its deep body, complex flavours, and long finish produce a memorable coffee experience.

Centre Way changes every 6-8 weeks as we utilise the best seasonal lots from our large portfolio of quality specialty-grade coffees.

We sell a lot of Kenyan.

We sell more than any other coffee company in Australia.

Many coffee companies won't sell Kenyans because they are expensive - 2 or 3 times the price of decent lots from other origins.

We source some of the highest-grade Kenyans landing in Australia. We fresh roast them daily, and they ship fast to your door all across Australia.

Kenyans are strong, bold and powerful.

We offer a highly-flavoured Arabica coffee renowned as the strongest in the world.

Our Kenyan coffees boast an array of complex flavours such as dark chocolate, black currant, lime acids, and licorice.

No matter your preference, we are confident that we have the best single-origin coffee beans for you, which can be delivered straight to your door quickly and efficiently.