For the people who love it, drinking coffee is about much more than simply satisfying a caffeine addiction and increasing alertness. Like wine grapes, the coffee bean has the ability to take on different flavors and aromas based on growing conditions such as soil and weather characteristics. At its best, drinking a cup of coffee can feel like taking a trip to a faraway place.
If you love making great coffee at home, you already know that the experience doesn’t end with the bean. Different roasts and grinds can help coffee beans to express different aspects of their flavors. The brewing method also plays an important role. Do you prefer a full-bodied French press coffee, or would you rather have a silky cup of cold-brewed coffee?
Whatever your preferred brewing method, some coffee beans are definitely better than others and is the reason I always check out the best coffee guides. This way I am sure to find the best coffees to brew at home. It all comes down to personal taste, but below are a few of our favorites.
Hawaii is the only state in the United States in which coffee is grown commercially. Although Hawaii has many growing regions, Kona — on the western slopes of the Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanoes — is the most famous. Kona coffee trees receive plenty of sunlight in the morning and often receive brief rain showers during the afternoon. The ideal growing climate and fertile, nutrient-dense volcanic soil couple to create healthy trees and large, flavorful coffee beans.
Kona coffee is famous for its sweet flavor and distinctive aroma. It has a medium body, subtle sweetness and very low bitterness. When buying Kona coffee, choose a light or medium roast for a flavor that truly expresses the characteristics of the region. A dark roast may be tasty, but a dark roast masks the flavor of the bean and negates all of the extra money you’re spending for premium coffee.
The Hawaii Department of Agriculture grades all Kona coffee beans based on factors such as regularity of size and shape and lack of defects. The top Kona coffee grade is #1 Extra Fancy. Look for the label “100% Kona” on the bag before buying; many “Kona” coffees are actually blends containing as little as 10 percent Kona coffee. To enjoy your Kona coffee, try the pour-over brewing method to allow the aroma to develop fully.
Although Indonesia has several coffee growing regions, most of the nation’s coffee hails from the island of Sumatra. The coffee farmers of Sumatra frequently process their beans using a wet hulling technique called Giling Basah. In the Giling Basah technique, machines use a combination of mechanical force and water to remove the beans from the coffee cherries. The technique results in a bean with a slightly higher water content before roasting than other coffee beans. Giling Basah — and Sumatra’s growing conditions — combine to create a coffee that’s very low in acid, full bodied and a bit funky on the palate.
When buying coffee from Sumatra, it is important to confirm the type of bean you’re getting. At higher elevations, coffee farms in Sumatra grow Arabica beans. Arabica is the bean that most coffee lovers prefer. Sumatran coffee grown at lower elevations may be Robusta. Robusta beans contain more caffeine and taste harsher. Most Robusta beans end up as instant coffee.
Do you like the convenience of a drip coffee maker with a paper filter? Sumatra coffee is the perfect match for your brewer. Paper filters trap some of the flavorful oils that give coffee its silky mouth feel. Sumatra coffee is a full-bodied bean that can compensate for the shortcomings of the drip brewing method.
Ethiopia is the home of Arabica coffee, and Ethiopia’s Yirgacheffe region is home to some of the world’s most distinctive beans. Yirgacheffe’s hilly coffee plantations produce beans that are intensely aromatic and exhibit delightful floral and citrus notes. Some of the factors contributing to the unique flavor of Yirgacheffe beans include the growing elevation — as high as 6,600 feet — and the wet processing method used to remove the beans from the coffee cherries.
It’s easy for Yirgacheffe coffee to lose its fruity and floral notes due to over-roasting or over-extraction. If you want to taste the flavors that make this region’s beans so unique, you’ll want to choose a light roast. To preserve the bean’s delicate tea-like flavors, try cold brewing. The low acidity resulting from cold brewing allows Yirgacheffe beans to express their subtle flavors more fully. Yirgacheffe coffee is also great with ice.
Jamaican Blue Mountain
Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is among the most famous — and most expensive — coffee in the world. Although not all people believe that the high price of Blue Mountain coffee is entirely justified, every coffee lover ought to try it at least once. The unique flavor of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee results from its uncommon growing conditions. The coffee trees grow at very high elevations — up to over 7,400 feet — and receive plenty of rain. The soil drains the excess rainfall quickly, so the trees stay healthy and produce exceptional beans.
Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is expensive due to its desirability and the fact that Jamaica exports the vast majority of all Blue Mountain coffee to Japan. The relatively meager amount of Blue Mountain coffee that makes it to the United States often ends up in blends with beans from other regions. If you’re fortunate enough to drink a cup of 100-percent Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, you’ll enjoy a brew that’s quite sweet with a bold flavor and almost no bitterness.
Since Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee doesn’t become bitter during the brewing process, it’s the perfect coffee for a full-flavored French press brew. The resulting coffee will have an assertive, pleasing taste and a creamy mouth feel.
Experiencing the World’s Best Coffees the Easy Way
You don’t need to be a coffee geek or have a collection of a dozen different brewers to enjoy the nuances of the world’s best coffees. A single-serving coffee maker uses disposable pods to provide delicious cups of coffee whenever you want them — with almost no effort.
Single-serving coffee has become so popular that you can find pods filled with coffee from virtually all of the world’s best growing regions — and since coffee pods are airtight, the grounds remain fresh for much longer than they would in a bag. Since many single-serving coffee makers allow you to adjust your brewing temperature, you can compensate for variations between coffees from different growing regions to bring out the beans’ characteristic flavors.
About the Author
Jason Artman is a professional freelance writer and the owner and author of eCig One. Jason works as a content author and SEO consultant for the world’s biggest vaping and CBD brands, specializing in the creation of informational content that generates powerful authority and brand awareness.