Buying Coffee 101

Buying coffee can be a confusing and difficult task. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming. Here are two tips you can use when looking for the best available coffee.

1. Coffee has a shelf life

It officially doesn’t have an expiration date,  but it does have a shelf life. Whole bean coffee stays fresh for up to 3 months after it is roasted.  Ground coffee, depending on how it is sealed, can go stale in less than a month. Most roasters place a “roast date” on its packaging, which will help you find the freshest possible coffee. Look for that date and pick the one that was most recent. You might have to look through a few, too. Its an extra step, but will make a huge difference!

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2. Coffee is best purchased in whole bean

Once the coffee is ground, its shelf life decreases significantly.  Buy whole bean coffee and grind what you need, when you need it. You know what this means? For the freshest cup, you have to buy a good grinder.  The best coffee grinder for the money is definitely the Baratza Encore, but more on that later.

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3. Types of Coffee

Coffee is sold either by region or is blended together from multiple regions.

Single origin- beans are sourced from the same country, area, or farm.

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Blends: A collection of coffee from different countries (ex. Brazil, Guatemala, Kenya, Timor).  Blends can taste less aggressive then a single origin and are a great start for new coffee drinkers.

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4. Coffee is roasted

Roasting is an extremely important part of the coffee process.  Roasting profiles change the taste of the coffee.  Coffee that is roasted dark will taste more smooth because the flavor is essentially burned out of the coffee.  The way you can tell how a coffee is roasted is by looking at the beans.  The longer the beans are roasted the sugars start to break down and oil develops on the surface of the beans.

If it is roasted too much, your coffee will taste like smoke and fire.

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The lighter the coffee is roasted, the more you will be able to taste the subtle, unique notes of the coffee.

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