Have you ever been overwhelmed deciding which coffee to buy at the grocery store? When The Fresh Market moved into my neighborhood, I wanted to see the different coffee selections it offered. The store spends a great deal of square footage on coffee and it has invested a lot of capital towards coffee. Here are five tips to keep in mind when buying coffee at The Fresh Market.
1. I know it’s tempting, but stay away from coffee in the barrels. If you buy coffee from the barrels, it’s not the worst thing ever, but The Fresh Market offers so many better options. Coffee is a food product and, just like other foods, coffee starts to lose it’s flavor when it is exposed to light, air and heat. So, the barrels are not the best place to start.
2. Find the speciality coffee section. What I discovered was that the top row housed great coffee companies that have perfected roasting and make great coffee. For example: Intelligentsia, and Counter Culture were on the top rows of the coffee shelf.
3. If you are new to coffee or just want a good solid cup, make sure you buy a blend. A blend is a mixture of different regions of coffee and, normally, the roaster will craft a great, even cup of coffee. Here is a great tip. The roaster will classify the notes of the coffee to help you know what you are buying. This Counter Culture coffee, which I have never had before, seemed even and full because of the description by the roaster (caramel, nutty, round).
If you are adventurous, you can buy a coffee bean from a single origin source. This is something that you should move toward slowly, however. I know a lot of people who think coffee is coffee and then they drink a single origin and will never drink one again, due to its strong flavors. For example, this Intelligentsia coffee boasts of lime zest, black tea and crisp grape. After brewing the coffee, I can assure you that they were right! If you are new to coffee, this might not be the best selection. I would go for one of Intelligentsia’s great blends instead. Although it was surprisingly refreshing, this single origin selection would seldom be used at my house.
4.Good coffee should have a roasted date to let you know the freshness of the coffee. The closer you buy coffee to when it was roasted, the better it will taste. Its debatable when coffee actually goes stale, but your best best is to buy whole bean coffee within a 3 month window from when it was roasted.
Make sure you look at all the bags for the freshest roasts. Sometimes its a hunt, but it’s worth the endeavor.
5. Give the coffee a good smell. When you buy coffee, it should be sealed and have a one way valve where the carbon dioxide is being released from the beans from the roasting process. Give the bag a gentle squeeze and smell what you will be tasting.
I hit the jackpot! I found a coffee roasted less than one month old, from a solid company that has a great love for the coffee they produce.
Thanks, The Fresh Market, for supplying great coffee.