Coffee is one of the most loved beverages in the world. Not only is it consumed for its flavor and aroma, but also for its caffeine content, which has been shown to provide numerous benefits. The caffeine in coffee improves energy levels, and as a matter of fact, a lot of people around the world cannot function properly without starting their day off with a fresh cup of coffee. I could go on and on about how great coffee is, but if you’re already a coffee drinker, then you probably already know how essential it is in our daily lives.
- Coffee beans are actually the seeds from the cherry-like berries of the coffee plant.
- There are two main types of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta.
- Brazil produces the most coffee beans in the world.
- In the United States, only two states produce coffee commercially. These states are California and Hawaii.
- You can actually overdose on coffee, but it is improbable as you would need to consume 30 cups of coffee in a short period of time to even get remotely close to a lethal dose of caffeine.
- A cup of brewed coffee only contains one calorie!
Coffee Buying Guide
Do you want to level up your coffee game? Or do you just want to get the best coffee experience for your money? Well, here is a somewhat comprehensive guide on how to choose the best coffee.
- Whole beans vs. ground beans – Always go for whole beans. Coffee hates oxygen. Ground beans might sound convenient, but it starts to lose its flavor the second it is ground. The best-tasting coffee will always come from coffee beans that are ground right before use.
- Roast Dates – Forget about “Best Before” dates. When purchasing a bag of coffee, the date you should be looking at is the date the beans were roasted. The fresher the roast, the better the taste of the coffee. Beans taste best if they are consumed about a week after roasting up to a month. Longer than that and there will be a noticeable degradation in the coffee taste. Don’t get us wrong, coffee lasts a long time, but for the best-tasting coffee, just get enough for a couple of weeks per time.
- Roaster Identity – Coffee roasting is both an art and science. Each roaster has their own technique, machine calibration, and most of all, passion for their craft. Individual roasters try their best to be the best in the coffee community so you can be sure that each bean is roasted to a high standard. So the next time you’re out shopping for beans, look for coffee with an identity and not just some faceless company that sells beans.
- Origin – The newest trend in coffee is having single-origin beans. This provides coffee with a clearer identity and personality. The origin of the coffee beans will have a considerable impact on the flavor due to soil richness, climate, and a variety of other factors that are unique to each location.
- Hawaii – One of the two coffee producing states in the United States. Hawaii coffee, or Kona coffee, has a rich flavor with moderate floral aromatics due to intense sunlight and frequent rain showers on the island.
- Brazil – Coffee beans from Brazil are best used for espresso blends. The general profile of beans from Brazil have a heavy-bodied taste with peanut undertones.
- Colombia – Colombia has thousands of small coffee growers. Blends from Colombia are known for being mild, well-balanced with a hint of caramel sweetness, and has occasional nutty notes.
- Kenya – Kenyan coffee beans are usually grown in full sunlight without any shade. They are also processed using a type of fermentation soak. The combination of these two gives Kenyan beans a savory-sweet flavor notes of tomatoes and black currants.
- Indonesia – The well-known Java and Sumatran coffee blends come from Indonesia. Indonesian beans tend to have lower acidity than most other coffee types without sacrificing body.
- USDA Organic – This does not mean that the beans were necessarily grown in the United States. Having USDA Organic means that the growers are adhering to the standards set by the USDA.
- Growers manage their land to maintain and enhance local biodiversity.
- No pesticides, bioengineering, radiation, or artificial fertilizers are used.
- Traditional methods are done to control weed, pests, and maintain soil health.
- The growers minimize pollution to soil, air, and water.
- The main goal is to promote sustainable farming practices.
The way to get the best coffee beans is to shop locally. You can check out specialty grocers or independent coffee shops that roast their own beans. Buying from the roaster is always the best route to get fresh coffee that has been roasted with care.
If you have access to a local roaster, be sure to get their roasting schedule so that you know when and where to get freshly roasted beans.
Coffee Production & Farming in Texas
The climate in Texas does not lend well to commercial coffee production, but there have been studies done that may allow homeowners to grow their own coffee beans with a generous amount of work.
Having no local growers doesn’t mean that Texas doesn’t have good coffee. On the contrary, Texas has a lot of coffee roasters that roast some of the best coffee beans in the country. See, having good beans is only half the battle. The other half is the roaster skill. It is the roasting process that determines the final taste of the coffee and how the inherent flavors of the beans are pulled out and developed.
You will never run out of choices if you’re looking for artisan coffee and locally roasted coffee beans.
Conventionally grown coffee beans have been known to be full of pesticides like carbofuran and endosulfan. Not only that, but they also use hybrid plants that are hardier and can flourish in open sun. This increases soil runoff that carries away the chemicals that the coffee plants were treated with.
These are more than enough reasons to make sure that your roaster uses USDA organic certified growers as their bean sources.
Coffee beans are best packaged in storage bags with one-way valves to ensure that there is no gas build-up inside of the bag. Coffee beans are also packed in cans, but those are usually for bulk use and are typically not marketed towards home users.
There are a lot of ways in which coffee can be brewed and served. We would run out of space if we went through each one of those, but we will list them down, and we’ll explain the most popular methods.
- Espresso Machine, Traditional
- Handheld espresso maker
- Coffee bag
- Vacuum Pot
- Fresh Press
- Stovetop espresso maker
The best way to prepare coffee would be to use a traditional espresso machine. This extracts all of the flavors from the coffee bean and provides an excellent base for a wide range of coffee-based drinks. Espresso can be used with milk to make lattes, cappuccinos, and flat whites. Espresso can also be added to pastries to give it that intense coffee taste. Smoothies and ice blended beverages also use espresso to create a cold and refreshing beverage that has the kick of coffee.
The second most popular way of preparing coffee would be to brew it. Coffee can be brewed the traditional way with coffee pots or even newer gadgets like the Aeropress. The flavor of brewed coffee is less intense than that of espresso.
There are other ways of preparing coffee, like instant coffee and coffee bags, but those are in no way close to either brewed or espresso.
To store coffee beans properly, you need to keep four things away from your coffee beans. Light, Heat, Moisture, and Air. They are best stored in opaque, airtight containers, away from heat sources. It is worth noting that no matter how properly the coffee beans are stored, they will continuously change in flavor. This is the reason why it is very important to purchase just enough beans for a week or two.