Most of us find it tough to get up in the morning without that perfect cup of joe. Since always buying your coffee out can really add up, you need to find the right blend you can easily make at home–whether it’s ground coffee or whole bean. Finding that perfect blend can be tough–you have to decide between light, medium, or dark roast, determine if you want a plain or flavored coffee, and select flavors from a variety of regions of the world.
Today, we are going to teach you how to select the right coffee for you based on factors including flavor, caffeine level, and price. Read on to discover this year’s most popular coffees on the market!
How to Choose Ground and Whole Bean Coffee – Buying Guide
Let’s get started on picking the best whole bean or ground coffee for you, based on a few key points.
Choose Based on Which Coffee Making Tools You Have
This step isn’t the most intuitive, as most people would start with which flavor they prefer. However, if you don’t have the right tools, you won’t enjoy drinking coffee as much as you should.
Choosing Coffee: High Level of Freshness, or Convenience?
If you’re into ground coffee, and you like your coffee that way, then please stick with that. However, if you’re up for a little adventure, think about buying whole bean instead. Why? Well, typically whole bean coffee will be cheaper, and nothing can beat the taste or aroma of freshly ground beans.
In order to enjoy your beans, however, you’ll need a coffee grinder. For this, there are two main kinds: burr and blade. Blade is what most people have, and it’s fine, but sometimes the beans can lose their flavor a bit with this method. Burr grinders are what most coffee professionals recommend. It is manual, though, meaning that you’ll spend more time grinding your beans.
Ground Coffee: The Alternative for Those With Less Time
If you’re not moved by the prospect of fresher-tasting coffee, or you’re always short on time, then your next step is picking the freshest, best ground coffee. When buying, focus on the size of the bag you get. Grounds go dull faster than whole beans, so don’t buy a big bag unless you’ll drink it all quickly. Look also at the “Best By” date.
When buying ground coffee, pay attention also to the instructions on the bag. Each blend will have unique instructions on how the coffee should be stored (please don’t put it in the freezer!), how much coffee you should use per how much water, and which style the particular coffee is best for (espresso, French press, drip, etc). Fine grind is better for espresso, while coarse is best for French press, and so on.
Choose According to Your Taste
And now here’s the step you were probably anticipating from the beginning. Once you’ve determined whole bean or ground, you’ll need to find the taste that suits your preference.
Look at Blend vs. Single Origin, and Region
The first step in picking a flavor you like is a bit complex. You’ll want to look at two things: region (where the coffee came from), and blend versus single origin. Each region produces coffee with distinct flavors. Coffee from Java, for example, is low in acidity with a strong body, while Indian coffees are typically smooth and mild, and coffees from Latin America often contain notes of chocolate and nut.
The second thing to look for, blend vs. single origin, is an aspect many people are not aware of. The difference is like this: blends are composed of a combination of coffee from various regions. Some blends are regional, while others are more diverse (such as Mexican, Ethiopian, and Bolivian). Single origin coffee, of course, comes from just one region. The unique characteristics of each single-origin coffee are very present, making this coffee perhaps better for coffee snobs. Since neither blend nor single-origin is inherently better, you’ll have to play around to see which you like best.
Roast Time Determines the Acidity Level
Quiz time: Did you know that roast time determines the acidity level of your coffee? The more acidic, the brighter your coffee tastes. As you roast your coffee, it loses its shine and bitterness seeps in. Of course, you can drown out this bitterness with milk and sugar, but if you have a sensitive palate, maybe don’t go for pitch-black.
Generally, coffees that have been roasted for less time have stronger acidity levels. These include light roast, medium roast (also called “city roast”) and most cinnamon coffees. You can enjoy all of these black, or they make great Americanos.
Darker roast coffees are less acidic, with stronger body. French roasts are great with milk, so they make the ideal café au lait. Full-bodied Italian roasts make great espressos with their strong taste. Overall, pay attention to the roast because it will change the taste of the coffee.
Before Trying New Brands, Ask the Grapevine
You can stare at brands and colors all day long–but at the end of the day, all you can do to know if you like a coffee or not is to try it. If you waltz into a shop, you can lose yourself in the aroma; on the internet, not so much. So if you’re looking to try a new coffee, scroll through the reviews.
There’s no universal, ideal coffee, so don’t look at something simplistic, like “I didn’t like it.” Rather, go specific. See how acidic the coffee is, how strong the caffeine level is, and whether it makes a good café au lait. If you have a sweet tooth, look for glowing reviews from other sweets lovers; if you like your coffee dark as pitch, seek out descriptions of bitterness.
Make Your Selection Based on How You Take Your Coffee
After you’ve selected what flavor profile you think you’ll like best, don’t forget to consider how this blend will pair with the way you like to drink your coffee–such as with cream and/or sugar, and hot or iced.
Adding Milk or Sugar Will Change the Taste
You know this fact pretty well, but it’s still worth saying. French roast coffees make great café au laits, whereas other blends don’t pair so well. Lighter roasts don’t often make for good Cuban coffees. If you add a lot of cream and sugar, consider sticking with darker roasts when you make your purchase.
Hot or Iced? Different Blends are Better for Different Temperatures
Did you know? Coffee’s taste changes based on whether it’s hot or iced. Below, we primarily talk about coffees best for hot brews. If you’re a fan of cooler coffees, just keep in mind that low-acid, medium roasts are typically better for iced coffee.
Top 10 Best Whole Bean and Ground Coffees to Buy Online
We come now to our recommendations, based on popularity and the pointers that we’ve just discussed.
10. Starbucks Veranda Blend
Price: From $6.98
Light but Strong Coffee to Help You Slow Down and Focus
If you’re looking for a coffee with a light taste and color that will still slap you awake, this coffee is for you. And don’t worry–lighter coffee does not necessarily mean less caffeine. The short roast time of this blend means that you’ll savor more notes of cocoa and lightly toasted nuts, perfect for the start of day or a nice evening on the porch.
Although a bitter taste plagues many of Starbucks’s darker roasts, that’s definitely not true of the Veranda. The nostalgic art of relaxing on the porch, surrounded by friends and with nowhere to go and nothing to do, inspired the name of this blend. Even if enjoying a cup of Veranda at your desk, you’ll be sure to savor the relaxing flavor and aroma of this masterfully created blend.
9. Jo Coffee’s Wild Jo Dark Roast
Price: From $10.99
Intense Flavors Perfect for a Quick Boost
For the environmentally conscious, Jo’s is a real catch – all their coffee is USDA Certified Organic and Fair Trade Certified. So with each cup you enjoy, you’re also supporting sustainable harvesting practices and fair treatment to farmers and workers.
The taste of the coffee itself is intense – in a very, very good way, but if you’re new to coffee you might want to make small cups at first. With notes of dark cocoa and dark brown sugar, you’ll wake up in a jiffy every time. The coffee typically comes in a very coarse ground–which, while it’ll work for any coffee maker, is best suited for French presses. Smooth with a rich, full flavor, this coffee works for late-night study breaks or early-morning runs to the office!
8. Caribou’s Daybreak Blend
Price: From $6.99
Smooth, Light Roast to Start Off Your Day Gently
Known for selecting some of the world’s best beans (the top 1%, in fact), Caribou did a fantastic job creating a light, gentle roast that still gives you that perfect caffeine kick in the early morning. Classified by some Caribou fans as “bright and tangy,” the Daybreak blend provides a little extra ray of sunshine even in the cold days of winter.
If you’re looking for a roast that won’t overpower you with its aroma or flavor, the Daybreak is the perfect blend for you. Similar to the Veranda Blend, the Daybreak epitomizes the typical Starbucks vs. Caribou feud in parts of the U.S. If you’re a fan of light roast coffee, try both and see which one comes out on top for you! We think Daybreak is lighter and slightly less acidic than the Veranda blend.
7. Koffee Kult Dark Roast
Price: From $26.99
Earth-friendly Coffee to Wake You Up Quick
A family-opened operation, Koffee Kult lends greater attention to detail than larger competitors, leading to greater benefits to you, the highly discerning coffee drinker. Although all their blends are fantastic, we recommend the Dark Roast because of its exceptionally smooth, clean taste. Laced with bright notes of cinnamon, the aroma of this blend is sure to bring a satisfied smile to your face!
Koffee Kult is also an environmentally-friendly organization, with their beans both organically sourced and fairly traded. The beans for the dark roast blend come from Colombia, Sumatra, and/or Guatemala, some of the world’s finest coffee regions. With Koffee Kult’s attention to detail and beans sourced from some of the world’s best coffee farmers, this is one coffee you won’t be able to stay away from.
6. Tim Horton’s Original Blend
Price: From $15.99
A Classic Flavor Profile You Can’t Go Wrong With
For those who’ve become coffee skeptics due to the often bitter and somewhat acidic flavor of Starbuck’s darker roasts, Tim Hortons is the perfect remedy, as it offers full-bodied flavor without any bitter aftertaste.
Perhaps what’s best about this coffee is that it’s ideal for everyone ranging from coffee skeptics to the coffee-obsessed, as it also doesn’t have that excessive amount of caffeine that makes you jittery–a rare find in a good cup of strong coffee. Smooth with a hint of cocoa, Tim Hortons is the perfect pick-me-up for any time of day. If you’re new to coffee, I recommend you start with this blend as it won’t be too strong to scare you away from coffee.
5. Café Bustelo
Price: From $17.85
Classic, Versatile Coffee to Please Any Crowd
Cafe Bustelo is the favorite coffee for many, so of course no top 10 list could be complete without it. It comes in both ground and whole bean, and its ground forms come as small as a 10 oz brick or as large as a 36 oz party tin. Bustelo also offers iced canned coffee, for those looking for a colder treat.
The company’s intention to appeal to a global audience does mean the coffee has a much milder flavor than you’ll find with other roasts. If you’re a coffee aficionado you may be less than impressed, but you can’t deny this is a solid cup of joe. Try it on its own as a traditional cup of coffee, or throw a small amount in an espresso maker and blend with sugar for the best Cuban coffee outside of Miami (or Havana).
4. Death Wish’s Valhalla Java Odinforce Blend
Price: From $15.99
Higher Caffeine Content for Coffee Junkies
Named after the Norse god Odin, this powerful coffee will give you the right boost to start your Monday morning off just right. Death Wish is special in that it uses robusta beans. Hard to come by (and usually not preferred because of their more bitter taste), robusta beans have significantly more caffeine than their arabica counterparts–so maybe start out drinking smaller cups.
Fair Trade and USDA Organic, you’re helping sustainable coffee farming practices with each purchase of this coffee. Bold but smooth, and with an unforgettable aroma, this coffee will get you through even the toughest days when you’re running around on little sleep. The coffee’s notes are both nutty and chocolatey, helping you to wake up quickly with the most pleasant of smells.
Price: From $10.98
Smooth Medium Roast With Love from the Caribbean
Yaucono is a coffee you can think of as Bustelo’s less famous little cousin, although its rich flavor profile indicates it should be just as well-known. If you’ve been to Puerto Rico, where Yaucono was born, you know you can’t leave the island without trying this coffee. The beans for every bag are toasted to perfection, giving you the perfect cup of coffee to warm up even the coldest morning.
Smooth and perfectly balanced, there’s a reason why they say in Puerto Rico “One taste and you will know, the best coffee is Yaucono!” Yaucono also comes in a variety of styles – instant, espresso, decaf, and regular – and sizes, although online, you’ll typically find just the 8 oz bags that you can buy in threes to save a bit on the price.
2. Gevalia’s Colombia
Price: From $6.48
Full-bodied Coffee to Get You Through the Week
Founded in Sweden and currently based in Amsterdam, Gevalia became a global brand through its careful sourcing of beans and impressive roasting techniques. Colombian coffee beans are known to be superior to many others in Latin America, a fact evidenced in each cup you’ll make from this smooth, well-balanced coffee.
As a medium roast, these beans were roasted just a bit longer to bring out a touch of winey notes and a sparkling flavor that make up a full-bodied cup of coffee—a perfect pick-me-up for that mid-week slump. Not only is it rich, it’s also economical; needing only about 1 tablespoon per 6 oz of water, one bag of this coffee will last you longer than many of its competitors.
1. Peet’s French Roast
Price: From $8.98
Warm Aroma Perfect for Chilly Evenings
Although Peet’s boasts several delicious blends, we recommend the French Roast because it gives you that full-bodied flavor without too much acidity. Whether you take it first thing in the morning or mid-day, the comforting aroma will help push you through the day.
A longer, hotter roast gives these beans their more intense flavor profile–both dark and smoky. Packed with flavor, this blend is ideal for those who seek a powerful and pleasant taste. This coffee isn’t overpowering, but if you’re nervous, you can always combine it with a healthy helping of cream and sugar. Even with these extras added, the pleasant taste and aroma of this masterful blend are sure to come through.
Each roast of coffee has its own strong points–be it in its aroma, caffeine level, or taste. For the best chance at finding the right coffee, experiment and see what you like best!
Have you found your favorite coffee blend yet? Be mindful to not drink even the least acidic coffee on an empty stomach, and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the perfect cup of joe!
So, you’re craving jelly beans. We understand–good beans are irresistible. You’re looking for that initial crunch, followed by sweet, delectable gooeyness. You’re looking for your favorite flavors–the sunny intoxication of pina colada, maybe, or the sour fizz of lemon. And are we the only ones that find jelly beans utterly adorable? (Pour a few in a Mason Jar, and you’ve got interior design, right there.) The ultimate pack of jelly beans, we think, has got it all: texture, taste, and appearance. But with all the different brands–no, it’s not just Jelly Belly–and variety out there, how can you be sure that you’re really chewing on the best? Let’s get in-depth about these gelatinous beans. How to Choose Jelly Beans – Buying Guide You probably snacked on these as a kid without a care in the world. But, the truth is, there’s a certain way to go about looking for jelly beans. So, this time around, we asked the Candy Critic for his take on what makes a good bean. Invalid Short Code. There is not profile. Please write expert_id = 8 comment.
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