What are the best types of coffee beans for beginners?
If you’re taking your first steps into the world of coffee, the wide selection of beans, brewing methods, and terms like roast levels might seem very confusing, but the best place to start when you’re on the road to becoming a coffee enthusiast is with the beans. This guide will provide key insights into how beginners should choose their beans as well as some examples of specific beans that we sell that are great for those who are new to coffee.
What to consider when choosing your beans
There are several factors you will want to think about before you decide on which beans are right for you.
If you’re new to coffee the first thing you need to know is that there are two main species of bean under which all bean varieties will be categorised. These are Arabica and Robusta. Arabica beans are probably the better known and more popular in terms of the quality of brew they create, but this does mean they come with a slightly higher price tag. Robusta beans come from a robust crop and are ideal in terms of functionality.
You’ll get a strong hearty coffee from Robusta beans, but for beginners who are in the early stages of their coffee journey Arabica beans will likely be the preferred option. The flavours will be milder with more emphasis on aromatics and these beans will be less bitter than Robusta too, which is better for a less seasoned palette.
Origins of the bean
Where a coffee bean comes from has a big impact on the flavours, aromas, and acidity they will have. This in turn will influence what level they should be roasted to (more on roasting later on) in order to maintain and bring out the best in the natural characteristics of the beans from where they were grown.
Broadly speaking, there are three main regions where the majority of coffee beans originate from: Latin America, Africa, and Indonesia/Pacific Island region. The coffee growing condition in each region ensures each bean variation has a unique profile that will suit a wide range of preferences. As a beginner you will want to do your research into the characteristics of the beans in different regions so you can get an idea of the flavours that will suit your preferences best.
Roast level of the beans
Another factor that plays a strong role in a beans characteristics is the level of roast it has. There are three types of roast, light, medium, and dark, and any bean from any region can be roasted to any level. However, some roasts will be better suited to certain beans depending on where it is grown. The roast level you choose will likely come down to the type of coffee flavours and textures you feel you’ll prefer and the style of coffee you are brewing.
For example, if you know you like and want to prepare an espresso, this beverage works best with a dark roast. If you would rather have a coffee that isn’t as strong in coffee flavour, which is quite probable if you’re a beginner, then a medium or light roast and a milkier beverage like a latte might be a better option for you.
Brewing method of the beans
A lot of beginners overlook this factor when thinking about what beans to choose for their coffee, but how you intend to prepare your brew should be at least part of your consideration for your beans. Take a look at some general guidance for a few brewing methods below:
- French press – coarsely ground medium and dark roast beans are good for use in a French press.
- Pour over coffee – you can’t go wrong with a good quality single origin bean in a medium to coarse grind in any roast with this method.
- Cold brew – any roast can be used for a cold brew, it is down to your preference, but lighter roasts will take more brewing time.
If you’re considering beans based on your flavour preferences these guidelines might be helpful to you. For a full-bodied coffee with notes of nuts, chocolate, and sweet notes a medium roast is a good option. If you want a coffee that focuses more on fruity and floral flavours, then single origin coffee beans roasted lightly might be right for you.
If you’re a coffee beginner looking for some options for beans to try, then we want to suggest our Kenya aa coffee and Jamaica blue mountain coffee beans. The qualities of these beans are beneficial to those who aren’t used to drinking coffee and provide a nice introduction and foundation to explore more flavours and coffee beans going forward.
The team at Pumphreys are experienced in providing a wide range of high-quality coffee beans in Newcastle to suit any taste preference. Find the perfect beans to start your coffee journey at Pumphreys today and contact us if you have any questions.