Fresh coffee beans

ResourcesOmari Gourmet Coffee and Tea

Buying Coffee

The key to great coffee begins with the beans. Of the roughly 25 major species of coffee plant, the two that typically find their way into our morning cup are Coffea arabica (Arabica) and Coffea canephora (Robusta). Seventy percent (70%) of the world’s coffee production is made up of the arabica species. This is the species that makes up specialty coffees (although there is a newly emerging interest in the development of specialty grade Robustas). Robustas are hardier, more disease resistant and easier to grow than their specialty cousin and generally have bitter flavor, less body and higher caffeine content. Arabica coffees have around half the caffeine of Robustas and tend to have more complex flavors and aroma. The best coffees are not typically going to be found on your grocery store shelf (unless they are lovingly stocked and cared for by your local roaster). Most “commercial grade” coffees contain a significant portion of Robusta whereas specialty coffee is usually 100% Arabica.

Although there are some stereotypes associated with the coffees from each growing region (i.e., African coffees are fruity, Sumatran coffees are earthy, etc.), there is so much variation within specialty coffees from subclimate to subclimate, farm to farm, season to season, and crop to crop that it is impossible to know just what to expect from each coffee simply by knowing its region. Your local roaster should be able to tell you not only about the roast of the bean and what country your coffee came from, but also who grew it and what characteristics you can look forward to discovering in your cup. A knowledgeable barista or café owner should also be able to give you the data you need to make an informed decision about their coffees.

To attain the best possible cup of coffee you have to start with the best beans. Freshness is one of the most important factors when seeking to create the perfect cup. Having fresh beans is critical as coffee oils become rancid over time, adding a bitter taint to the cup. Coffee is at its best two to seven days after it was roasted. Ideally this means going to your local coffee roaster or café and taking home a small amount of freshly roasted, whole beans to be stored properly, ground just before use, and used within three days to a week after purchase. It’s always a good idea to purchase coffee from a roaster who is not afraid to put the roast date on the package.


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