There’s a lot of choices out there for coffee, especially if you want to buy coffee online. It seems these days there’s a coffee expert on every corner, and almost everyone knows someone that’s tried to buy coffee online at least once - with mixed results.
However, buying coffee online shouldn’t be a treacherous experience; but bear in mind that not every bag of beans is for everyone. Someone that prefers a dark roast may not fully appreciate the lighter notes of a light or medium roast coffee blend. That’s why knowing a thing or two about coffee beans before you google search “buying coffee online” will improve the odds of securing a fresh bag of beans to get you that perfect cup every morning.
So without too much pomp and ceremony, here’s seven good tips to get the most bang for your buck when shopping for coffee beans online.
Fresh to Death!
Roasted coffee is a perishable product. Please believe us that this is true, no matter what your friends may tell you. To enjoy a heady and soul-filling cup of coffee, the beans of the brew must be freshly roasted.
When you buy fresh coffee beans, you are making sure all that goodness and flavour you’re searching for hasn’t gotten stale; or wound up clinging to the inside of the bag in expressed oils.
Anyone who has bought a ‘French’ roast coffee from the classic greasy grocery store dispenser knows what I mean… Do they ever clean those things?
How do you ensure the coffee beans you buy online are fresh? That they haven’t been sitting on a warehouse shelf for months? The two best ways to ensure optimal freshness is to:
- Order from roasters who favour roasting beans in small batches.
- Order smaller quantities of beans, but be sure to order those beans more often.
- Consider a coffee bean subscription for fresh beans all the time.
Support your Local Economy (& Coffee Roasters!)
Supporting the local economy is not just an ideology but it also helps guarantee better quality beans for your morning brew.
How? In addition to keeping your money local and supporting a real person instead of a faceless conglomerate, buying locally roasted coffee will save you on shipping costs, and the beans will be fresher when they get to you.
That’s not to say there aren’t great options from all the way across the country, but the farther away your coffee is roasted, the older it will be when it arrives at your doorstep. That is, unless you shell out for premium shipping which, for the right coffee, is totally justifiable.
Coffee Lovers - Know your Brew’s Origins
Okay, no one is asking you to do a deep dive into individual regions (unless you’re into that sort of thing!), but having a broad understanding of what sort of flavour you might expect from one region to the next can increase the chances of ordering the perfect-for-you coffee.
Coffee beans originating from central and South America generally yield coffee beans with citric acidity, sweet nuts, and caramel tones.
You can expect tea like body, fruited notes, and wild flavours from Africa and the Middle East.
- Far Eastern coffees, such as those from Indonesia and Papua New Guinea might lend themselves to low acid, deep, smooth cups.
Equally important to origin and terroir, however, is…
Coffee Bean Processing Method
How a bean is processed at origin impacts how it delivers it’s final flavours in your cup of coffee and should a consideration when selecting a coffee bean to buy online.
Coffee bean growers have to get the cherry off the bean somehow, and the way they do it has a profound effect on the quality and experience of the cup. Broadly speaking, there are three categories of processing: Washed, Dry, and Hybrid.
Washed Coffee Bean Processing
Washed processing strips the cherry off the coffee using a mechanical cutting tool and water, and usually occurs somewhere between 12- and 72-hours after picking. Washed coffee is sweet and smooth, and leaves little aftertaste, something we in the biz refer to as ‘clean cup.’
Dry Processing of Coffee Beans
The dry process involves laying the ripe cherries in the sun or a mechanical dryer, letting the cherry slowly dry onto the bean, and then mechanically stripping off that layer. Natural, or Dry processed coffee is wild, fruity, and unpredictable. These coffees might defy what you think of as a typical cup of coffee!
A Hybrid Approach to Processing Coffee Beans
In between these two broad strokes there are all sorts of experimental ferments, hybrid processing like honey or semi-dry, anaerobic and carbonic maceration, yeast inoculation… the list goes on.
What process do we recommend: all of them! Try all sorts and see what you like!
Once you know what process produces your favourite cup of coffee, focus your online search to your preferred processing method. For instance, if your ideal morning coffee is from a grower who uses the washed process, search for “washed processed coffee beans near me.”
Be Sure Your Values Fit
It’s no secret that there’s all sorts of people out there. That means there’s all sorts of companies out there too. Now, we’re not out here to bash anyone, quite the opposite - everyone’s got different values.
But, finding a coffee roaster who shares your values will make the experience of purchasing coffee from them even better because you know you are supporting like minded people. Conversely, finding out the place you are sending your money to has vastly different values than you can leave a bad taste in your mouth… and that’s exactly what we’re trying to avoid!
For example, those who value purchasing goods from a company that prioritizes people above profits may prefer to purchase coffee beans from a business that pays staff a living wage and actively cultivates relationships with overseas coffee bean growers.
Consider your Ideal Brew Method
While you can make great coffee with every brew method, having an idea of the characteristics of the method you will use will help you get the best out of any coffee you buy.
For example, French Press tends to emphasize body and mute some acidic characteristics, while a Pourover might highlight a coffee’s acidity. Knowing your brew method (and a few good recipes!) will help you get the most out of your at-home prepared coffee.
Know the Type of Coffee You like!
If you don’t experiment, how will you know? 2%Jazz carries different varieties of coffees, ranging from rotating single origins to steadfast blends suited to any and all brew methods.
Try different origins, processing, brew methods, recipes and be critical - take two second and consider your cup of coffee, you might find a way to make your morning cuppa even better.