Ground Coffee Buyer's Guide
Posted: Nov 21, 2017
How do they make it? First off, various companies purchase green coffee beans from Brazil, India, Columbia and Kenya, and, once at home (closer to consumer), they roast those coffee beans, grind them, create all possible blends and package the product. That is why in stores we see ground coffee manufactured in Italy, Germany, France and so on.
For jezve - dust, for coffee machine - grains
In order to choose best ground coffee for yourself, first decide how you will be preparing it - it will affect the choice of grinding. If you are to make coffee in jezve or a geyser coffee-maker, choose coffee powder that looks almost like dust. If you are using a coffee machine with filters or an espresso machine, you should look for coffee of medium or coarse grind – if you happen to buy coffee of fine grind, you will get a beverage with indistinct taste. The label usually indicates the grind level of coffee.
Italians like it extra roasted
Another important factor that affects taste and aroma of coffee is its roast level. It can be Light, Medium, Dark and Extra Dark, although there is no clear classification. Therefore, you might find a completely different indication of roast level on the package. For instance, light-bodied, regular roast, full-bodied or dark roast.
Which roast level is the best? It all depends on your individual preferences, dear reader. The higher the roast level, the richer the taste and more bitterness it will have. If you like your coffee to have more aroma and softness, go for Light roast.
The majority of manufacturers produce various types of coffee; Italian coffee is usually Extra Dark.
Coffee with and without caffeine
There are thousands of varieties of coffee - they differ in taste, aroma, astringency, acidity, because the beans were growing in completely different conditions. For example, "Jamaica Blue Mountain" coffee grows only on the island of the Caribbean - Jamaica, while in the production of "Kopi Luvak" animals, such as palm civets, are involved - they eat berries, but their bodies cannot digest the beans, so they come out together with their excrement and people pick it up.
However, all sorts of coffee can be divided into two main biological species - Arabica and Robusta (there are also Liberica and Excelsa, but they are not very fruitful and are rarely used).
Sometimes manufacturers put only one type of coffee in the package - in this case they indicate that it is "100% Arabica". But, more often, they mix two kinds of coffee in different proportions: if you see that it says "espresso" on the label, it means that inside the pack there is a blend of Arabica and Robusta in 50/50, 60/40 or 70/30 proportions. It is very helpful when the manufacturer indicates the exact content of the blend, because a lot depends on it, for example: Arabica has less caffeine and it gives the beverage a rich taste, aroma and light acidity, while Robusta coffee is stronger, slightly bitter and contains more caffeine.
If you have heart problems, but you do not want to give up you morning cup of this fragrant beverage, look for decaffeinated coffee. They extract it from green coffee beans and your coffee will be devoid of the invigorating effect.
Chocolate, amaretto and nutty flavors of coffee
Lately, ground coffee with chocolate, cognac, and amaretto, nuts, vanilla and cinnamon flavors has become extremely popular. Can you distinguish between natural beverage and the one with chemicals in it? In reality, it's easy. If there are spices in it (like cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg), it means that it is 90% natural. But other flavors (like alcohol, chocolate, almonds, pine nuts, fruits) are, most likely, are artificial or identical to natural ones – and the latter, by the way, are more preferable.
In any case, true gourmets believe that high-quality "pure" coffee in itself is so great that it doesn’t require any additional flavoring.
Vacuum briquette is the way to go!
During roasting a gas bubble develops in the center of the bean, and the aroma is concentrated within that bubble. When they grind coffee, the bubble is being destroyed, and a precious, enchanting aroma starts evaporating; so avoid buying prepackaged coffee in paper bags – rather ask sales people to grind the product in front of you.
If you want to purchase factory ground coffee, go for coffee in a stiff, vacuum briquette – it preserves coffee better. But first check the package for any damages (you will notice if it is slightly softer than it should be), and don’t purchase a large package, because after opening it, you won’t be able to keep coffee from "fading".
Unlike vacuum briquette, soft packaging changes the characteristics of the product, although some of them have one-sided membrane that lets inside air out but doesn’t let any air in. It is a necessary requirement: from technological point of view – it doesn’t let gases accumulate within the package and burst it; from the point of view of the consumer – he is able to smell the product he is about to purchase.
Once you open the package, smell its contents first: exquisite aroma is the main indicator of a fresh, good-quality ground coffee.
Hello. I’m an engineer from New York. I like my profession and I have many hobbies also. One of them is writing articles. That’s why I’m here.