What Makes a Great Coffee Bean?

What Makes a Great Coffee Bean?

Whether you are a café owner or manager looking for a new wholesale supplier or just want some great beans for your home or business, any true coffee lover will know there’s a big difference between an average cup of coffee and that perfect caffeine hit. A great cup of coffee just cannot be achieved with the right coffee bean which tastes great. This brings us to the age-old question, what makes a great coffee bean? There are a few different factors involved, but being armed with the following information will put you on the right path to finding the perfect bean when you go shopping for a bag for your morning (or afternoon!) brew:

Coffee Bean Origin

The origin of the beans is exactly what it sounds like, where your coffee beans were originally grown. The taste of the beans will be affected by everything from the altitude at which they were grown to the local climate during the growing season. Typically, coffee beans grown at higher altitudes are better quality, as they are less likely to be affected by excess heat and they grow at a slower pace. Coffee beans which grow slowly at an ideal temperature are better equipped to withstand the heat they’ll encounter throughout the subsequent cultivation process. The more information provided about the origin of the beans likely means the more pride the farmers take in their work and the beans they produce.

The Harvesting Process

A fact many people don’t know is that coffee beans are, in fact, the seeds of the coffee plant or coffee cherry. Coffee cherries resemble the red fruit we’re all so familiar with. You learn something new every day, right? When these plants are full and thick, it’s the right time for the coffee farmer to pick them. Harvesting methods can be done by machines or by hand, with the most careful and selective methods naturally resulting in higher-quality beans and less wastage. If they are picked too early or too late, this will have a negative impact on the quality of the beans produced.


The final step which can have a huge impact on the end-result of the coffee bean is the roasting process. If the roaster isn’t careful and roasts the beans for too long or short a time, the beans will have a sub-par flavour. A general rule of thumb is to check the colour of the roasted coffee bean - the lighter the colour of the bean, the less time it has been roasted for. Acid levels within the bean reduce the longer they are roasted for. You should also inspect the coffee beans for quality and texture. A well-roasted bean should be a little oily and not too dark. If they are dry and very dark, there is a high chance they have been burnt and won’t taste all that good. Always choose a bean based on their roast date rather than their sell-by date where possible. The more recent the roast date, the fresher and tastier your cup of joe is going to be!

Here at Bay Coffee, we are one of Sydney’s leading coffee roasters with over 40 years of experience in the coffee business. We’d love to discuss your coffee needs and can discuss the best beans and roast degree for your chosen method of brewing. Call, email or drop into our café today for a chat with a friendly coffee expert!

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