Updated: Jul 18
What makes a good cup of coffee? Perhaps more crucial than ‘how’ you prepare your coffee is the ‘what’ – the ingredients you use in your coffee. Are your coffee beans of high quality? How fresh are the beans you use? Knowing what to look out for and what to avoid when you select your beans can help you concoct the perfect brew.
Why freshness is important
But just how important is freshness when it comes to making good coffee? Other than the type of beans used, the freshness of the beans also plays a huge part in shaping the taste of the coffee. It ensures that the sensory experience from the complex notes and aromas of the flavours in each brew is preserved. Just like fruit, coffee beans have a limited shelf life since they begin to degrade from the moment they are roasted. For that reason, for coffee enthusiasts looking to brew the perfect cup of coffee, the best beans to use are the ones fresh out of the roastery.
How to look out for bean quality
With that said, what exactly do you need to look out for? Keep an eye out for the following signs the next time you check for the quality of your beans.
1. Coffee bloom
One of the most visible telltale signs of a high quality bean is in the bloom of the coffee. The bloom refers to the layer of bubbles that form on the surface of the grounds as the coffee is being brewed, usually with a pour-over or Chemex method. If your bloom is foamy and pale in colour, it’s a good sign that your coffee is fresh and chock-full of delicious goodness!
2. Coffee Oil
Ever wondered just where the delicious flavour of coffee comes from? As a matter of fact, coffee beans have oils that are responsible for the characteristic, taste and aroma present in coffee. This could also be an indication of the freshness of roasted coffee. The oils in any coffee will naturally start to leak out of its porous structure over time, up to weeks or months after roasting, depending on the roast level and storage conditions. The process will be slower for light roasts and faster for darker roast.
3. Valve in coffee bag
Besides looking at your beans, make sure to examine the packaging used to store them as well. After being heated to high temperatures and left to cool, freshly roasted beans undergo a degassing process which releases carbon dioxide into the air. For this reason, check if there is a valve on your coffee bag to let air out. If there isn’t, gases produced during degassing are likely to still be trapped in the bag, which could cause the bag to inflate with gas and compromise the freshness of your beans.
Making that cup of good coffee requires many factors to be considered. In order not to screw (up) your brew, make sure to look out for what we talked about in this article the next time you select your beans!
At Six Four Coffee, all our beans are freshly roasted here in Singapore to ensure the premium quality of our beans. You can find out more about our products or shop them here.
With the right knowledge, anyone can make a great cup of coffee–even if they aren’t coffee connoisseurs!