Where can you find the best coffee beans

Checklist: How to Identify Good Coffee Beans

Coffee - the absolute favorite drink of Germans. But how do we actually know whether the beans we buy are of good quality? Have you ever taken a close look at your coffee beans? Do you pay attention to what information is on the packaging when you go shopping in the supermarket? And can you do anything with the information given?

When buying a fully automatic coffee machine, we compare its range of functions with other machines. We ask friends and acquaintances for a fully automatic coffee machine recommendation and find out about some models on the Internet. But when buying coffee beans, we usually reach for the cheap offers.

Quick check: how do you recognize the best coffee beans?

  • Check on the coffee bag: note the aroma valve for whole beans, roast, roast date, seal and certificates
  • Look at the bean: keep an eye out for pests, broken beans, mold and foreign bodies
  • Price: good coffee has its price! You can taste the difference!

What does the packaging tell us about the quality of the beans?

Aroma valve: Coffee bags containing whole beans should always have an aroma valve. After packaging, the coffee beans still give off CO2. Thanks to an aroma valve, this can escape. In addition, it prevents oxygen from entering the bag. An aroma valve is therefore a good sign.

Roasting: Anyone who discovers the word "drum roasting" on the coffee packaging has no bad beans in hand. Because drum roasting breaks down tannic acids well. This makes the roast more even and contains fewer bitter substances. In industrial roasting, it often happens that the beans inside are still raw. This leads to a bitter taste and higher intolerance. If the packaging says something about "drum roasting" or "long-term roasting", this is an indication of good bean quality.

Roast date: Roasted coffee beans taste best about 2 to 3 weeks after roasting. After 3 months, the aroma and taste will slowly subside. Coffee beans from the supermarket usually have a minimum shelf life of 12 - 24 months. If you take a look at the best-before date, you can work out how old the coffee is. If it can only be kept for a few months, it may well have been on the shelf for a year. In the case of good roasters, however, there is a roasting date on the packaging. Then you know exactly how long ago it was roasted. Feel free to buy coffee from the supermarket and a pack from your local roaster. Fill this into the fully automatic coffee machine for comparison - can you taste the difference?

Highland coffee: Many coffee packages advertise "100% Arabica". But be careful: "100% Arabica" only means that it only contains Arabica beans. However, it says nothing about the quality of the beans! It has been said for a long time that Arabica beans are the non-plus-ultra and that Robustas have nothing in the bag - but that's not true. Because there are high quality Robusta beans that are very popular with coffee drinkers. You should therefore pay more attention to the addition "highland coffee". Coffee beans grown at higher elevations ripen more slowly. This gives them more time to develop their aromas. Their taste profile is therefore much more diverse and complex. Accordingly, highland coffee beans are of higher quality.

seal: There are now an infinite number of seals and certificates, all of which have partly the same and partly different goals. On the supermarket shelves they look at us from a lot of product packaging. Certified coffee is usually subject to strict regulations (you can find out which ones are in our article "Coffee with seven seals"), but coffee without a seal does not have to be of poor quality. Because certification is very expensive and small plantations usually cannot afford it or prefer to invest the money in ecological and sustainable cultivation. Seals can therefore be meaningful, but a lack of them is not an indication of poor quality.

price: In general, it should be known that coffee that meets the highest quality standards costs more than € 5. Good coffee has its price. If you like to drink coffee and value quality, you should definitely be paying a little more. You will taste the difference!

It is always difficult to evaluate the quality of the coffee based on a single criterion. Therefore, the next time you buy coffee, pay attention to all of the above. So take a close look at the package. Better still: use your fully automatic coffee machine to make a comparison. Try cheap beans and those whose quality you rate as higher. Can you taste the difference? Now you can give your friends a bean recommendation with a fully automatic coffee machine.

What does the bean image tell us about the quality of the coffee?

Once you have decided on a type of coffee in the supermarket, take a closer look at the beans at home. Because the quality of a type of coffee can also be recognized by the beans. The following criteria suggest poor quality:

Pest infestation: If you discover small bite holes on most of the beans, this is a sign of insects and worms that attacked the coffee cherries during cultivation. Individual cases are not bad. However, as a rule, little or no beans should be affected. If this is the case, the coffee beans have not been properly sorted out.

Broad beans: Good coffee beans contain little broken coffee beans. There is always some breakage in the packaging - from roasting and transport. Too much breakage, however, is an indication of poor harvest, processing and freight and thus poor quality. But be careful: There are roasters out there that remove more moisture from the beans than normal. This can also cause breakage. However, this would be a sign of quality, because the less moisture the beans contain, the more beans you have in the packaging.

Mould: After harvesting and processing, the coffee beans are dried. If the even drying is not taken into account, mold can form. This can be seen from the dark spots. Don't panic, it's not harmful. After all, roasting at temperatures above 200 degrees destroys all bacteria and the like. Nevertheless, it is not exactly a mark of quality when moldy beans have made it into the packaging.

foreign body: If there are stones, branches or other things in the bag - anything that is not a bean - care was taken when sorting. If you are the owner of a fully automatic coffee machine, you will not enjoy this type of coffee, as stones can damage the grinder. Electric coffee grinders or hand coffee grinders are also quickly damaged if a stone gets into the grinder. To avoid such problems, you can check forums and websites for coffee machines for recommendations for coffee beans.