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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Bean Buying Options

- About Coffee Maker Pods, Preground Beans and more…

Another flavor-factor that affects coffee bean is the way they are packaged. The flavor-factors we have mentioned above – species, region, roast, blend and flavorings – apply no matter how your coffee is packaged; but the packaging will either maintain or worsen the flavor.

1. Whole Beans - this is the best way to buy your beans in order to maximise the flavor of both the bean and the roast. Being whole, you get to grind them at home. About the only time you might not want to buy beans whole is if you are buying flavored coffee. This is because the flavoring can taint your grinder – but, as long as you clean the grinder properly immediately after grinding the flavored beans, this shouldn't be too much of a problem. You can buy whole coffee beans here.

2. Coffee Maker Pods - today's pod coffee machines make use of pods (small, usually round packages) of pre-ground coffee beans. If you have a pod coffee machine, then you are restricted to buying your coffee in pod form. You can also use coffee maker pods in a mug of hot water, as you would a tea bag, though you won't get as good a flavor as you would from the machine. Although coffee pods are not as flavorfull as whole beans, you benefit from the fact that they are specially packaged to retain flavor and aroma. They are also properly measured and ground to the correct size for the machine – meaning you get a great cup of coffee. You can get coffee pods here.

3. Preground Coffee - if you don't have a grinder, or prefer not to bother with one, then you will have to settle for pre-ground coffee. Here are some tips to make sure you get the best flavor from your pre-ground coffee:

  1. DO find whole beans from a coffee market and ask them to grind them just before you buy.

  2. DO make sure the beans are packaged in one-way bags (via a valve or special paper) that allow carbon dioxide and coffee-gasses to escape, whilst keeping air out.

  3. DO check the use-buy date and packing date if available.

  4. DON'T buy supermarket preground coffee that has not been vacuum sealed. A soft bag may indicate the vacuum sealed bag has been pierced.

  5. DON'T use the grinding machine in the supermarket. These machines have likely never been cleaned and will be tainted with rancid coffee oils.

Our favorite preground coffee at Coffee Makers Cafe is made by Lavazza. You can get Lavazza coffee beans here.


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