4 Things To Look For When Buying Coffee Beans


To make the perfect cup of coffee, you shouldn’t just think about which coffee machine to buy, but also which coffee to use.  There are several important things that you should look for when buying your coffee beans. These include the country of origin, how the coffee was roasted and when, packaging, and more!

Hario V60 coffee filter and coffee beans

How to buy the best coffee beans

Buying the best coffee for your needs doesn’t have to be complicated. The first and most important step is to buy beans from a good, speciality coffee roaster. I always try to shop local from cafés and roasteries in my city/country; I like to support the coffee community and to know where my money is going. Buying coffee from your local coffee roaster also means you can visit the roastery in person and check out how the beans are roasted and packaged, ask questions directly and learn more about origin and roasting profiles. Roasters usually have travelled to the countries of origin and met coffee farmers, so it’s interesting to ask questions about that to know more about the beverage you will later brew at home. Once you find your favourite coffee, you may consider signing up to a coffee subscription service which is often convenient and .

Be Berry Coffee Roasters brewed on Hario V60

1. Origin

One of the most important things to look at when buying coffee beans is its country of origin. Just like any other vegetable or fruit, different coffee beans will be available to buy depending on the season. First, you want to ensure that the beans are from a high altitude. This means they have been grown inland with high altitudes because this gives them a lot of time to develop the flavor and characteristics of the plant before being harvested.

Some of the best coffee is made from Kona coffee beans and in many other places in Hawaii and the world. These plants need a lot of time for each of their stages because of their growth being slowed down due to the altitude. Coffee cherries can be processed with different methods (washed, natural, honey process, etc.). After harvest, the green beans must be stored and shipped properly.

You should always ask where your coffee beans come from: which country, region and farm! Over time, you will develop your taste and have favourites. For example, I like to brew single origin coffee from Ethiopia and Kenya for filter and central American coffees or blends for espresso.

Coffee plant in Kopakama farm near Lake Kivu in Rwanda

A coffee plant with red cherries in Rwanda

2. Roasting profile

Another important thing to look for when buying coffee beans is how they are roasted. Typically, coffee roasters offer two different types of roasts: for espresso and for filter.

In darker roasts, less bean surface area is exposed which keeps the flavour more concentrated, as a result the coffee of coffee will be very intense and strong. A darker roast is often use to cover up defect in the coffee beans, such as mould. A medium roast brings out more of the nutty flavors in the coffee beans. Next, you would have a light or medium-light roast where very little oil can be seen on the top of the ground coffee beans meaning that it has an even lighter and more acidic taste. For a cleaner cup, choose a lighter roast, as they retain more of their origin flavors and unique elements, reflecting the natural qualities of the coffee.

AeroPress at Ozone Coffee Roasters in London, England

3. Roasting date

Another important thing to look for when buying coffee beans is the roast date, so look for beans that have a clear printed roast date. First, you should always buy coffee within the first 2-3 weeks of the roast date which ensures it doesn’t lose any flavour. Generally, you want to wait at least a week to brew coffee beans after their roasting dates. Between 2-4 weeks after roasting is the sweet spot for brewing. After 4-5 weeks, coffee beans start losing their flavour gradually and all those nice characteristics that make coffee unique will disappear.

You can test this by smelling your beans or tasting them if you are not sure. If they smell a bit stale, it won’t hurt to try a small portion before going ahead and using a whole bag because they still might be fresh enough for you.

Coffee roastery

4. Packaging

Another important thing to look at when buying coffee beans is the packaging. Make sure that the bag has not been opened before because this means there are no assurances of it being fresh. You should also make sure that there isn’t any moisture inside the bag which could affect the flavor of your coffee beans. Even after you open a bag, be sure to use all of your coffee beans within a few weeks (or up to three months) for maximum freshness. It is also recommended to keep coffee in the fridge, especially if you use ground coffee instead of whole beans.

Artisan Coffee Co. packaging

These are some important things you should look for when buying coffee beans including their origin, roasting time and method, roast date, and packaging. These factors can make a big difference in aromas and flavours, so be sure to take them into consideration to brew the perfect cup of coffee!

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