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Decoding Your Coffee: How to Pick the Perfect Bean

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Coffee is often more than just a drink choice. Many times, it’s a lifestyle. Whether you have one or multiple cups each day, we all have preferences. When it comes to deciding on your perfect cup, it starts with understanding which coffee beans you like best.

Coffee Starts with the Beans

You can add cream, sugar, or choose to drink your coffee black. Despite these add-ins, you can’t entirely mask the coffee taste derived from beans. Choosing the perfect coffee bean for your tastes will mean more happiness with every sip.

Different Aspects of Coffee Beans

You might not realize it, but there is a lot that goes into picking the perfect bean for your coffee. We’ve highlighted the six biggest factors that affect your coffee preferences.

Type of Beans

Before we even get into the different aspects of the bean, we need to discuss the two main types of coffee beans.

  • Robusta: These beans are bold in flavor and taste more bitter compared to Arabica. They’re packed with a strong flavor that can’t be ignored by your tastebuds. Robusta beans are most commonly found in espresso drinks and coffee blends.
  • Arabica: These coffee beans are smooth and not as in-your-face as Robusta beans. Arabica beans are slightly acidic and have a wide range of tastes from sweet and understated to strong and zesty.

Shades Differ Based on Roast Time

Coffee beans start off green (if you can believe it!) Coffee beans grow as a cherry and then get their iconic brown shades from roasting. Roasting the beans brings out flavor as well as caffeine levels. Light coffee beans haven’t been roasted very long and are not as bitter. The longer you roast, the more bitter the coffee becomes. Dark beans have been roasted much longer and are stronger in taste.

Level of Caffeine

Roasting times also affect how much caffeine you’ll get out of your brew. Dark beans that have been roasted longer actually have the least amount of caffeine. Light-colored beans contain the most caffeine. For shades in the middle, you have medium amounts of caffeine.


No matter which bean you prefer or the roast time, coffee beans are best when fresh. Coffee beans are derived from fruit and just like with any other produce, the fresher the fruit, the better it will taste. Coffee beans, once roasted, are typically best for about three weeks.

Blend vs. Single-Origin

Beans are grouped into two categories. Coffee blends contain beans from different locations. This means you get a combination of flavors and tastes with every sip. Plus, coffee blends are available year-round, even when one particular region is out-of-season, making these more readily available and more cost-effective. Blends are a better option for those that like to add milk, cream, or sugar to their coffee.

Single-origin coffee means that the beans are from one location in the world. Most often, the beans are from the same farm where they are harvested. Single-origin coffee is distinct because there is only one flavor to pick up on. If you love a certain taste, single-origin coffee is your best option because every sip is the same. This is a great option for those who prefer to drink their coffee black.

Processing of Beans

Last, but certainly not least, how the beans are processed affects the overall flavor. There are two main processes used: washed and unwashed. Washed, as you could probably guess, refers to beans that are processed using water. In this way, the bean has a clear flavor that you can pick up on instantly.

On the other hand, unwashed (natural) processing refers to letting the beans dry out in the sunlight. Like raisins, these coffee beans are undisturbed and are packed with flavors. Coffee made from these beans give off wine-like qualities.

Pick Your Preferences

There are a lot of different coffees to choose from. Within each of the aspects we mentioned, pick the flavors that you like best. If you want more caffeine and a sweet and flavorful coffee, opt for a light roast blend that is naturally processed. It can seem overwhelming at first, but once you break it down, your perfect bean is closer than you think!

Fair Trade Coffee Beans at Ward’s Supermarket

Shop in Bulk at Ward's to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

No matter what your coffee preference may be, we have the perfect beans to match your unique tastes. Partnering with local vendors that support the fair-trade movement, Ward’s is able to offer a wide variety of coffee beans that you can feel good about drinking. Stop by our store today to find your perfect brew!

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515 NW 23rd Ave.
Gainesville, FL 32609