Online Coffee Beans

by Angela on October 1, 2009

When you are shopping online, coffee beans can present a particular challenge. At first glance, it seems pretty straight forward. Then you look closer. Suddenly all of these terms come flying at you. If you don’t understand coffee language, you may have some trouble navigating these different, but intriguing waters. If you don’t know your Robusta from your espresso, then this guide will be of great help to you.

Coffee Types

There are many, many coffee types. However, the main three are Mild, Brazils and Robustas. Online, coffee beans are often arranged by these types. This is what they mean:

  • Milds – These Arabica beans come from plants that are grown at high altitudes, producing the highest quality, best coffee. These are the coffee beans that you want to use for your espresso.
  • Brazils – While these Arabica beans come from Brazil (as do milds), these plants are grown at lower altitudes. Although they are not as good as milds, they are considerably cheaper, making them quite popular.
  • Robustas – These beans come from the Robusta plant. They are the bottom of the barrel as far as coffee is concerned, producing flavorless and aroma-less beans.

Origins of Coffee Beans

When you shop for coffee, several of your senses are engaged, especially the sense of smell. Unfortunately, online coffee beans have no aroma. However, you can look at other clues to ensure that you are getting good coffee beans. The countries from which the coffees come can give you a very good indication as to what you are getting. With more than a dozen countries that produce coffee, you can treat yourself to a wide variety of very diverse coffees. Brazilian coffee is probably the most prevalent while Kona coffee, Hawaii’s pride, is quite rare. But there are many, many coffees in between. Take some time to learn about the different countries and what they produce to see which coffees you may be interested in checking out.

Coffee Beans: Raw or Roasted

Some people purchase their raw beans and roast the coffee themselves. You can do that, purchasing online coffee beans either in their raw state or roasted:

  • Light Roast/Cinnamon Roast – Very little roasting. Coffee is acidic and highly caffeinated, bitter and light in color.
  • House Roast/Medium Roast/American Roast – This is the coffee shop coffee that you find everywhere from the mom and pop store on the corner to your local 7-11 to the shelves of your grocery store. Not bad, usually a medium roast but usually pretty inexpensive.
  • Dark Roast/City Medium Roast – A rule of thumb: the darker the roast, the less caffeine, less bitter and less acidic the coffee.
  • French Roast/City Roast – Darker than the dark roast; in many coffee shops where knowledge of coffee is not a mainstay, this translates to burnt and is used for their espresso. However, French roast coffee beans should be very dark brown and oily.
  • Espresso Roast/Italian Roast/Full City Roast/Very Dark Roast – The darkest roast for coffee beans. It is generally used for espresso.

Rule of thumb: darker beans equal sweeter, less acidic coffee.

Coffee Blends

Most coffee that you get at the market is a blended variety, often made of us as many as 30 different types of coffees. This is because if one type of coffee bean becomes unavailable, it can easily be substituted without much difference in taste. There are specific blends that are also available, particularly when shopping online. Coffee beans of different varieties like “Mocha Java” or other gourmet sounding names indicate different coffee beans at work in the one blend. Coffee blending can be fun to do on your own as well.

Coffee Bean Flavors

Flavored coffee beans are usually found in grocery stores and in cheaper online coffee beans (but not always). Many times, the coffee beans are of a lower quality so the flavor is used to make them taste better and taste more like their higher quality cousins.

When you begin your adventure for online coffee beans, try some new things and don’t be afraid to experiment. Shopping online allows you to find the best quality at the best deals. Take advantage of it.

“Online Coffee Beans”
courtesy of
your online coffee bean store;
Gourmet Coffee Beans

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