The Coffee FAQ

coffee faq
Welcome to our coffee FAQ – here, you’ll find some of the most common questions that are asked about coffee. Our coffee FAQ section covers varied types of questions including those about types of coffee, drinking coffee and the coffee making process.

What are the best types of coffee bean to look out for?

The type of coffee you end up drinking will ultimately be a matter of personal taste but it is worth knowing the difference between the two primary types of coffee beans – Arabica and Robusta. Most Arabica beans are considered to be of a higher premium grade than Robusta beans so they’ll generally produce a better tasting cup of coffee. Robusta beans are often simply used in blends and instant coffee.

Is it true that ready ground coffee is not as fresh as coffee beans?

Yes. As soon as you grind coffee beans they will start to lose their freshness. So, for example, if you buy a vacuum packed bag of coffee from a store then it will start to lose freshness as soon as you open it and may well taste stale if you don’t use it up quickly. Your best bet is to either grind your own beans or to buy them from a store that will grind them for you when you’re ready to buy.

What are green beans?

Green beans are coffee beans that haven’t yet been through a roasting process. Coffee beans only turn brown once they’ve been roasted.

Can you roast green beans yourself at home?

Yes. You can either buy a specialty roaster or roast them in your oven. A lot of coffee drinkers like to roast their own beans as you can control the actual roasting process. This has the added advantage of making a bag of coffee beans very versatile as you can experiment with different roast types, for example.

What kind of coffee makers can you buy?

There are all kinds of coffee makers on the market nowadays. You can opt for a traditional drip filter coffee maker, French press pots, pod systems, espresso and other specialty coffee makers and percolators, for example. To a certain extent the type of coffee you want to drink will have an effect on the maker you end up using.

What’s the best way to store my coffee?

The best way to store fresh coffee is in a jar or other container that is airtight. The freshness of your coffee will degrade if you expose it to too much air so the airtight element is vital here. But, coffee will lose freshness even in an airtight container if you leave it for more than a few weeks so you may be better off just drinking it fast!

Should I grind my own coffee beans?

If you take your coffee taste seriously then you should think about grinding your own beans. This way you can guarantee that the coffee you make will be as fresh as possible.

What’s the best kind of grinder for use at home?

You can either buy a blade grinder or a burr grinder. Both types are better than buying ready ground coffee for many coffee drinkers but most will advocate a burr grinder as giving the best grind. A burr grinder gives a much more even grind whilst a blade grinder doesn’t give such even results so the coffee may not taste as good.

I’ve heard that blend coffee isn’t as good as a single roast – is this true?

Not in all cases. A lot of the time, it’s true that a blend coffee may not be of the best quality but you may also find that a blend has been created to bring out exciting elements in different coffees that you won’t get in a single roast.

Can I freeze/refrigerate my coffee to keep it fresh?

A lot of people do use these methods to keep it fresh but to be honest this probably won’t work that well. You’ll possibly lose taste from the beans if they are frozen and if they get wet in the freezer/refrigerator then their quality may degrade as well.

What is fair trade coffee?

If you buy coffee with a fair trade certification then you are basically helping the coffee farmer earn a fair price for the coffee he sells. Fair trade organizations help coffee producers earn a living wage from their coffee production.

Is it worth buying organic coffee?

Yes – especially if you have environmental and personal well being concerns. Organic coffee is free from pesticides and other chemical solutions such as fertilizers so it’s better for the environment and for you. Do make sure that this kind of coffee has the proper organic certification, however, before you buy it.