A guide to buying coffee beans

With home brew methods on the rise, we delve into what's important when it comes to sourcing the goods.

Unless you’re into the convenience of coffee capsules, the only way you should be buying your beans is whole. The simple tradition of grinding just before brewing is what changes everything, so we’ve taken it upon ourselves to enhance your bean-buying knowledge.

Shop Direct
While you can buy coffee beans from almost any grocery store, getting them direct from a trusted roaster will see you advised by knowledgeable staff and provided with tasting opportunities.

Make Sure it’s Airtight 
Air, light, heat and moisture are the four deadly sins of coffee. Make sure the packaging is tightly sealed — built-in valves are a good sign as they release the coffee’s natural gases without letting in air.

Check the Date 
Check the roast date that should be clearly marked on the packet. Naturally, you want to buy the freshest product possible as the flavour flattens out very quickly once opened. Depending the beans, they generally taste better when consumed within 2 weeks of roasting. Rather than getting yours from the supermarket where the roast dates can be two or three months out, buying from a roastery like Atomic will see you purchasing coffee that has been freshly roasted in the same week. That said, Atomic has found that their blends perform best after being aged between 5-10 days. This gives their flavour time to fully develop.

Roast Level
While most coffee drinkers know that the roast levels are based on how long and at what temperature the beans are roasted, a common misconception is that dark roasts mask lower- quality beans. In reality, it all comes down to personal taste and for some, the smokier flavour brought about by a darker roast (the result of a greater elimination of moisture that caramelises the coffee’s sugars) is simply less appealing.

Store with Care
Not forgetting that coffee is best consumed within two weeks of roasting, the best place to store beans is in an airtight container in the pantry or cupboard. Forget any ideas you had about storing them in the fridge to keep them fresher for longer, coffee is extremely good at absorbing moisture, air and odours, so when you’re taking them in and out of the cool air, the condensation formed will kill the quality of your beans as they absorb the moisture in the warmer air.

Make it Easy
To ensure you have your favourite variety of beans on hand at all times, Atomic offers a subscription whereby you can receive your chosen beans delivered fresh weekly to your door.

Bon Vivant

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