Does Coffee Quality Matter? (Let’s Explore)

Short Answer: The quality of the coffee beans has a huge effect on the taste and texture of the final cup.

Who wouldn’t want to sip on a cup of coffee that’s perfect and heavenly tasting?

But that’s not possible if the quality of the coffee beans is not up to par. 

The demand for coffee throughout the world is increasing dramatically. According to the U.S. National Coffee Association’s National Coffee Drinking Trends report, Americans drink more than 400 million cups of coffee in a day while the world sips more than 2.25 billion cups every year.

Drinking coffee is not just sipping on a cup of beverage now – it has transformed into an artisan experience.

High-quality or gourmet coffee is in great demand and people are willing to pay extra bucks for a better experience with their cup of joe.

Consumers are now more aware of the importance of high-quality beans in determining the taste of coffee and are ready to purchase more expensive beans if it means a higher-quality cup.

Keep reading to find out if your coffee is of good quality.

How do you know if coffee is good quality?

Coffee beans spread on a white sheet.

Quality coffee beans have this strong and pleasant aroma.

The beans should not be too dry or too greasy. They shouldn’t also be rock-hard or too fragile that they crumble easily between your fingers.

The packaging should have an air-tight seal or a one-way valve.

Finding good coffee will take more effort than just walking down a grocery store and grabbing the first bag of coffee that you see. It’s easier just to snag that coffee bag and head back home. But the thing is you’re not doing yourself any favors.

I’ll be giving out some tips you can follow to get the most of your cup of joe and your money’s worth.

Coffee packaging is important

It’s not the color of the packaging or the style of the font that matters.

You need to pay attention to the type of packaging and its make.

Avoid buying coffee in fancy tins. When you open the can to get beans, air will be left inside once you close it causing the beans to grow unpalatable and lose their freshness over time.

Choose airtight bags because they sustain the necessary conditions inside to keep your coffee from going stale. If you’re interested in an informative read on why coffee goes stale, take a look at my article.

The best coffee bags would have one-way seals at the top. This helps the coffee to release gas safely without letting extra oxygen into the bag.

Keep in mind that properly stored coffee last much longer.

Visual appearance of whole beans

Look for whole, undamaged beans. They shouldn’t be cracked, fractured, or broken into pieces.

A few damaged beans in a bag shouldn’t be a cause of worry but if more than a quarter of the bag is damaged, you need to choose a different one.

Darker roasts have a more bitter taste. 

The extended roast time brings out more of the oils, so darker roast beans tend to be a little bit oily in appearance.

Although lighter roast beans look drier, they should not be powdery.

Refer to the table below to understand more about coffee roasts:

Coffee roast typeCharacteristics
Light roastLight brown in color
Fruity smell
Medium roastMedium brown in color
Slightly sweet smell
Dark roastRich, darker shade of brown
Oily surface
Smoky aroma
Characteristics of different types of coffee roasts

If you want to see how the different roasts actually look like, take a look at this visual guide right here. This will help you know what you’re looking at and what you’ll be buying when you’re at the grocery or the coffee store.

Get a whiff of the aroma

The aroma of your coffee is nearly as important as its appearance. This is a great indicator of how the coffee will end up tasting in a cup.

A good quality coffee doesn’t smell sour. You’ll definitely know when it smells off.

It doesn’t make you wrinkle your nose but rather it makes you inhale deeply to the strong, fresh aroma. 

If the smell of the coffee is burnt or overly bitter, skip it. This means it was roasted a long time and the flavor it’ll yield would be more like charcoal.

If the beans smell raw, they weren’t roasted long enough. These beans are very hard to grind and the taste will be more plant-like.

Taste of your coffee

A cup of plain black coffee placed over roasted coffee beans on a white surface.

There are ways to know early on the quality of coffee before ever tasting a drop of it. How your cup of coffee will taste is strongly affected by the freshness of the beans plus the roast time and the method used.

Old, stale coffee has a weak taste while fresh coffee has a rich flavor from the first sip to the last drop.

Always test your newly-bought coffee as plain black first. This allows you to judge the overall flavor and quality of the coffee.

After that, you can move on and put in your usual add-ons and taste it again.

Your add-ons shouldn’t overpower the flavor of the coffee. It should enhance it.

Nothing beats the saying “Fresh is always best!” This too applies to coffee beans.

How will you know that? Look for the printed “roasted on” date on the bag or package.

For a detailed read on coffee roasts, you can check out my post right here.

My Top 5 Best Coffee Beans

Top 5 best coffee beans

  1. Koa Coffee – Hawaiian Kona Coffee Bean
  2. Organix Medium Roast Coffee By Life Boost Coffee
  3. Blue Mountain Coffee From Jamaica
  4. Volcanica Coffee Kenya AA Coffee Beans
  5. Peaberry Beans From Tanzania

Factors that can affect coffee

A quality cup of coffee can depend on the following factors:

  • The quality of the coffee beans used
  • The time since the beans were roasted
  • The time since the coffee beans were ground
  • Cleanliness of the brewing equipment
  • The quality of the water used

The quality of the coffee bean is the most important of these factors as they’re the most essential ingredient of your coffee. However, the very best beans can taste bad if any one of the other characteristics listed isn’t okay.

Watch this video to know more about which factors can have an impact on your coffee.

Factors affecting coffee quality.

To sum it all up

Beautiful coffee served in a yellow cup and saucer.

Coffee quality does matter as the key to a heavenly tasting cup depends on the quality of the beans, the freshness of the roast, and the proper brewing technique used in preparation.

Keep in mind that when you buy a coffee bag from the supermarket, it usually contains a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans while most coffee shops sell only Arabica beans.

Arabica beans tend to have a rich flavor while Robusta beans contain more caffeine, less flavor, and are less expensive. I compared these two types of beans in my other article.

This shouldn’t be a guarantee though that a coffee store will have better coffee than the one you can buy from the grocery. 

The key to finding good quality coffee is how closely you inspect it.

It’s always worth spending time and effort considering the packaging, aroma, freshness, and appearance of the beans to attain the perfection you desire.

Go for the freshest beans you can find. 

Also, I suggest that you buy green beans that you yourself can roast according to your preference. Or easier to just find the local spots that sell only freshly roasted coffee beans.

A final suggestion if you want the perfect cup is to grind your own coffee because you get to control the grind size which greatly influences the flavor.

Other Articles

Matt Marshall

As I learn more and more about coffee and coffee products I want to share all my learnings with you here on this website. I hope you find my articles useful and entertaining to read.

Recent Posts