What's the best coffee?
Your choice in coffee has a huge part in how the final cup will taste.
Great coffee, like food, starts with great ingredients.
Below are a few tips on selecting your coffee. A little research goes a long way.
Coffee is an organic product and changes as it ages. Roasted coffee is definitely at it's best from the time it was roasted until a month later. After a month, it's going to lose a lot of it's amazing qualities.
Roasting is a difficult science. I love that there are new roasters popping up all over the place as this helps everyone connect with better coffee. It's much easier now to see coffee being roasted and to have coffee at home that was roasted only days earlier.
However, roasting is difficult and requires a lot of experience, attention to detail and quality control. If you're not happy with one roasters coffee don't hesitate to try anothers!
There are many things to say about sourcing coffee. This, like roasting, is a big topic. I'll say quickly that I don't believe that Fair Trade is the best answer for every situation. It definitely isn't the best answer for the best coffees. I believe quality should be rewarded and paid for accordingly. Ask your roaster about their sourcing - see how transparent they are about the prices they pay and how they find their coffees. There are lots and lots of amazing roasters that will give you more information about these things than you'd ever imagine. It goes well beyond the country that it came from!
Regarding coffee, I would also suggest further reading.
The World Atlas of Coffee by James Hoffman
Scott Rao's series of books on brewing and roasting coffee
The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee by James Freeman
CoffeeGeek - an excellent online resource