Whole Bean Coffee - Gourmet Guide

June 12, 2019 | By Dave Mattingly

Whole Bean Coffee is sold as a vacuum-sealed bag of non-ground roasted coffee, ready to be ground at home using a personal coffee grinder. While ground coffee may be more convenient to the consumer, Whole Bean Coffee is much more flavorful because the interior of the bean is not exposed to air and thus does not oxidize as rapidly as grounds do. Usually, only premium Arabica coffee beans are sold in the US in Whole Bean format, meaning you aren't likely to find Maxwell House coffee in the Whole Bean section of the coffee aisle at the supermarket.

Coffee Beans are seeds obtained from the fruits (cherries) of coffee plants. Coffee must be ground prior to brewing in order to obtain the best flavor, since ground coffee offers more surface area from which to extract flavor. During the brewing process, oils in the ground coffee seep into boiling water to create an aromatic and flavorful cup of coffee. Many believe that Whole Bean Coffee is far superior to ground coffee as grinding coffee prior to just to brewing it creates a fresher and more flavorful cup of coffee. Whole Bean Coffee does require one to own a personal coffee grinder at home, yet this extra step causes only slightly more preparation time for making a pot of coffee.

While coffee may be judged based on such criteria as flavor, texture, aroma, acidity and after-taste, the quality of coffee beans depends upon such factors as the growing location, methods of growing and type of coffee bean. Most of the coffee in the world comes from the Arabica or Robusta coffee plants. Arabica coffee has nearly half of the caffeine of Robusta and a milder flavor, while Robusta coffee has higher caffeine and acidity levels and more bitterness. Grown at altitude above 3, 000 ft, Arabica Coffee beans are considered higher quality coffee beans, while Robusta Coffee beans, grown at altitudes under 2,000 ft, are generally considered lesser quality and less expensive coffee beans.

There are many benefits to purchasing Whole Bean Coffee. Coffee beans lose their freshness very quickly after roasting. Whole Bean Coffee stays fresher much longer than ground coffee, since the complex flavors and aromas of coffee begins to decrease in intensity soon after grinding. Keeping the Whole Coffee Bean intact as long as possible helps to preserve the integrity of the coffee bean. Buying locally roasted Whole Coffee Beans helps to minimize degradation of the bean and maintain freshness. Also, depending on the type of coffee maker used, coarseness of the grind may be controlled in order to create the perfect cup of coffee. While the investment of a grinder is necessary when brewing Whole Bean Coffee, there may be cost savings in the long run, as Whole Bean Coffee stays fresher longer than ground coffee and Whole Bean Coffee can be purchased in larger amounts with less risk of wasting stale ground coffee.

Whole Bean Coffee Varieties
Coffee Beans are similar to the grapes used for making wine in that the region in which they are grown greatly influences the quality of the bean. The two main species of coffee are Arabica and Robusta (canephora). Most gourmet coffee is made from the Arabica coffee bean, although one notable exception is Indonesian Kopi Luwak, the world's most expensive coffee, which is often a Robusta type. Coffea Arabica has two main subspecies, also known as cultivars: Typica and Bourbon. In addition, there are numerous Typica/Bourbon hybrids being cultivated. Famous examples of Arabica Typica are Jamaican Blue Mountain, Hawaiian Kona, Criollo and most Indonesian coffees. Famous examples of Arabica Bourbon include Yemeni Mocha and most Central and South American varieties. The characteristics of harvested coffee beans will depend greatly on where the coffee plant is grown because of the local environment, their growing and processing methods, and localized genetic mutations.

Whole Bean Coffee Preparation
It is recommended that coffee be ground is just prior to brewing. Two kinds of coffee grinders are available: blade and burr grinders. A blade coffee grinder is inexpensive and resembles a tall food processor. A flat blade spins and grinds the coffee beans. It is best to use a blade coffee grinder in a pulsing motion by pulsing for 2 to 3 seconds, stopping, and repeating the process 3 or 4 more times. This allows for a better grinding of the beans. The Burr coffee grinder grinds coffee beans between two burr blades. The beans are grounds into an extremely uniform consistency, ideal for use in espresso machines or French press coffee machines. Using the French press is a simple method that brews an excellent cup of coffee. The Fresh press is a glass cylinder which contains a piston like rod attached to a circular screen or filter. Ground coffee is placed in the bottom of the press, and boiling water is poured over the coffee grounds. Coffee must be ground coarser for the French press than for drip machines so that the grounds will not pass through the French press screen. After approximately 4 minutes, the plunger is pressed down to push the coffee grounds to the bottom of the press for a fantastic cup of coffee. Using this method, a better flavor is obtained since more of the coffee bean’s oils end up in the coffee cup instead of the coffee machine’s filter.

Whole Bean Coffee Storage
Whole Bean Coffee must not be exposed to moisture, heat, air or light. Whole Beans Coffee that will be purchased for immediate or frequent consumption should be stored in an air-tight container (preferably ceramic) in a cool location. Whole Bean Coffee that will be used in the near future may be stored in an air-tight dry container in the freezer.

For the freshest gourmet Whole Bean Coffee, igourmet offers Whole Bean Coffee from Electric City Roasting Company. They offer an international selection of award-winning coffee beans that are freshly roasted for us every Monday. This ensures the freshest possible beans to your directly to your doorstep.

With over 60 Whole Bean Coffee types from which to choose, including Hawaiian and international varieties, igourmet has the best selection of Whole Bean Coffee on the web. Each of our blends is made from carefully selected beans, which are expertly roasted and packed for freshness.

When searching for Whole Bean Coffee and the best gourmet foods and gift baskets online, begin your search at igourmet.com.