Reusable coffee pods blog post June

Which coffee should I buy?

So, you’ve bought your new podly Reusable Coffee Pod, hugged a tree and prayed to Mother Gaia – yay! The first thing you’re probably left wondering is: ‘which coffee should I buy? The choices seem endless’. At a cursory glance, the world of coffee can be daunting, BUT, do not fear! We’ve got your back! Below is our simple purchasing guide which will help you hack the bested suited coffee for your palate based on budget, region, roast recipe, roast profile and grind.

Budget – it’s all about that $$$

It seems you can buy coffee off every street corner with our beloved cup of java in higher demand than ever before. To make things worse, prices can vary widely from supplier to supplier. On the affordable end of the spectrum you can purchase coffee at your local supermarket for around $15-30/kg. Whilst speciality roasters and cafes can charge anywhere between $30-70/kg. So, why the disparity? Well, the answer is complex. But generally speaking, the higher quality the coffee bean and the more specialised a company’s operations are, the more expensive the coffee will be.

Well, what’s the point of specialised operations if they’re so costly? It is well accepted in the industry that coffee begins to stale a month after its roast date where we can start to lose some delicious and nuanced flavours. Many local and small boutique roasters produce just enough coffee each week to meet demand with as little surplus as possible. This means customers receive their coffee as close to the roast date and as fresh as possible. Conversely, supermarket-type roasters will produce coffee on mass which travels through an untimely distribution chain. And, although their retail price is lower, it could be months between when the coffee is roasted and when you finally get to drink it.

However, this doesn’t mean supermarket coffee is terrible. In fact, it can make a more than palatable brew. Just be aware that you will lose some nuance compared to fresher roasts. But if you have the budget then we recommend investing those extra dollars for not only a more flavourful cup but for the satisfaction you get from supporting your local roaster!

And lastly, make sure you check out our cost analysis of eco-friendly reusable coffee pods vs. disposable pods down below:

Reusable vs Recyclable vs Compostable Pods

The big 3: LOCATIon, Location, Location

The world is divided into three major coffee producing regions, these include: Asia, the Americas and Africa. In turn, each region has its own countries and farms that are renowned for yielding particular flavours. Below we have provided a table pairing some of these regions with their accompanying characteristics.

Please keep in mind this table is a guide only. Flavour notes are still subject to variation based on plant species, growing conditions and processing techniques. Consult your roaster or the coffee packaging for the unique flavours of your chosen roast.

Region

Country

Flavour notes

Asia

India

Low Acid, Spice

Java

Heavy Bodied, Woody

Sumatra

Earthy, Strong

Latin America

Colombia

Balanced, Sweet

Brazil

Chocolate, Nutty

Costa Rica

Citrus, Nutty

Guatemala

Smoky, Floral

Mexico

Nutty, Caramel

Africa

Ethiopia

Berry, Cocoa, Bright

Kenya

Spice, Sweet

Burundi

Chocolate, Peach

Tanzania

Citrus, Jasmine

Rwanda

Floral, Apple

Single or ready to Mingle?

When shopping for different coffees you might come across the term single origin or blend. Single origin coffee originates from a single farm or region, whilst blends are a culmination of two to four different sources of coffee.

Traditionally, blends act to both balance coffees from different regions while also attenuating bad flavours which may be present. Coffees which pair well often occupy different areas of the flavour spectrum. For example, a berry-like and floral coffee from Ethiopia would pair well with a chocolate-like and nutty coffee from Brazil. Blends have complex flavour profiles which when combined are greater than the sum of their parts.

Single origin coffees are relatively new to the West. Many covet the single origin. Its allure offers tantalisingly diverse and saturated flavours between one region to the next. However, as attractive as this may seem, single origins are notoriously inconsistent, and they require a lot more effort to produce a well-balanced and consistent extraction.   

Well – what’s the right choice for me? Like most decisions in coffee, there isn’t so much a right or wrong answer here. Personal preference and experience will be the prevailing factor of how you should act. If you’re relatively new to the world of coffee extraction, a blend will be more forgiving to mistakes with a wider margin of error. And with some practice under your belt and a penchant for exploration, the single origin awaits your next coffee inspired adventure.

Rare, Medium Rare or Well Done

Just like a delicious steak, coffee can be prepared to varying degrees. These roasting levels are referred to as light, medium and dark. The coffee you buy will fall somewhere within or between these roast levels. What you choose will depend on your flavour preferences and experience with coffee making.

Lighter coffees provide the most diverse and nuanced flavours of all the roasts. Yet unfortunately, just like the single origin, they require a certain level of expertise to provide a consistently balanced extraction. Lighter coffees are less soluble and tend toward more sour, salty and brighter flavours if not attenuated carefully.

As the coffee develops a darker roast the chemical structure of the bean begins to change and degrade. This makes the coffee more soluble, which results in more soluble material (i.e. coffee) in your cup. More astringent and bitter flavours can be present but making a balanced coffee at medium to dark roast levels is easier than their lighter counterparts. However, BEWARE: dark roasts begin to lose origin flavours and will start to take on characteristics of the roasting process. While this isn’t necessarily bad, some roasters can use this to cover up poor-quality beans.

To pre-grind, or not to pre-grind, That is the question!

When you purchase coffee from your local supermarket, café or roaster, they will often provide an option to grind the coffee to your desired brewing method. At first this may seem like a convenient time saving hack. But, at what cost we ask?! At what cost?!

In our testing we found the flavour of pre-ground coffee began to diminish after twenty-four hours, and after a whole week the coffee lacked much of its original sweetness where it began to lose the regional flavour characteristics that can a make a coffee so special. Others have found some coffees can start to stale up to eleven minutes after being ground! This is not good news if you’re purchasing your coffee supply weeks in advance.

Stop!’, you might shout.
What am I supposed to do? Buy my own grinder? They’re expensive and there are so many to choose from!’.

Don’t stress! Introducing podly’s affordable and adjustable manual hand coffee grinder. Now you can save your money while still enjoying the experience of freshly ground coffee.

And don’t forget to check out our tutorials on reusable coffee pods which detail the optimal grind size for your coffee extraction. You’ll find these on the ‘How-To’ tab on the product pages.

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