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Top 20 Must-Try Coffee Beans for Novice Brewmasters

Nathen O'Hara, Coffee Addict Writer


Guide to top 20 exquisite coffee beans for enthusiasts.

7 min read


    The world of coffee offers an endless journey of discovery for the budding brewmaster. The allure of a perfect brew begins with selecting the right coffee beans, which play the pivotal role in defining the flavor, aroma, and essence of your cup of java. As a novice in the mesmerizing realm of coffee brewing, understanding and choosing among the best coffee beans is essential. This guide will lead you through the top 20 must-try coffee beans that are guaranteed to elevate your brewing prowess and indulge your senses. Whether you seek the bold notes of a full-bodied roast or the subtle complexity of a lighter blend, our curated selection is designed to intrigue and inspire.

    Embark on this caffeinated quest to find your signature brew, and savor the rich tapestry of flavors that each of these coffee beans has to offer.

    Embark on the Coffee Bean Odyssey

    Before diving into our list of must-try coffee beans, it’s important to grasp the nuances that distinguish one bean from another. Coffee beans come in various types, each with its unique characteristics and flavor profiles. From the soil in which they’re grown to the meticulous roasting process, every step shapes the bean’s ultimate taste.

    Understanding Coffee Bean Origins

    The origin of a coffee bean greatly influences its flavor. Notable coffee-producing regions include:

    • Central and South America: Known for beans with a perfect balance of acidity and sweetness.
    • Africa: Offers beans with floral and fruity notes, often with a wine-like quality.
    • Asia: Beans from this region boast earthy, spicy flavors with full body.

    Discovering the Roast Profile

    • Light Roast: Accentuates the original flavors of the bean, ideal for tasting the subtle differences between regions.
    • Medium Roast: Offers a harmonious balance between acidity and body, with well-rounded flavors.
    • Dark Roast: Delivers a robust flavor with low acidity, emphasizing deeper, toasted notes.

    Each roast profile brings out different aspects of the coffee beans, making it crucial for novice brewmasters to experiment with various roasts to find what resonates with their palate.

    The Novice Brewmaster’s Bean Selection

    Here are the top 20 coffee beans every novice brewmaster should try. These beans have been chosen for their distinct qualities and ability to illustrate the vast spectrum of coffee flavors.

    1. Ethiopian Yirgacheffe

    Home of the coffee cherry, Ethiopian beans are renowned for their bright acidity and vibrant, wine-like essence. Yirgacheffe coffee, in particular, shines with its floral and citrus notes.

    2. Colombian Supremo

    Colombian coffee is world-famous, and the Supremo grade presents the best in size, flavor, and quality. These beans provide a balanced cup with a mild flavor and a hint of nuttiness.

    3. Guatemalan Antigua

    Celebrated for its complex flavor and full body, Antigua coffee boasts spicy and chocolate notes, making it a favorite among coffee aficionados.

    4. Jamaican Blue Mountain

    Grown in a very exclusive region, Jamaican Blue Mountain is prized for its smooth, mild flavor and lack of bitterness. It’s often considered one of the most sought-after coffees in the world.

    5. Tanzanian Peaberry

    Peaberry beans are unique as they develop as a single seed. The result is a concentrated flavor. Tanzanian Peaberry offers a rich aroma with a lively acidity and hints of peach.

    6. Sumatra Mandheling

    From Indonesia, Sumatra Mandheling is loved for its syrupy, full body and earthy, chocolaty undertones. Its low acidity makes for a smooth cup.

    7. Brazilian Santos

    Brazil is the world’s largest coffee producer. Santos beans are popular for their lower acidity and bittersweet chocolate flavor profiles, ideal for espresso blends.

    8. Costa Rican Tarrazú

    These beans from the high-altitude regions of Costa Rica exhibit a full body with a robust flavor and crisp acidity. They often hold hints of apple and berry.

    9. Panama Boquete

    Boquete, a region in Panama, yields beans with a remarkable clarity of flavor, often featuring floral and citrus notes against a backdrop of sweetness like honey or chocolate.

    10. Hawaiian Kona

    This luxurious coffee is subtly sweet and is renowned for its smooth, rich flavor with nutty and buttery qualities, encapsulating the spirit of its tropical origin.

    11. Kenyan AA

    Kenyan AA coffee is bold in flavor with a high level of acidity. It is known for its fruit-forward characteristics and is often described as having a wine-like taste.

    12. Yemen Mocha

    Yemen’s rugged terrain produces coffee with a unique, wild profile. Yemen Mocha, in particular, comes with a distinctive chocolatey flavor intertwined with winey acidity.

    13. Indian Monsooned Malabar

    Subjected to the monsoon winds, these beans swell and mellow, resulting in a one-of-a-kind flavor profile that includes spicy notes and a smooth, earthy finish.

    14. Nicaraguan Jinotega

    Nicaragua’s Jinotega region is known for producing coffee with a sweet, caramel flavor profile. Often these beans possess a velvety texture and hints of vanilla.

    15. Papua New Guinea Sigri

    Reflecting a wild and unrefined taste akin to the island’s landscape, Sigri coffee has a ​rich, creamy consistency with notes of fruit and a moderate acidity.

    16. Ethiopian Harrar

    Another gem from Ethiopia, Harrar beans are sun-dried with the fruit still on, which instills the coffee with spiced fruit flavors often likened to dry red wine or blueberries.

    17. Sulawesi Toraja

    Sulawesi coffee is known for its low acidity and full-bodied richness. Toraja beans, in particular, offer a deep, brooding profile with hints of dark chocolate and ripe fruit.

    18. Zimbabwe AA

    Zimbabwean AA coffee is a hidden gem with a medium body, bright acidity, and flavors akin to those of Kenyan coffee, featuring a subtle wine-like aftertaste.

    19. Guatemala Huehuetenango

    Coming from another prominent Guatemalan region, Huehuetenango coffee carries notes of chocolate, fruit, and anise. It has a full body and is extremely well balanced.

    20. Peruvian Chanchamayo

    Peruvian coffee is often described as mild, with a gentle acidity. The coffee from the Chanchamayo region combines these attributes with a soft fruitiness and pleasing aroma.

    Brewing the Perfect Cup

    To ensure that the flavors of these world-class coffee beans shine through in your cup, consider the following brewing tips:

    • Grinding: Freshly ground beans yield the best flavor. Grind your beans to suit the brew method—a finer grind for espresso and a coarser grind for methods like French press.

    • Water Temperature: Ideal brewing temperatures range between 195°F and 205°F. Too hot and you risk burning the beans, too cool, and you may under-extract the flavors.

    • Water Quality: Use filtered water to avoid off-flavors caused by impurities or chemicals in tap water.

    • Brew Method: Experiment with different methods like pour-over, French press, or cold brew to discover how each technique influences the taste.

    • Ratio of Water to Coffee: Follow the golden ratio of about 1:17 (coffee to water) for a balanced cup. Adjust to suit your taste.

    Store with Care: Preserving Your Coffee Beans

    To ensure your coffee beans remain in peak condition, follow these storage tips to prevent flavor degradation:

    • Air-Tight Containers: Store your beans in an air-tight container to keep oxygen at bay.

    • Cool and Dark Place: Light and heat can damage your beans. Keep them in a cool, dark place like a pantry.

    • Avoid Fridge or Freezer: Despite common belief, cold storage can introduce moisture that is harmful to beans.

    • Consume Promptly: Coffee beans are best enjoyed within one month of roasting. Use them while they’re fresh for a superior cup.

    Conclusion: Elevating Your Coffee Experience

    Becoming a novice brewmaster is a journey filled with aroma, taste, and discovery. As you explore the diverse world of coffee, the top 20 coffee beans highlighted in this guide will serve as a compass, guiding you toward your personal coffee nirvana.

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    Exquisite coffee beans are the heart of every great brew, and mastering the art of selection and brewing is an art in itself. So, come forth, uncap the essence of these globally revered beans, and let each cup you craft be a testament to your evolving palate and brewing finesse. Indulge, experiment, and most importantly, savor each sip as you embark on this caffeinated odyssey.

    Nathen O'Hara, Coffee Addict Writer
    Nathen O'Hara

    About the Author Mission Statement: To bring the joy of coffee and writing together, the Coffee Addict Writer aims to