Did you know that you can actually buy live fish on Amazon?! Real, live Koi fish for your pond! Amazon truly is an online marketplace with just about everything for sale. So it may come as no surprise that you can also buy everyone’s favorite bean (well, technically, a coffee bean is actually a seed) on Amazon, too!
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Why Should You Buy Coffee on Amazon
Amazon has an enormous selection of coffee that ships directly to your door— quickly. Amazon also offers subscriptions on many of its caffeinated products, meaning if you sign up and receive an automatic order every month, you can save up to 15%!
Benefits of Buying a Coffee on Amazon
Buying your coffee on Amazon, as opposed to your local supermarket, has a few pretty huge benefits. The first being variety. There is a massive range of coffees on Amazon — from light roasts to dark roasts and everything in between.
Hundreds of different brands offering whole beans, ground coffee, instant, drip bags, K-cups, and even unroasted green coffee — everything! There are also many organic, fair-trade, and rainforest alliance options.
And we haven’t even mentioned one of the best parts yet — in many cases, Amazon offers free and fast delivery. Fresh coffee delivered to your door? Yes, please.
Pros and Cons of Buying a Coffee on Amazon
- Huge selection
- Fast and often free delivery
- Many inexpensive options
- You can’t smell or see the coffee before buying
- While there are a few, there aren’t many specialty coffee options available
- You can’t speak to a Barista about the coffee and get recommendations as you could in a cafe
How to Choose the Best Coffee on Amazon
While Amazon may not be known as a place to buy the world’s best coffee, armed with the right knowledge, and a bit of determination, excellent coffee can be found on the mega online shopping platform. You just need to know what to look for.
Types of Coffee Beans
First things first — you’ll be wanting 100% Arabica coffee beans.
This goes for any kind of coffee you choose — instant, whole beans or K-Cups — Arabica is the only way to go. Let’s quickly look at why this is so important.
There are two main species of coffee that we consume — Arabica and Robusta. And while they are both coffee, their growing and flavor characteristics vary wildly from one another.
Arabica coffee makes up around 70% of worldwide coffee production. It is desirable thanks to its smoothness, its varied flavor profiles, and sweetness. There are many different varieties of coffee that fall under the Arabica species — from Gesha to Bourbon, and from Catuai to Typica. Arabica coffee is more susceptible to disease, harder to grow and to harvest, and because of that, more expensive than Robusta coffee. Arabica coffees can vary in flavor from fruity to floral to chocolatey and everything in between.
Robusta coffee is much easier to grow than its fickle distant family member, Arabica. Robusta contains a high caffeine content, and low levels of sugar, which contribute to its bitter flavor. Robusta coffees often make their way into low-quality blends and are often roasted very dark in order to hide their natural flavors. The flavor profile for a typical Robusta coffee is earthy, nutty and bitter.
Under the species of coffee, Arabica, we have the variety. There are many different varieties of Arabica coffee, and each variety has its own unique character and flavor profile. Variety is one of the key factors that decide how a coffee will taste.
Common varieties include Bourbon, Typica and Catuai— but there are over 100 more.
Many large scale coffee companies will not display this information on their bags. This is usually because their coffee is either a blend of many different varieties or because the variety of their coffee is unknown even to them.
Type of Roast
The roast degree of a coffee, either light, medium, or dark, is another huge factor in deciding how a coffee will taste in the cup. These different degrees usually refer to the coffee color, which is the result of how long the coffee beans have spent in the roasting machine.
Just like when you cook a potato in the oven, the longer it cooks, the more roasted it tastes. Generally, this is also the case for coffee. The darker a coffee is roasted, the more ‘roast’ flavor it will have. Roasty flavors, when it comes to coffee, might be earthy, bitter, burnt and ashy with notes of cereal and grains.
Light roasted coffees are often fruity and vibrant with crisp acidity. They should have very little to no roasty flavors. Many specialty coffee roasters choose to roast their coffee light as to allow the true flavors of the coffee to shine through, without being tainted by generic roasty flavors. Light roasts are common in Nordic countries like Norway and Denmark.
A medium roasted coffee is generally roasted with sweetness in mind. Because the sweetness in a coffee bean is brought out by the roasting process and caramelization of sugars, a good medium roast will be sweet, with a little of that roasty flavor, but not so much as to take over the coffee itself.
Dark roasted coffee will have spent the most time in the roasting machine out of the coffees we’ve mentioned. Dark roasted coffees often have a very strong aroma and can be visually oily. The good end of a dark roasted coffees flavor spectrum might include chocolate, caramel and possibly some dark berries, while the bad end might include burnt, bitter and ashy with hints of tobacco.
Types of Brewing Methods
Regardless of your chosen brew method, Amazon has you covered. Whether you’re rocking a premium Keurig coffee maker and need K-Cups or a dual coffee maker that has two brewing systems, you’ll certainly be able to find what you’re looking for.
K-Cups and Pods
There are hundreds of options on Amazon when it comes to K-cups — from The Original Doughnut Shop Blend to famed chef Wolfgang Puck’s own Organic Mornings coffee blend. And because each K-cup has an airtight seal, they will stay fresh even if they get held up during delivery on their way to you.
The process of making instant coffee powder is actually pretty cool. Check this out — the coffee beans are roasted, then ground before being brewed in a huge batch. This brewed coffee is then heated until it reduces down to a thick liquid extract. The extract is spread out in a thin layer and frozen before being broken up into granules and dehydrated. Hence the term freeze-dried!
As of late, there has been a growing number of premium and specialty instant coffees. These instant coffees are often made in smaller batches using better quality coffee beans, meaning they have a far better flavor than the standard Nescafe. If you aren’t a fan of the flavor of instant coffee but love that convenience, the rich flavor of certain instant coffees might convert you!
Whole coffee beans are a great option because they can be used for a variety of different brew methods. They also come in a range of roast styles, from light to dark roasts, depending on what you’re using them for. Most filter coffee roasts are between light and medium on the roast spectrum and are good for a French press, pour-over or automatic drip coffee maker. While darker roasts can also be used for filter brew methods, they are usually used as a coffee for brewing espresso.
One of the more recent brew methods to pop-up lately, is filter coffee bags. Filter coffee bags are somewhere between a tea bag and a pour-over coffee in terms of convenience and flavor. These are an excellent option for a fast pour-over coffee with no equipment — no need to control the flow rate of your coffee with a pour-over kettle — all you need is hot water and a mug. Perfect for making coffee at your work desk or bringing on a camping trip.
Country of Origin
While many coffee bags won’t include the variety of coffee that lies within, most do mention the country of origin. The country of origin simply refers to the country that the coffee was grown in. This is not a huge indicator of how the coffee will taste, but it will give you a ballpark. For example, coffees from Kenya are known to be very fruity, while coffees from Brazil often lean more toward the chocolatey side of things.
Popular origins include Colombia, Brazil, Ethiopia, Costa Rica and Kenya.
Blend or Single Origin
Coffee, whether it’s a bag of whole beans or a K-Cup, is either a blend or single origin.
A bag of coffee marked as being a blend means that the coffee inside is from more than one place. Coffee roasters often do this— combine different coffees in whatever portions, to create unique flavors not usually found in a single origin. It can also be used to cover up the negative flavors of one coffee or pronounce a positive in another.
Amazon offers many blends, including Stumptown Coffee Roasters’ Hair Bender Blend, which is a mix of Indonesian, Latin American and African coffees, and SF Bay Coffee’s Breakfast Blend, which blends three different coffee varieties from Central America.
The term single origin can be a little vague. A single-origin coffee might refer to a coffee that was all grown on one single farm, by one grower. It may also refer to coffees from a single coffee growing region in the same country, or it might even simply refer to coffees that are grown in the same country. Speaking very generally, the more expensive the coffee is, the closer you’ll get to a truly single origin, grown on the same farm, kind of coffee. For more information on blends vs single-origin coffee, see the section below!
Love to drink a delicious cup of coffee at night but can’t sleep properly if you do? You’re not alone! Luckily, there is a decaf. Because the process of removing caffeine from coffee gets pretty complicated, it’s probably best to let the experts from Swiss water decaf do the explaining in the video below.
Pre-Ground Coffee or Whole Beans
A decent coffee grinder is the best investment one can possibly make (at least as far as coffee is concerned!). A coffee grinder will allow you to grind your coffee moments before brewing— meaning you get to enjoy the aromas and the flavors at their fullest.
But if you’re not ready to take the plunge into full-on coffee geekery and buy your own coffee grinder, you can always go for pre-ground coffee. For best results using pre-ground coffee, make sure you only buy as much as you can use in one week and store your coffee in a coffee canister. A coffee canister preserves your coffee’s freshness, keeping it delicious for as long as possible.
Organic coffee refers to coffee that has been produced and processed without the use of chemicals, such as chemical fertilizers or pesticides. This results in a coffee that is not only healthier to consume, but also better for the land, the air, and local water sources.
Many organic coffees are certified and labeled as USDA organic, which means that those producers have met the guidelines as set by the USDA, and have paid the fee for the certification. But it isn’t only the coffees with this certification that are organic. Many coffee producers run organic coffee farms, but lack the funds to pay for the certification.
Enjoy your good-for-the-earth organic coffee with a dash of the best vegan coffee creamer and smile, knowing that you are helping the planet!
All coffees are not created equal when it comes to caffeine content. For an ultra-caffeinated option, check out Death Wish Coffee Co’s Organic Blend, or for an excellent coffee to use in a strong bulletproof coffee, you can’t go wrong with Bulletproof’s own French Kick whole bean coffee.
After coffee cherries have been picked— before they can be roasted and brewed, they need to be dried. The way in which they are dried is known as the processing method.
Coffee processing can be done in three different ways (there are actually more than three ways, but let’s say three as these are by far the most common)— natural, honey or washed.
The natural process, also known as the dry process, is known as such thanks to the fact that it doesn’t use water. Coffees that are processed using the natural process are first picked and then spread out on ether concrete patios or raised coffee beds in order to sundry. This drying process can take up to six weeks to complete.
During this drying process, the fruit, still completely encasing the coffee seed within, imparts its flavors and sugars on the coffee seed, resulting in a very sweet, fruity, and often slightly fermented and funky tasting coffee in the cup. Naturally processed coffees are common in Ethiopia, Brazil, and other origins where water is less easy to come by.
Pulped Natural or Honey
Honey processing, also known as pulped natural coffee, was developed in Costa Rica and is the middle ground between washed and naturally processed coffee. The honey processing method has three levels, which are defined by the amount of fruit and sticky mucilage left on the coffee seed during drying. The three levels are black, red and yellow— black being the closest to a naturally processed coffee and yellow being closest to a washed coffee.
Honey processed coffees are generally very fruity without the fermented ‘funk’ that many natural coffees have.
Unlike natural or honey processed coffees, washed coffee has all of its fruit removed using water before being dried in the sun. This process of removing the fruit and the mucilage with water results in a very clean tasting coffee, not influenced by the fruit or the sticky sweet mucilage.
Most bags of coffee will usually have tasting notes listed on the packaging. These are the approximate flavors you can expect to taste while drinking this particular coffee. Some flavor notes are more obvious than others. Some Ethiopian coffees literally taste like a mouth full of strawberries, whereas other coffees, the notes might be more approximate.
If you get a bag of coffee and it’s lacking the flavors you like, you could always use syrup to flavor it. Coffee syrups come in different tastes, and some are quite delicious.
The most common weights for a bag of coffee is between 250g (8.8oz) and 340g (12oz). It is possible to find bigger 1kg (2.2lb) bags for those needing a large amount of good stuff.
Ground Coffee vs Whole Beans
A bag of coffee will come either as whole beans or pre-ground. While pre-ground coffee is by far the easiest option, especially if you don’t have a coffee grinder, whole beans will offer you a far tastier cup of coffee. Whole beans stay fresh for longer than ground coffee, which loses much of its flavor shortly after it is ground.
How to Brew the Best Coffee
There are dozens of excellent ways of brewing coffee at home. One of the all-time favorites would have to be the French press. Today, let’s look at how to brew a delicious French press coffee using Stumptown Coffee Roasters’ Hundred Mile Blend, which can be found on Amazon. This is a sweet organic blend of African, South and Central American coffees with notes of jam, toffee and brown sugar.
This recipe is really nice and simple and is super repeatable. It tends to bring out the fruity vibes in most coffees, so it is perfect for the Hundred Mile Blend. Let’s brew half a liter of delicious French press coffee!
- French press
- 33g coffee
- Boiling water
- Scales (optional)
Step 1 – Boil the water
First, put your kettle on to boil. Be sure to boil enough water to brew your coffee, as well as enough to preheat your French press and warm up your mug.
Step 2 – Weigh and grind your coffee
While you are waiting for the kettle to boil, weigh out 33g of coffee (a 1:15 coffee to water ratio) and then grind it to a medium grind size— similar to what you would use for a pour-over. If you are using pre-ground coffee, you can skip this step and simply weigh out your coffee. If you aren’t using scales, there are around 5g of ground coffee in one tablespoon, so use 6-7 tablespoons.
Step 3 – Preheat everything
Next, we want to preheat everything. The French press, your mug or cup— even the spoon you’ll use to stir. This step may not seem very important, but what preheating does is it raises the overall temperature of the brew— meaning we’ll extract more from the coffee. So add some hot water to your French press, and your cup, and then place the spoon you’ll be using to stir in the cup, so it heats up a little too.
Step 4 – Brew
Empty out the preheated water from the French press and place it on the scale. Add the coffee to the French press and press tare, so the scale reads 0.00g. Press start on the timer and quickly add 500g of hot water. Make sure you are covering all of the coffee and that there are no dry chunks of coffee stuck to the bottom.
If there are, displace them with your spoon. Once all your water is added, you’ll notice that most of the coffee is floating at the top of the French press. This is ok. Don’t stir the coffee — just let it sit and do its thing.
Step 5 – Wait
Let the coffee steep for 4 minutes. Once 4 minutes have passed, give the coffee a stir. You’ll see most of the coffee grinds sink down to the bottom.
At this point, the coffee has done all it’s brewing. We’ll wait a couple more minutes to let the fine ground coffee particles sink down to the bottom. This will not only give us a clean, silt free cup of coffee; it will also give some time for the coffee cool down.
Step 6 – Plunge and serve
At 7 minutes on the timer, place the plunger in the French press and press it down very gently to around halfway. Pressing all the way down with the plunger will disturb the coffee at the bottom, allowing the coffee silt into the cup (which we don’t want!). Pour the coffee into your mug (or mugs, if you’re kind enough to share) and enjoy!
Does More Spending Mean More Quality
In short, yes. The more you spend, the better the coffee will be. And we’re not just talking flavor wise…
For a bag of coffee to be extremely cheap, many many sacrifices must be made. Not only are the beans going to be of sub-par quality, but the people who grew the coffee may not have been paid fairly for their hard work. Harsh pesticides and chemicals are often used in the production of low quality coffee, which can result in the contamination of local water supplies and soil.
Producing good coffee takes more work and more money in every part of the chain. From the way the farmers grow the coffee trees, to the way the coffee is transported and then finally the way the coffee is stored and roasted by the coffee roaster.
To ensure that you are buying a delicious coffee that is good for the people growing it and also good for the environment, either choose a roaster that is well known for paying their farmers, or choose a fair-trade labeled coffee.
Do’s and Don’ts When Buying a Coffee on Amazon
- Do look into the coffee and where it comes from before purchasing. Direct trade and fair trade are two good things to look for.
- Do choose organic coffee. Better taste and better for the earth!
- Do go for a subscription. If you find a coffee you like on Amazon, you can choose a subscription. Just like a magazine subscription, you’ll pay a certain amount and have the coffee shipped to you automatically. You can save a good amount of money this way, too.
- Don’t take the flavor notes too seriously. If what you taste doesn’t match up with the oddly specific tasting notes on a bag— apple pie with cinnamon sugar— that’s ok. Just enjoy your coffee!
- Don’t order too much at once. Order as much whole bean coffee as you can use within a month, maximum. Shipping is fast and often free.
How can you tell a good coffee bean?
While it is impossible to tell if coffee will be good without actually tasting it, there are a couple of things you can look for that might give a decent clue.
First, look for details. The more information the roaster has about the coffee, the higher the chance is that the coffee will be good. Here we’re looking for the origin, the growing region and coffee variety— with plus points for the altitude at which the coffee was grown. Just displaying these things shows that the roaster cares enough about his or her coffee to know this much information about the coffee.
We’re also looking for the date that the coffee was roasted. Coffee within one month of roasting is preferable.
How long do coffee beans last?
A bag of unopened coffee beans can stay tasty for around 2-3 months. Once the bag has been opened, try to use it within 2 weeks. Store the coffee away from direct sunlight and heat.
Is organic coffee healthier?
Organic coffee uses no chemicals during its production— meaning that by drinking organic coffee, you can be sure that you’re not ingesting any of these chemicals. Organic coffee can also contain higher levels of antioxidants.
Whether you’re looking for whole coffee beans, ground coffee, K-Cups or Pods, Amazon is sure to have something to suit you. The selection is absolutely massive, so use this guide and find the perfect coffee for you!
Photos from: Vadymvdrobot / depositphotos.com, AndriiGorulko / depositphotos.com, mavoimages / depositphotos.com and Syda_Productions / depositphotos.com.