Any serious java drinker knows, coffee beans purchased from an independent retail roaster command a higher price than supermarket brands. Naturally, as with anything else, you get what you pay for. Having tasted caffeine-rich brew from most major competitors, including Peet’s®, Starbucks®, Seattle’s Best Coffee® and a slew of others, I prefer buying whole beans online from a roaster, namely Portland, Oregon-based Stumptown Coffee Roasters. But that’s just the start to a good cup of Joe.
There is a difference between the coffee on the shelf at a big box store versus freshly roasted. Consumers have a wider variety of coffee beans to choose from at a roaster, which enhances the overall taste right from the start. For instance, bourbon coffee varietals, available at most retail roasters, have an earthy flavor and slightly reddish hue after brewing. Many retail chains don’t carry sophisticated blends containing bourbon beans. Speaking of roasting, remember, French roast is not the only flavor in the world. How about trying a Vienna, espresso or medium roast? Hey, the world is your oyster, or in this case, your coffee bean.
As for the taste between freshly roasted and store bought, consider this. I cannot drink 7-Eleven®, Dunkin Donuts, Eight O’clock®, or most deli coffees black, because of the bitterness and acidity. I always have to drown the bite with half and half or something similar and plenty of sugar. Yet, I can sip the more expensive coffee without a sweetener and little milk or cream. In fact, the finer Joes often look like strong tea after brewing. But make no mistake; the amount of caffeine is strong enough to keep you going all day and more.
Though coffee roasters clearly offer the broadest assortment to shoppers, price may be a prohibitive factor at checkout. To be blunt, good coffee, single source or blend, is pricey and generally run anywhere from $13.00 to $28.00 per 12 ounces. Most major contemporary growers are located in South and Central America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific. I have a preference for Brazilian and Colombian coffee, no matter the varietal or growing location. But if you already haven’t done so, check out some freshly roasted coffee and see the difference for yourself. If not, 7-Eleven® is always open.
Video: How to Brew Coffee in an AeroPress -Stumptown Coffee Roasters/YouTube
Photos: own work