Chances are that you will be welcoming family and friends into your home this month for the holidays. You'll be sharing stories and laughs over warm cups of coffee. As a host or hostess you strive to offer the best experience for your guests. The coffee you serve your guests can be part of that great experience.
Don't get stuck in a rut of buying the same coffee over and over again because it is comfortable. Adventure out and present your guests different coffees to suit their preferences. I know, I know- easier said than done. Buying coffee can be confusing. Whole bean coffee, pre-ground coffee, breakfast blend, dark roast- the list goes on and on with the all the variables that exist when purchasing coffee!
Whether you are purchasing coffee for your upcoming guests, or are just overwhelmed with all the choices on the shelf here are some quick basic tips from one of BUNN's very own coffee gurus, Doug Bishop. Doug is a Director of Product Management and samples different coffees everyday in the Beverage Lab. (Yes, there is a Beverage Lab! Read more about Doug in his Bio below.)
Whole Bean or Pre-Ground Coffee
The first choice you usually encounter when purchasing coffee is would you like to purchase pre-ground or whole bean. If you don't have a grinder, you will probably want to stick with pre-ground coffee. Coffee is a perishable item that can lose freshness once a bag (or can) is opened. Ground coffee can go stale within a few days compared to whole bean coffee which may take a few weeks. In whole bean form coffee has a more protective barrier which allows the coffee to remain fresher longer. For freshest coffee remember that the more recent a grind the fresher the coffee.
Size of bag or can
Coffee can stale fairly quickly once opened, so you may also want to consider the amount of coffee you purchase. If you only plan on brewing coffee once a week, a large bag of coffee would not be the best solution. Instead, a small quantity bought close to when you plan on brewing would ensure freshness and great taste.
Taste/Roasts of coffee
If you are looking to purchase some coffee that is pleasing to your guests, or you want to try something new Doug offers some helpful suggestions about roasts to try.
If you or your guests prefer a milder coffee, look for Breakfast blends, or Colombia coffees, or Hawaiian coffees. These coffees are usually milder in nature and can have hints of fruit and floral notes.
If a bolder cup of coffee is more your style, look for darker roast coffees and espresso roasts. Darker roast coffees are usually characterized as smoky and spicy.
If you aren't sure if you prefer a mild or bolder coffee, a good starting point for trying different roasts is to look at foods you will be serving with your coffee. Contrasting flavors work well. For instance, if you plan on drinking your coffee with a sugary, sweet breakfast, a darker roast coffee would pair nicely. Darker roasted coffees also work well with chocolate desserts.
Light to medium roast coffees, pair well with breakfast foods such as, oatmeal, toast, omelets and coffee cake.
Ethiopian, Costa Rican and other coffees that have fruit and citrus flavor notes, are excellent with tarts, blueberry muffins and fruit scones.
If you need additional pointers for purchasing coffee we suggest stopping by your local coffee shops or roaster. Baristas and roasters will be able to offer you their suggestions. They may even let you taste test some coffee prior to purchasing.
Doug Bishop Bio
Doug Bishop, Director of Product Management at BUNN, leads a core team of engineers, designers, documenters and manufacturing engineers in developing new coffee brewing equipment. He has been in the coffee business for over 25 years. He began his career as the Service Manager for an Office Coffee Service in Central Illinois. Doug trained to be a Roast Master when the business acquired a commercial 12kg roaster. He spent the next 3 years passionately expanding his craft. Even after changing jobs and coming to work for BUNN, he continued to roast coffee for the OCS Company for another year. In 1999 he came to work for BUNN and has held the position of Engineering Technician, International Project Manager and his current position. His proudest achievement is co-developing the trifecta, a commercial BUNN machine that unlocks the nuances of coffee by an air infusion single cup process. Doug has also been actively involved with the Specialty Coffee Association of America, volunteering his time during conferences and assisting in the Golden Cup Fundamentals classes.