The best coffee beans for all preferences in a large comparison
In our big coffee bean test, we present our current favorites for 2021. Good coffee is more than just a wake-up call in the morning or a loyal companion throughout the day. A high-quality coffee convinces with personality and a unique taste. More and more people appreciate this, but which coffee bean is the right one? With the seemingly endless range on offer, it is not always easy to find the best coffees. To make it easier for you to choose, we present our current favorites here.
Remember: You can always check our shop page for our recommended products that we tested ourselves. We’ve tested espresso makers, espresso machines both fully automatic and portafilters, coffee beans and coffee utensils.
The ideal coffee beans for fully automatic machines
The fully automatic machine is very popular for a good reason: Freshly ground beans, quick preparation and uncomplicated use once the machine is set up. Therefore, especially in the office, many use the practical technology, since its everyday operation does not require much effort.
We have written a detailed article about this topic here:
The perfect coffee beans for portafilter
For a particularly full-bodied coffee and the best aroma, many only consider the classic, the portafilter machine. Many coffee enthusiasts do not shy away from the relatively complex procedure. The preparation in the portafilter is celebrated and is a not insignificant part of the pleasure.
The best filter coffees
Coffee preparation in the filter is still one of the most popular options. Be it with the filter machine, as found in many households, or with the classic hand filter, which is also enjoying great popularity again.
Read more about Filter Coffee:
Great fair trade and direct trade coffees
When choosing their coffee, more and more people place great value on the conditions of its harvest and its trade. The Fairtrade seal can provide an important reference point if the trade relationships and working conditions under which the product reaches you are particularly important to you. With coffees that carry a corresponding seal, the aim is to help improve the situation of coffee farmers. In direct trade, as the name suggests, negotiations are carried out directly with coffee farmers. In this way, the detour via often expensive intermediaries can be avoided. In this way, the smallholders themselves receive more of the profit and thus more security.
Read more about fair trade and direct trade:
The best organic coffees
The possibility of purchasing coffee beans from 100% organic cultivation, ie from manageable mixed plantations, is now also very widespread. The plantations manage without the use of artificial pesticides and are still harvested by hand. The advantages of sustainable cultivation are manifold and accordingly the following of organic coffees is growing steadily. Increasingly, many people attach importance to the fact that their coffee was obtained in a sustainable way.
Read more about organic coffee:
Why this coffee bean test?
We carried out our coffee bean test because there are so many exciting new brands and products that the coffee drinker can quickly lose track of things. We would like to provide more clarity and offer you an orientation that you can use according to your personal preferences because we love coffee and are convinced that there is something for every taste.
For many people, coffee is one thing above all: functional. The caffeine and energy supplier for the day. The natural equivalent of the energy drink, so to speak. So far so practical.
But once you have enjoyed an original Italian espresso or a perfectly foamed latte macchiato, such an aroma will simply be remembered. The curiosity about the brown bean grows and develops into a passion. It was the same for us: with every further coffee we tested and every further preparation method that we learned to appreciate, our enthusiasm for coffee grew.
Now, we are always on the lookout for new preparation tricks. We want to constantly discover new flavor compositions and find unusual flavors. We encounter many coffees that inspire us and that we want to share with you.
How do we test?
As much as coffee is a matter of taste – which is known to be debatable – there are some quality features to distinguish a very good product from a less good one. We have based ourselves on characteristics such as the price-performance ratio, the roast or, of course, the aroma in order to find out which types of coffee actually offer the best beans.
Of course, good preparation is required for a fair assessment of the coffee beans. The enjoyment also depends on the right equipment. That is why we attach great importance to creating the ideal conditions for our coffee bean test. For us, this means using only the best products in the preparation so that we can get the most out of every bean.
The coffee beans are ground with the Mazzer Mini Electronic A, a professional coffee grinder made in Italy. We also rely on the highest quality for the preparation of the coffee. The devices of our choice have already proven themselves in many tests. This is how we carry out the fully automatic test with the Jura J6. When testing the best portafilter coffees, we use a La Marzocco Linea Mini.
In all other tests (Fairtrade or Direct, organic products and Italian coffees), we compare the different types of preparation with one another. In this way, we can find out whether one or the other coffee tastes particularly good, for example, if it is prepared in a certain way.
What makes a good coffee?
The price-performance ratio
As simple as it may sound, you usually have to pay more for a high-quality coffee than for an off-the-shelf product. Quality has its price. The price per kilogram is useful for orientation. Our experience has shown that if you invest less than ten euros, you shouldn’t expect a premium product as a rule.
Discount prices are therefore not a suitable reference. However, as is well known, exceptions confirm the rule. Quality coffees are usually 20 to 25 euros (per kg). Through offers, we also found one or the other coffee for our test that meets high standards and is still available for less than 20 euros. So it’s always worth keeping your eyes open.
The perfect roast is another quality feature of high-quality coffee. Among other things, the roasting time has a great influence on the quality and taste of the coffee. Long-term roasting, for example, makes it much milder and therefore more tasty for many people.
The roasting container also affects how the aroma of the coffee beans can develop. Roasting in the drum has proven to be particularly gentle on the beans and evenly. Drum roasting prevents the bean from charring on the outside while it is still raw on the inside. If, on the other hand, the coffee tastes sour-bitter or even burnt, the coffee beans were probably neither gently roasted nor at mild temperatures.
Unfortunately, this is often the case, especially with industrial products. The so-called shock roasting takes only a few minutes. In addition, the bean is exposed to temperatures of up to 600 degrees. Unfortunately, the result is often less beneficial.
The acid content in coffee is an important component and taste factor. Some love a noticeable degree of acidity in their coffee. A certain tingling that is reminiscent of carbonic acid and rounds off the overall taste. Others are more sensitive to the acid. They prefer a milder taste of their coffee. Concrete statements about the acid content are therefore an important point of reference for many coffee fans.
If you want to be on the safe side, you can use the following values as a guide: Arabica beans generally contain more acid than Robusta, light roasts more than dark and highland coffee more than lowland coffee. Regardless of personal taste, a very high acid content speaks for inferior bean quality. For example, a coffee that tastes really sour can usually be traced back to deficiencies in the roasting process, which of course damages its aroma (see section “Roasting”).
Hardly any other natural product offers such a wide range of flavors as coffee. The descriptions range from flowery, sweet and fruity to nutty or spicy. In fact, hundreds of different flavors develop during the preparation of the brown bean. What distinguishes a quality product is the harmonious interplay of the many different taste nuances.
Although one can and should note the versatility of the coffee, the overall composition must not suffer from it. Good coffee impresses with its complex, yet very clear aroma.
Read more about aroma below:
Another indication of high bean quality is the crema – the crown, so to speak, on the coffee.
For a fair assessment of the bean quality, some basic rules must be taken to heart: The degree of grinding of the powder is just as important as the temperature of the water, the throughput speed or the correctly executed tamping, the compression of the powder in the portafilter, as well.
This enables a good assessment of the quality of the actual coffee bean to be made. The color and structure of the crema then provide good information about whether you are looking at a high-quality product or not. Hazelnut brown should be the perfect crema. If it is too light, this indicates older coffee beans whose aroma has already evaporated. If it is too dark, you should perhaps readjust the grind or the amount of powder.
The crema shouldn’t be too runny either. If you can stir with the spoon without it dissolving into air, then you are correct. If, on the other hand, hardly any crema forms, this indicates a lower quality of the product.
Hardly any coffee lover has exactly the same preferences as another. As far as the preparation technology is concerned, coffee enthusiasts often have very different ideas. If some swear by the fully automatic machine, for some there is nothing but a portafilter and others have always dedicated themselves to the good, old filter machine.
In fact, the choice of coffee beans also shows that not all types are always equally suitable for every type of preparation. So if you have a favorite technique, you should also choose the right coffee for the best taste result.
For example, finer types of coffee such as 100% Arabica beans are particularly suitable for filter machines. Some compositions are specially designed for use in fully automatic machines and then there are of course specialties such as latte macchiato or cappuccino, for which some coffee beans are particularly recommended and others less. Therefore, we have also taken into account the special suitability in the assessment.
You can also find our top 10 coffee beans directly in our shop. So you have some of the currently most popular, best-selling and best-rated coffee roasts from the diverse roast market range at a glance.
Read more about crema:
Whether you use a fully automatic machine or portafilter, value fair trade or sustainable cultivation or your espresso must definitely come from Italy: There is a corresponding counterpart for every preference, or rather the right coffee for every cup. Our coffee bean test and the selection of our top products should serve as a guide and orientation aid, so that everyone can find their individual favorites. We hope you enjoy the preparation and tasting.