How To Tell The Difference Between A Great Coffee Bean vs A Bad Bean

Did you know that a coffee bean is actually a fruit?

When most people think of coffee, they think about the beverage in their mugs. Black, blonde, with milk, with sugar, decaf versus a strong brew.

The origin of coffee beans are typically forgotten about in the quest to get the perfect cup of coffee, but a great coffee bean can make all the difference in the world.

For coffee shops buying wholesale beans, finding the right company to work with can change your entire business. You want good beans, but how do you identify them? What does a bad bean do to your coffee?

For the bean brewers out there, let’s take a quick look at the differences between a good coffee bean and a bad one.

Your Basic Coffee Bean

It’s brown, it’s small, and it smells heavenly.

There are four major types of coffee beans: Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsa.

Arabica and Robusta beans are the most common beans available in the U.S. market, making up the majority of brews and blends available in both coffee shops and supermarkets.

Arabica beans lean towards the lighter side of coffee, with more fruity notes and less of that bitter taste. Robusta beans are typically used in espresso blends, so they’re on the bolder end of the flavor scale.

Liberica and Excelsa beans are rarer, grown only in the Philipines and Southeast Asia, respectively. These beans aren’t typical of American supermarket shelves or coffee shops, but the smoky flavor of Liberica and the tart, fruity flavor of Exelsa make them enticing coffees to try.

Arabica beans are what most people will see when they’re buying beans: that small oval shape with a split down the middle. Robusta beans are more spherical and are almost twice as flavorful as Arabica beans. 

There’s no definite origin of coffee beans being brewed for the delicious drink that’s so favored by Americans these days, but coffee’s roots lie in a time before the 15th century.

Initially consumed as a drink brewed from the ‘berries’ of coffee shrubs, the energizing power of this drink evolved into what we know as coffee today. 

No matter what kind of coffee beans you get, all beans share one characteristic; they grow in warm climates with plenty of rain. 

It can take 7 to 9 months before a coffee cherry is ready for harvest. When those cherries are picked and split open, they reveal two seeds (Arabica) or a single seed (Robusta.)

A Great Coffee Bean Starts at Harvest

Growth conditions will naturally dictate the quality of a coffee bean harvest, but it’s the harvest itself that will affect the ending result.

Because the coffee beans are growing inside a fruit, there’s not always a guarantee that a shiny red coffee bean cherry will hold one or two pristine beans. And there’s never a guarantee that all the beans are ripe at the time of harvest.

Unripe or defective coffee beans have the most impact on a great cup of coffee. As part of the coffee harvesting process, beans are sorted, either by hand, conveyer assistance, or by machine.

The use of machinery, such as a conveyor belt or mechanical separating apparatus, makes the coffee sorting process a lot faster, but these two types of sorting are no match for a human being. 

Coffee experts can spot unripe beans by their color and shape. Unroasted beans are typically a pale green color, but a green coffee bean doesn’t mean it’s good to go.

Unripe beans carry a green color with some obvious defects: shriveled beans, blighted, black beans. These are all signs that a bean is unripe or is defective, and they’re most often removed from the process as soon as they’re spotted.

But human capabilities can only go so far, and these unripened or defective beans may make it through initial sorting. 

A Bad Bean Can Change Your Brew

Whether you buy wholesale roasted or unroasted beans, a bad coffee bean can change the taste of your coffee. 

One or two bad beans won’t have as much of an effect as a handful of beans, so getting a little bit of training under your belt to spot those bad beans can help eliminate a sour or especially bitter taste from a brewed cup of coffee.

Look for shriveled or blighted beans in a batch of unroasted coffee. Beans without the coffee bean’s normal seam down the middle are immature and won’t make for a good cup of coffee.

The best coffee bean depends on the type of coffee bean it is; Arabica beans are traditionally that half-domed, oval shape with a seam down the middle. Robusta beans are small, seedlike beans. 

These beans are the best for roasting and then freshly grinding it for a delicious cup of coffee. Getting into the habit of sifting through your beans can help eliminate the bad beans that may make their way into your wholesale shipment.

Count on a Wholesale Company You Can Trust

If you’ve been in the coffee business for a long time, you may have discovered that certain wholesaler businesses tend to sell more unripe beans in their packages.

Human error exists, so it’s nearly impossible to avoid all those bad coffee beans out there. But with scrupulous attention to detail, a great coffee bean company that pays strict attention to their beans and blends can change your coffee business for the better.

If you’re looking for exquisite new blends and beautiful unroasted coffee beans from around the world, we can help. 

Our company was founded in 2009 as part of a dream of connecting great coffee growers with great coffee sellers. We import our beans from farms all over the world so everyone can experience a great cup of coffee.

With inscrutable standards on each one of our beans, we send the best of the best to your establishment, so all your customers can experience the tantalizing tastes of the world’s best coffee.

Contact us today for more information.