If you’re anything like me, coffee is what allows me to get through the day. Whether you are the sole provider for your family or a stay-at-home mom, your days are full of work and hard decisions. Sipping that perfect cup of coffee is what keeps me sane.
And when I say perfect, that includes a smooth coffee without that bitter or burnt flavor. But which coffee beans make the smoothest coffee?
The smoothest coffee is made from high-quality arabica coffee beans that are usually a medium roast. But these aren’t the only things to consider. Continue reading for some great tips on how to make the smoothest coffee.
Before we get into our top tips on making the smoothest coffee at home, let’s first discuss what we mean by “smooth” coffee.
How do we Define “Smooth?”
Smooth is one of the characteristics that is used to describe coffee. It refers to a balanced coffee and is void of any bitterness or aftertaste.
Many aspects affect the smoothness of coffee, such as the type of bean being used, the freshness of the beans, the grind size, and the brewing method used. All of which we will go into more detail later on in this article.
Why Are Some Coffees Bitter?
What makes some coffees taste bitter? It usually comes down to two things. You either have bad beans or flawed brewing methods. While bitterness is used to describe coffee often, it’s never considered good quality when it overpowers the other flavors of the coffee.
The type of coffee bean used in making the coffee plays a huge role in whether it will be bitter or not. While arabica beans are high in quality and taste, robusta coffee beans, especially if they are low-grade or an overly dark roasted bean, will always give you that bitter taste.
This is why we always recommend using high-quality arabica beans when striving for a delicious cup of smooth coffee.
Another reason your coffee may taste bitter deals with the grounded coffee being over-extracted. Extraction is the process of pulling the flavor out of the coffee bean using hot water. When the water is combined with the coffee grounds, a chemical reaction occurs that dissolves the flavor compounds.
Later in this article, we discuss the different scenarios on how coffee is over-extracted and how to remedy the problem.
Best Bean to Use for Smooth Coffee
As we’ve already discussed, arabica beans are the best bean to use when trying to make a coffee that is considered smooth. Arabica coffee beans are made from the Coffea arabica plant and can only be grown between the tropic of Cancer and the tropic of Capricorn.
Arabica coffee beans are deemed exceptional because they contain about sixty percent more lipids and nearly twice the sugar than robusta beans. These qualities play an essential role in the coffee’s flavor, aroma, and body. Not only does it have a better overall taste, but arabica beans are more smooth and less bitter.
To get more detailed information on the Arabica bean, check out our other article, “What does Arabica Coffee Beans Mean?”
Now that we’ve differentiated between Arabica and Robusta coffee beans, it’s important to note that not all Arabica beans are of high quality. Depending on where the beans are grown and how they’re cultivated will determine the overall quality of the coffee bean.
Some of the top countries known for their specialty coffee and best coffee beans are Brazil, Colombia and Guatemala.
Roast Profile (Light Roast/Medium Roast)
The roast profile of coffee is determined by the temperature at which the beans are roasted and how long they are in the coffee roaster for. This greatly affects how the coffee will taste.
The three main categories are light roast, medium roast, and dark roast. It’s important to note that all coffee roast profiles contain relatively the name amount of caffeine, contrary to what some believe.
Using a light to medium roast will enhance the smoothness of your cup of coffee. I prefer a medium roast as it produces a more well-rounded and less acidic coffee. The flavor profile is more bold and balanced when compared to lighter roasts.
Although dark roasts allow you to taste more of the chocolaty, caramel, and nutty flavors of the coffee beans, it tends to produce more bitterness than the other roast levels. So, if you’re looking for a smoother cup of coffee, stay away from dark roast coffee.
Our Top Picks for the Best Arabica Coffee Beans
Coffee Brands that we recommend for using high-quality coffee beans are listed below.
One of our top picks for the best arabica beans you can buy is Lifeboost Medium Roast. These organic coffee beans are not only healthy but are known for their richness in flavor with caramel and chocolate undertones. Preparing coffee with Lifeboost Medium Roast beans will give you an amazingly smooth cup of coffee.
Volcanica’s Kenya AA Coffee is another winner when it comes to smooth coffee. This coffee is known for its rich body and fragrant aroma. Its flavor notes of raspberry, cranberry, fresh-cut redwood, and alyssum-like flowers. All Volcanica coffees are immediately packaged and sealed after roasting to preserve their freshness.
Next on our list is Hawaiian Kona whole bean medium roast coffee. Unlike with some other coffees, this is not a blend of Kona but instead made with 100% Kona beans. These beans are grown in Hawaii and have a smooth flavor with sweet tropical fruit notes. Every bag of Hawaiian Kona is hand crafted and fire roasted daily. It is worth noting Kona coffee is the most expensive type of coffee you can buy.
Tips for Making the Best Smooth Coffee
- Purchase high-quality 100% Arabica coffee beans like the ones we recommended above.
- Try to buy fresh beans and maintain their freshness with quality containers, such as a stainless steel Coffee Gator.
- Buy whole coffee beans over grounds. Then grind them with a coffee grinder. I use the Cuisinart Supreme Grind Automatic and love it.
- Use quality water when brewing. Water from your faucet is hard and has unwanted minerals and chlorine that will, unfortunately, change the taste of your coffee. For more detailed information on the best water to use, click here.
- Don’t use cheap filter if your brewing device requires paper filters. Preparing coffee in these can produce inferior coffee. It’s best to buy filters that are “oxygen-bleached” or “dioxin-free.” I recommend Filtropa.
- Don’t over-extract your coffee grounds.
Why Buy Whole Bean Coffee Over Coffee Grounds?
One of the best ways to preserve your coffee’s freshness is to buy coffee beans. As soon as the beans are ground, they begin to lose their freshness.
Let’s go a step further. The part of the coffee beans that give them their great flavor is the oil found in the bean. These oils begin to evaporate as soon as they are ground, so I always suggest grinding your beans right before use.
The Cuisinart Grind & Brew 12-Cup Automatic Coffeemaker is a great machine that will automatically grind your beans before brewing to give you a fresh and flavorful cup of coffee.
Avoid Over Extraction that Leads to Bitter Coffee
Extraction is the process of pulling the flavor out of the coffee bean through hot water. When water is combined with coffee grounds, a chemical reaction dissolves the flavor compounds. When coffee grounds are over-extracted, it results in bitter and not smooth coffee.
Here are some tips and tricks to avoid over-extraction.
- Make sure your water isn’t too hot: Water between 195 and 205 degrees is perfect. You don’t want your water overboiling when pouring over the grounds. Let it sit for a minute to cool off.
- Don’t steep coffee for too long: If using a French press, remove coffee immediately after use to avoid over-extraction.
- Experiment with the grind size you use. Depending on the brewing method, your grinds may be too coarse or too fine. If grounds are too coarse, it can lead to under-extraction, and if they are too fine, it can lead to over-extraction and bitterness.
- One last tip that doesn’t involve the extraction process is to ensure your brewing equipment is clean. If left unclean, old coffee residue or limescale buildup can produce bitterness.
The Coffee’s Origin Matters
Coffee beans are grown all over the world, but some climates are more prone to grow a higher quality bean. Coffee farmers from over 50 different countries work hard everyday growing and harvesting beans to be roasted and brewed for coffee drinkers.
Some of the best places to buy coffee beans from are…
- Central America
To read more about coffee origin, check out “What Country Does the Best Coffee Come From?”
If you are looking for a smooth cup of coffee full of flavor and lacking bitterness, then be sure to buy high-quality 100% arabica coffee beans of medium roast level. Once you have your coffee beans, remember to grind your beans right before each use for freshness, use quality water, keep your equipment clean, and avoid over-extraction.
Good luck, and hopefully, your next cup of coffee will be smooth as can be!