What, exactly, makes a good coffee bean? Are some beans just born better than others? Maybe – it helps to grow beans at higher altitudes (above 3,500 to 5,500 feet) so that the bean doesn’t get too hot or grow too fast and take on more water. Because of slower growth, the beans become denser and are better able to handle the intense heat in a roaster.
It helps to be picked when the beans are super ripe – big, red, and meaty – mature and fully developed. It is best if the beans are processed immediately, so the bean can stand on its own and not have negative interaction with warm air, microbe, etc. This involves drying the bean and milling, which is removing the last layers of dry skin and remaining fruit residue from the now dry coffee, and cleaning and sorting it.
Good beans will come from diligent and careful handling in the mill in order to not have the good beans compromised by the bad beans. In other words, the beans are sorted and good coffee beans are set aside.
Basically, a good bean is born that way. There is very little one can do to improve the quality of a harvested bean, but careful handling is essential to maintain these good qualities. The final step before brewing that is critical in producing a good cup of coffee from a good bean is a roaster that is willing to pay attention to the potential a coffee has and roast the beans with care and attention. This is why at Java Mountain Roasters we carefully choose our beans and roast them ourselves in-house. We love coffee, and our goal is to make the perfect cup every time.