Coffee snobs are sometimes pretty suspicious about buying coffee online, and it is true that there are some pitfalls that you encounter in the process. However, as buying online in general is becoming more popular, coffee companies have been forced to up their game and provide a better service and a better product. If you choose a reputable company, you can be sure to get decent coffee, properly sealed, with free delivery and a good return policy. Here are some tips for purchasing coffee online.
Size and Reputation
For the average coffee drinker, a large, reputable company usually provides the best variety of products, the best after sales service, and they are also big enough to provide free shipping, discounts and coupons. In addition, if you buy in bulk, or buy your other coffee and tea supplies (such as filters and de-scaling treatments), you can often get a substantial discount.
Type of coffee machine
If you have a machine that uses K-Cups or Pods, it is fairly easy to buy in bulk online. For other coffee machines, the biggest factor that you need to take into consideration is the grind of your coffee. If you have your own grinder, then simply buy the beans according to your choice of flavour. However, if you prefer pre-ground coffee, you should buy in smaller packs (because the coffee will not stay fresh as long as it would if you bought beans. Here is a guide to the type of grind that you should select:
- drip or filter coffee with round paper filter or steel filter – medium grind
- drip or filter coffee with cone paper filter – fine or medium grind
- French Press – coarse grind
- Percolator – coarse grind
- Espresso Machine – fine or extra fine grind
- Turkish Coffee pot (Ibrik or Cezve) – Turkish or Ultra-fine grind.
Roast and Flavour
There is a huge variety of roasts and flavours available. Here is a guide to the different options. If you do not know which is your favourite flavour, you should buy small packs to sample, until you settle on a brand and roast that you prefer.
Source of Coffee
Do you prefer coffee from Ethiopia, Kenya, Columbia or Jamaica? South American coffees tend to be bold and acidic, especially if grown at high altitude. African coffees are more floral and earthy in flavour. Asian coffees can be sweeter, and of course there is the rare and expensive brand that has passed through the gut of a weasel (from Vietnam).
Most people shop by brand name, and you can easily research the many brands available. You should ask questions about the company’s consistency, the source of their coffee (is it fair-trade?), and their popularity.