Your guide to the world of coffee beans
At Coffee Direct, we sell over 100 speciality coffee beans, all carefully sourced from the world’s best coffee growers and farms. Our high-quality selection includes rare varieties and exclusive blends available only at our speciality online coffee shop.
If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next roast or need some help navigating the huge range we have to offer, check out our below guide to buying coffee beans to brew at home.
Choose your type of coffee bean
There are over 120 different species of coffee plants grown around the world, from Brazil to Kenya, Jamaica to Australia; each producing a unique coffee bean. However, only two types of coffee bean are grown at scale and commercially - Arabica and Robusta.
Arabica coffee is made from the fruit of Coffea arabica plants, which grow at 1,300-1,500m above sea level and have been cultivated as far back as the 12th century. Arabica is the most popular coffee bean among UK and global coffee drinkers, accounting for 60% of the world’s coffee. Generally, Arabica coffees are known for their superior quality, high acidity, sweet and soft flavours, as well as notes of citrus and fruits.
Robusta, the world’s second most popular coffee bean, has been produced from the Coffea canephora since around the late-19th century. This sturdy coffee plant species is cheaper and easier for farmers to grow, as they thrive at lower altitudes, in higher temperatures and are less prone to being affected by pests and disease.
Robusta coffee beans are known for more intense notes, woody flavours and low acidity. The strong flavours of Robusta coffee often make these beans a favourable choice for espressos (particularly in an Italian coffee shop), instant coffee drinks and coffee blends, where they can enhance flavours, balance out acidity and create a new taste experience.
Other coffee beans to consider
- Harar Longberry is claimed to be the world’s oldest coffee bean and grows at altitudes of around 2,000m in Ethiopia’s Eastern Highlands. These sun-dried Arabica coffee beans have a distinct pointed shape and golden colour. When they are roasted, they produce a full-bodied cup of coffee with rich and complex tastes of fruity wine and mocha flavours.
- Peaberry is very unique, in that instead of producing two beans, its coffee cherry only produces one. This single, pea-shaped coffee bean is found in the Nyeri region of Kenya and is renowned for making a cup of coffee that has incredibly smooth flavours, good acidity and well-rounded aromas.
- Elephant bean, as its name suggests, is larger than your average coffee bean. Grown in higher, temperate regions such as Guatemala, these big coffee beans are said to have super smooth flavours that taste slightly richer than a standard Arabica roast, making them a must-try for any coffee lover.
Pick your roast profile
The roasting process brings out different flavours of the coffee bean, so it’s worth exploring whether you prefer a light roast, medium roast or dark roast.
In the world of coffee, there are always exceptions; however, a light roast tends to give coffee drinkers complex, floral flavours and vibrant aromas. Comparatively, a medium roast will have more caramelised sugars within the bean, which results in a flavour profile that's sweeter and smoother. Coffee drinks produced from a dark roast will usually have lower acidity and strong, intense flavours such as dark chocolate.
Decide between single-origin and coffee blends
At Coffee Direct we have over 50 speciality single-origin roasts from countries all over the world, as well as 35 expertly blended coffees. So, another factor to consider for your next coffee delivery is whether you’ll go for single-origin coffee beans or an exclusive blend.
Single-origin beans are those sourced from one geographical location. One growing region, however, can produce a huge variety of flavours. Countries such as Costa Rica, Kenya, Brazil, El Salvador, Ethiopia and Guatemala (to name just a few), offer incredible diversity when it comes to the coffees they grow. To truly get to know a specific growing region, we recommend trying a variety of top-rated single-origin coffees from the same country to experience how different a brew from one place can be in terms of both flavour and aroma.
Many single-origin coffee beans, while delicious in their own right, come alive when blended with other arabica or robusta beans. This process results in balancing out acidity or enhancing a bean’s best attributes to produce a delicious new coffee experience.
What makes Coffee Direct’s beans so special?
Now we've talked through how to shop for coffee beans and choose from our selection of over 100 speciality coffees, here are a few more reasons why coffee lovers in the UK favour our coffee beans and coffee products.
We expertly roast in small batches and roast to order. This process minimises the time between when your beans are roasted and when you brew them. We also package all our coffees in one-way value, foil fresh bags for optimum freshness. Delivery to all UK addresses is speedy (and free of charge).
We cater to all brewing methods. Whether you like to make your morning cup of coffee with your favourite filter coffee device or use your Aeropress for a pick-me-up espresso coffee, we can deliver the exact grind size required for your brewing preferences. Simply select your chosen grind option when purchasing your beans and we’ll send you super fresh whole bean or pre-ground coffee.
We save you money on your coffee order. If you like getting more for your money, you'll be glad to hear that we have several coffee subscriptions that lower the price of your coffee delivery. For example, you can select “Subscribe & Save” when ordering your coffee, and you’ll instantly benefit from a 15% price drop on our full range. We also offer gift subscriptions for different price points.
All our subscriptions are flexible. You can cancel or amend your order at any time and switch between a whole bean roast or ground coffee to mix up your coffee delivery. Shop now or find out more on our site.