The Best Coffee Beans – A Guide To Flavour And Strength

Best Coffee Beans for Espresso

Over the last few years, as we move more toward high quality coffee, the want or rather need for Speciality coffee has increased significantly. But what makes Speciality Coffee different to commodity coffee found in supermarkets? In order to achieve ‘Speciality’ status, the coffee must score a minimum of 80 out of 100 by a certified Q grader. The coffee can then be priced based on quality rather than the market.

Speciality Coffee is also a way of connecting with other countries and cultures- sometimes even with the family or individual directly responsible for farming the coffee. We understand that it can be a bit of a dilemma, some coffees are washed, some fermented, and some only available for a few weeks each year. Finding one you like and can get hold of consistently can prove difficult, but can also prove to be exciting at the same time. (Especially for the experimentalists!)

If you don’t know where to start, the most important thing to think about is your taste preferences and how you like to drink your coffee. Whether it’s black or with milk, through a filter or as an espresso-based drink, we can guarantee there’s a coffee you’re going to love.

Whether you’re looking for a new morning ritual and creating an artisanal V60, or keeping things simple with a classic cafetière, finding your perfect brew (whether hot or cold) will now be easier than ever. It’s time to say goodbye to instant coffee and hello to the world of grinding and brewing your own beans at home.

Enhance the strength of your coffee by using metal filters.

Choosing for Filter or Espresso

One of our most frequently asked questions is whether our coffees are best suited for espresso, filter or both. That all depends on the roast profile, generally speaking lighter roasts work better with a slower extraction method such as a V60 or Aeropress so are therefore considered filter coffees. Darker roasts are better for espresso due to the differences in solubility. However you can have a filter that’s dark or a light espresso if that’s how you like it best. You’ll find that our recommended brew method is always listed under each product, this is how we think the nuanced flavours are best achieved.

Our award-winning blends have been created with espresso extraction in mind. They naturally contain sweet and indulgent notes such as chocolate and caramel- which lend themselves as popular flavour profiles for all of your coffee shop favourites.

Baring that in mind, here are our recommendations for our favourite coffees that are versatile enough to be used for both filter and espresso methods:

Brazil Fazenda Tres Meninas

A truly unique coffee with an overall sweet and creamy profile that suits espresso drinks well. However, to brew Tres Meninas in a V60 will give notes of pineapple and limoncello. Great for those who like to drink their coffee black.

Honduras Women’s Co-operative

Chocolatey and sweet. There’s no question that this has proven to be a popular choice for both espresso and filter. Perfect black or with milk.

Guatemala Bojangles

Most commonly used as espresso, Bojangles also makes an equally smooth and delicious filter, especially when brewed in an Aeropress. Out of all of these recommendations, this coffee is the fullest bodied.

Faros Espresso

Our Great Taste Award winning blend was created with espresso in mind, but thanks to the percentage of fruity Rwandan, creates a wonderful cafetiere bursting with notes of vanilla and raspberry.

Best Coffee Beans at Adams + Russell

Do I Need Beans Or Ground?

This depends on the set up you have available at home. If you don’t have any means of grinding your own beans, then it goes without saying you’ll need to buy pre-ground. If you have a grinder, then beans are the best option as they retain the flavour and aroma for longer. In order to get the best of our coffee  (either beans or ground), we recommend using it within 3 months of opening. Always keep the coffee well sealed and in an ambient location away from direct sunlight. This article by Perfect Daily Grind outlines more reasons why you may want to buy beans over ground. However you look at it, our team at Adams + Russell assure you that the coffee you receive, be it beans or ground, is always roasted to order in traditional small batches.

Our favourite products:

Hario Skerton Mill Hand Grinder

Hario is a Japanese company that are well known for their coffee equipment. They combine a minimalist aesthetic, functionality and a low price- The V60 and Mizudashi Pot are great examples of this. The Skerton Mill has ceramic burrs and a 100g chamber capacity- meaning you can grind enough coffee for multiple brews throughout the day. It has an adjustable internal screw to adjust the grind size for your favourite method.  

Airscape Coffee Bean Storage

A fantastic solution for storing your coffee that’s as trendy as it is functional. The Airscape comes in two different sizes: 250g or 1kg, great for our single 227g or full kilos. The patented plunger technology keeps the contents from going stale or taking on any odour. Your coffee grounds or beans will remain as fresh as the day you bought them.

Wilfa Svart Coffee Grinder

For the dedicated coffee lovers, this SCA recommended electronic grinder is an efficient and sleek solution. It has a built-in hopper with a 250g capacity, there’s multiple grind settings and it’s easy to use and clean. The Wilfa Svart really is as impressive as it sounds.

Strength can also be perceived as a flavour or ‘bite’

Which Is The Best Coffee For Strength? A Guide To Flavour And Strength

There’s no simple answer to this question, the most important thing is to define what you mean by strength. If you mean the amount of caffeine, then this is mainly dependent on the coffee to water ratio. The average brew recipe is 18g of coffee per cup. This is relevant for both espresso and filter methods. For example, 18g in / 40g out / 25-30 is considered a standard espresso recipe, whereas 18g is also used for most Aeropress recipes.

Strength can also be perceived as a flavour or ‘bite’. This depends largely on roast level, each bean has its own roast profile that best enhances the unique flavours and characteristics. Roasting lighter or darker than this can compromise not only the flavour but the quality as well.

It’s true that a darker roasted coffee does contain more ‘punch’. This is because it has been roasted through the 2nd crack, allowing more of the natural oils to be released. This gives the impression of a stronger tasting coffee due to the chocolatey – sometimes even smoky – taste profile.

Alternatively, you could look for a blend that contains a percentage of Robusta, as this naturally contains more caffeine than Arabica, it will also enhance the earthy notes.

Our best example of a strong earthy coffee is our Indonesian Java. This coffee is renowned for having rich, earthy notes and the cherry for which is wet hulled, which enhances these flavours further. With Java and similar dark roasts, you can also expect strong savoury and tobacco flavours.

If a blend is more your thing, Classico is the perfect option. It contains 80% Arabica from Colombia, Honduras and Africa, and 20% Robusta for extra kick. It’s rich, aromatic and produces a beautiful crema.

The Aeropress is the best example of a brew method that can be easily experimented with. Brew guides range anywhere between 15g – 18g, these 3g alone can have a significant impact on brew strength. Another way to enhance the strength is to use a reusable metal filter as opposed to paper filters. This lets more of the coffee oils through and gives you a fuller-bodied cup of coffee and like the paper filters, stops any grit reaching the bottom of your cup.

On a final note: Remember- The best coffee, is the coffee you love.

This Post Has 22 Comments

  1. Bob Dennis

    I bought from your stand at a village festival about four years ago. Great website. I’ve down loaded your guide. Now I’ve found out where you are I’ll be down next week!

    1. Matt Adams

      Great to hear Bob. Thanks for being a valuable customer. Looking forward to seeing you

  2. caterina210

    hi ,could you recommend a really choclatey coffee bean or blend, thanks

    1. Tristan Bartlett

      Hello Caterina
      My favourite chocolaty blend is continental, especially when you add a little milk. Also check out the Timor single origin coffee which is superb, A classic African coffee with a little more acidity would be the Tanzanian Kilimanjaro. These are available on the 3 for £12.00 offer.

  3. Andrew coates a real coffee lover.i discovered a while back the quality of coffee in Portugal. Delta coffee was everywhere and never was it poor.i need a filter coffee. Can you recommend any.i don’t seem to get a caffeine rush so this isn’t a concern.

    1. Matt Adams

      Delta Coffee is a company that loves its full bodied, coat your mouth style of beans. I would recommend the Timor or Papua New Guinea Single origin coffees. If you need even more omph in your cup check out the Milano Blend.

  4. Jill

    Back in 1971 I went to Switzerland and the coffee served at breakfast was gorgeous. I used to be able to fnd a swiss blend here in the UK,which was the same, but now i’m trying to find it again I can’t. Do you have any idea of what sort of coffee it would have been. I know it wasn’t a bitter coffee.

  5. sue

    Hi can you recommend a nice flavoursome coffee without the horrible head buzz sue

    1. Adams & Russell

      Hey Susan, I’m thinking you’re talking about the head buzz you would get from caffeine. If you’re looking for something nice and flavoursome without caffeine, you should definitely try our this one … Flavoursome decaf coffee

  6. Gillian

    My husband always complains that the coffee I buy is bitter. Could you please recommend a coffee to try.

    1. Adams & Russell

      Hi Gillian. Thanks for your enquiry. It may be best to go for a lighter or medium roast if bitterness is a problem. Have a look at our single origin guide to see which one might work best for you click on the flavours to go directly to that coffee too – I can personally recommend the Malawi, which is a light-medium roast. Another impact of bitterness is how long you brew it. If you brew it for a shorter amount of time, it won’t be as bitter. Hope that helps, it would be great to hear how you get on.


  7. Philip Gibbons

    How can I buy some Cuban Coffee? I too have a love/hate relationship with Paypal. Ideally 1Kg of beans.

    1. Adams & Russell

      Hey Philip, hopefully someone from the roasters has sent you an email. Unfortunately we can’t sell Cuban through Paypal. So anyone who wishes to purchase needs to send an email to Apologies for the inconvenience.

  8. Peter

    Have you started labelling your coffee with a roasted on date yet? If not can you give an indication of the likely age of the coffee beans you have for sale?

    1. Tristan Bartlett

      Hello Peter, We aim to send out the coffee within 5 to 7 days from the roast date. We do not place a roast date on the bag, perhaps we might look to do so in the future.

      We roast in small batches of 5/10/15 kilo volumes. This means we never store coffee. Coffee is at it optimum up to 3 months from being roasted.

      Should you want to come and check out how we roast the coffee you are welcome to come and take a look. If you come to see us at our Birkenhead shop and factory we will show you around and even make you a cup to sample.

  9. mariorainy1

    what is the story with the roasting date , when can we find them on the bags ?

    1. Adams & Russell

      Hi there, for any questions about the roasting, please feel free to drop our team an email at Thanks, Matt

  10. Anne Marie Caughey

    Hi, I’m looking for a coffee with under notes of brown sugar, pineapple and cedar, can you advise please.

  11. Lis Rushworth

    Hi. Are your coffees organic and/Or fair trade? Thanks

  12. John Pond

    Can you recommended a coffee that is strong but not bitter please? Many I have tried really leave a bitter taste. Thank you for a very interesting website, full of information.

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