View Full Version : What type of coffee bean makes strong, but not bitter, coffee?
05-24-2003, 02:09 PM
I like it strong, but not bitter. What type of bean should I be looking for?
Any sites out there describing different beans and bitterness? And does the roast matter?
05-24-2003, 04:35 PM
The ultimate strong but nonbitter bean: Starbucks Italian Roast brewed in a french press. :)
05-24-2003, 04:56 PM
I would second the French Press idea.
Find a medium-dark roast, and use a French Press. A really dark roast might taste burnt to some people, which can be interpreted as bitter. I've become partial to Peet's brand, the "Major Dickason's Blend" variety. It's a dark roast, very full-bodied and flavorful.
With the FP, let it steep for 5 minutes. The directions usually say 4 minutes, but I'd give it 4½ to 5 minutes (but no longer).
Make sure the beans are ground for a FP. They should be rather chunky, not finely ground. If they're ground fine (like for a drip machine) you'll get grounds in your coffee when you drink it, and they will taste bitter.
No, I'm not too picky about my coffee, why do you ask?
05-24-2003, 04:57 PM
Thanks siberia! Would you know if that's an arabica bean, or what?
05-24-2003, 04:58 PM
Thanks also BiblioCat. I suspect maybe I'm grinding the beans too fine, which might be why my coffee is too bitter.
05-24-2003, 06:05 PM
I'm pretty sure that most decent coffee is arabica. Robusta in general has a reputation for being inferior, and I think bitterness is part of that. Robusta makes up a goodly chunk of your supermarket type coffees.
05-24-2003, 07:13 PM
Kona, along with Jamaican Blue Mountain are generally recognized to be the methamphetamines of mild, good quality coffees. I also like the Sumatra Mandehling blend as well
I prefer a Chemex and paper filter system but the French press yields good results too.
05-24-2003, 08:38 PM
Kona is my all time favorit. But if you try it, make sure you get 100% Kona, not "Kona Blend", whatever the hell that is! Expect to pay about $20.00 a pound for it, but it's worth every penny!
05-24-2003, 10:36 PM
If you're gonna take siberia's suggestion and go Starbucks, I'd suggest Arabian Mocha Java if the Italian isn't to your liking (it's not to mine, nor is French Roast). The decaf version (Mocca Java, from a slightly different region) is also surprisingly good, as it's decaffeinated with a slightly different process than usual.
My personal favorite of the Starbucks coffees, however, is and ever shall be Verona. But AMJ is a close second. And all Starbucks coffees are arabica beans. Also, if you feel like treating yourself, every fall Starbucks comes out with a "Special Harvest Reserve" coffee; the last two years' have been really, really good, and Starbucks always tends toward the darker, stronger coffees.
Steer clear of 'flavored' coffees, like hazelnut and such; the flavor is usually covering inferior beans, often robusta. If'n you like the flavors you can always add them yourself.
The roast does matter; one interesting thing to note is that it's the lighter roasts that contain more caffeine.
I'll third the French Press recommendation. If you get it ground wherever you buy it, specify that it be ground for a French press. If this gets you a blank look, just tell them to grind it on the coarsest setting their machine has. Likewise, if you grind it yourself make it as coarse as you can.
-- Dragonblink, (ex)Barista extraordinaire
05-24-2003, 10:58 PM
Originally posted by Laughing Lagomorph
I'm pretty sure that most decent coffee is arabica. Robusta in general has a reputation for being inferior, and I think bitterness is part of that. Robusta makes up a goodly chunk of your supermarket type coffees. Too true, but also surprisingly, most of your expressly espresso coffee is robusta, for some reason.
Oh, and my favorite? Kenya AA.
05-25-2003, 02:49 AM
Starbucks Sumatra is also very good. I've tried Verona and it was all right, but they had ground it a little bit too fine, which could be why I wasn't impressed with it.
And another vote for a French press. It's one of the first things I got when I moved out into my own place, and probably the only item in my kitchen get that gets more use is my kettle (since I drink tea in the evening.)
05-25-2003, 03:01 AM
I agree with Zenster....Once I tried Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee I was ruined for life. Now I can't drink anything else. I'm the girl on the floor at TJ Maxx rumaging through the gourmet section. (I'm constantly in search of that one last bag of Jamaican Blue Mountain.)....It's pure heaven.
I've had great results with the French Press. It seems to be Shana Proof.... I have not had a bad cup of coffee yet. My husband is mystified...lol.
05-25-2003, 07:35 AM
IMO, Starbucks coffee tastes burnt and acidic. I'm not a big fan of theirs.
I'd go with a good medium roast coffee. I've found that medium roasts are more flavorful and smooth than dark roasts, and you can make 'em very strong without ever getting a burnt flavor.
05-25-2003, 09:52 AM
Definately Kona. We have been getting it shipped to us for at least the past 10 years. Tried a couple of different companies but the one we keep going back to is Bong Brothers. You can order over the net: www.bongbrothers.com No kidding:cool: Definately get beans and grind them yourself.
05-25-2003, 10:06 AM
Old Blue Sumatra beans.
Very dark, strong, rich, lots of depth and no bitterness.
Re supermarket blends, Lavazza ground coffee (which comes in two grades/prices) is quite acceptable if you like strong coffee.
As well as not grinding beans too fine, as has been mentioned, don't grind them for too long, either - it burns the coffee, producing a harsh taste. Buy one of the grinders that has a little light coming on when you've ground for long enough.
05-25-2003, 12:20 PM
Originally posted by Athena
IMO, Starbucks coffee tastes burnt and acidic. I'm not a big fan of theirs.
I agree!!! I tell people that it tastes burnt to me and they look at me funny.
I would suggest Seattle's Best coffee. Their Portside blend is especially tasty (my personal fave!) You can order it at this site : The yummiest coffee ever! (http://www.seabest.com/site/)
05-25-2003, 04:35 PM
Sumatra is a type of bean, like Arabica? Sound like maybe Sumatra might what I should be looking for.
I should have pointed out from the beginning that money is an issue. I know I can get Starbucks brand beans from the supermarket and be happy with it, but I'd like to try and find a cheaper brand of the same bean-type.
05-25-2003, 06:41 PM
Revtim...I have had good luck with the "Lavazza" brand at the supermarket. Maybe your store carries that? Also, "Ireland" coffee is never bitter and quite good.
Do you have a Marshall's or a TJ Maxx near you? You can pick up Kona and Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee for half the price.
I'm glad there are others who think Starbucks is horrid. I agree!!! I don't understand why everyone thinks it's so amazing....I always drink my coffee black - maybe that's why? I suppose if there is a ton of milk, sugar, and flavoring it would probably be fine.
05-26-2003, 02:05 AM
Coffee is bitter after a bad brewing. Most coffee beans are abused by the consumer. You need to experiment with your preferred method of brewing and grinding to get your perfect cup. There is very little difference in the beans themselves. The roast of the bean will effect the flavor somewhat. Darker (longer) roasting usually means strong, dark coffee. The finer the grind, the shorter the brew process should be to prevent bitterness. Bitterness comes from over-brewing the grind. Not that I care about coffee that much (ha ha)
El Cid Viscoso
05-26-2003, 02:19 AM
Please avoid Starbuck's. It is crap.
If you want a delightfully strong coffee, go for sumatran mandheling (sour with medium body) or kenya AA (neutral with full body).
Get a coffee grinder and flummox with the settings. Get a weird bean mix one day at the store and grind it into espresso. Drink some thick sludge. Sip some cowboy style.
Find your own rhythm and learn the siddha of The Bean. Just like tea, it's a drink that requires contemplation.
Skiddly scatscat, cat.
05-26-2003, 02:37 AM
I use eight o'clock dark roast. It doesn't matter how long you grind this coffee it always tastes great, www.eightoclock.com. It used to be available in any grocery store, but was dropped by everyone. I was glad to find they have a website to order from.
I've tried starbucks too and don't know why anybody would purposely drink that coffee, yuk!:eek:
El Cid Viscoso
05-26-2003, 02:49 AM
Justin Inch >>>8 o'clock dark roast...<<<
Welcome, Little Member. Hopefully you trim.
Starbucks is only cool when they hire some tatted up Botticelli to work the counter -- she's brown like a couple's hike in Moab -- and the work shirt only hides the ring of daisies on her arm when she's still.
Oh wait. They have bad coffee.
06-07-2003, 02:42 PM
Well, I like Starbucks, and my goal in this thread was to find a cheaper coffee that I like as much.
I tried one today I like a lot, Cafe Pilon. It costs less than 3 bucks a pound, and is strong but not bitter.
06-07-2003, 04:54 PM
Once I tried Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee I was ruined for life. Now I can't drink anything else
I tryed it, was very disappointed and still have about 1/4 lb of it that I was considering putting into the compost pile.
I personally like any 'columbian supremo' coffee and find that it can be made very strong and not bitter.
Also not thrilled w/ starbucks but at least I know what I'm getting.
06-07-2003, 05:52 PM
I wouldn't throw Blue Mountain away, but I know what you mean, kanicbird.
Favorite for me is Sumatra.
Kona is way up there, too. Both are powerful yet smooth.
Kenya is okay but a bit on the sour-wine side.
I do think that roast and grind make a difference. We sure don't have a roaster but we do grind it now.
06-07-2003, 06:03 PM
I'm a French Roast fan, and Costco has a really inexpensive brand that I like very much. It's called San Fransisco Bay. However, Shayna got me a whole bunch of stuff from Trader Joe'sTM recently for my birthday.....she got some French Roast that is shade grown and it is VERY good. I have no idea if it is as inexpensive as the stuff I get from Costco, but it is better for the environment....they aren't obliterating the rain forests to grow it. So I will probably switch to that.
06-07-2003, 07:31 PM
Do you have a Peet's nearby (they also mailorder). http://www.peets.com/ I much prefer their roasts. I think the Sulawesi-Kalosi is fantastic, and light years ahead of Starbuck's Sulawessi.
Oh my gawd, I just did a google search to check spelling and I found this from Peet's:
Aged Sulawesi Peaberry - It's rare to find aged coffees; rarer still to find an aged peaberry. Thick, syrupy and nutty, with notes of spice and tobacco.
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