What Type of Beans to Use for My Coffee Machine?
Like everything else out there, from cheese to wine and even furniture, there isn’t just one type of coffee. The beans they’re made from vary greatly, and more often than not, with great variation, comes decision fatigue. With an overwhelming amount of choices out there in the market, we get that a seemingly simple decision like choosing a type of bean to use for your machine might turn out to be rather daunting. Where do you begin with your De’Longhi bean-to-cup coffee maker?

Look at the Colour of the Roast

[caption id="attachment_17235" align="alignnone" width="2560"]coffee beans in a person's hand The colour of a roast is a good indicator of qualities like oiliness, which matters depending on the coffee machine you’re using. Photo from Jakub Kapusnak.[/caption] Roasting coffee beans at a high temperature is a process (well, some say an art) that helps develop and boost aromas. If you don’t get this step right, the beans may lose their aromas and specificity. Here are some general guidelines: if the roast is very dark, the beans will be too bitter. If the roast is not dark enough, the coffee beans may end up tasting a little too acidic. A light roast is mostly best suited for filter coffee extraction. This is also known as a longer extraction aka slow coffee. With this filter method, what you’ll get is a fruitier coffee that’s more acidic. A medium/dark roast is ideal for espresso machines, and not so much bean-to-cup machines, otherwise, you’ll end up with coffee that’s, again, way too acidic. Using the De’Longhi Dinamica, it clearly says to avoid using “oily, flavoured, caramelised, or candied coffee” in the machine. You might wonder, “How does one tell if a coffee bean is “oily”?”, and you can do this by simply looking at the colour of the roast. Generally, the darker the roast, the oilier the coffee. This means having to look in the bag, so don’t be afraid to experiment and buy different types of coffee beans when you’re starting out to find the perfect one for your machine.

Make Sure the Beans are Fresh

[caption id="attachment_17226" align="alignnone" width="2560"]a cup of coffee next to a window Go through as many coffee bean types as you need to find the right one for your machine; after all, you want your first cuppa in the morning to be the best one. Photo from Marissa Daeger.[/caption] This seems obvious, but always make sure the beans you’re working with are fresh. The fresher, the better. Once roasted, coffee beans are good for only 30 days in a sealed bag. Anything beyond that and the beans will become stale, giving off a sort of strange, ashy aroma. Check the dates of when the beans were roasted on the packaging.

Arabica Versus Robusta – What Do You Prefer?

Choosing coffee beans also comes down to preference. What do you like? Robusta beans typically contain twice the caffeine content as Arabica, so if you’re looking for a brew with a real kick, opt for lightly-roasted Robusta beans. Arabica on the other hand usually has better aromas. Of course, there are also blends (for example, 80% Arabica and 20% Robusta gets you an “Italian espresso”), so pick what works for you.

Understand Your Machine

[caption id="attachment_17229" align="alignnone" width="1998"]a coffee machine and various coffee beverages The Dinamica is a fully automatic coffee and espresso machine that offers seven different coffee styles. Photo from De’Longhi.[/caption] Different machines score differently when it comes to taste, aroma, body, and crema quality. Also, they perform differently when it comes to factors like flavour extraction and coursing of grinds (fine versus coarse). How much control do you have over the machine? This also helps determine how much of the brewing process you can take charge of. At the end of the day, you want coffee tailored to your taste buds. Don’t worry about not getting it right with your first few attempts. Buy different beans and try them in your machine; as long as you keep in mind these basic rules, you and your perfect cup of coffee will be good to go in no time.