A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Coffee Beans

Coffee is the world’s most popular hot drink. If you live in Brisbane, you are probably familiar with the strong culture surrounding coffee. In Australia where cafes and coffee shops are scattered and extremely common throughout the city and suburbs, it’s important to stay informed. If you find yourself lacking in coffee knowledge, this guide will walk you through everything a beginner must know.


What Are the Different Types of Coffee Beans?

Did you know that there are only two kinds of coffee beans that produce nearly all the world’s coffee? Worldwide, humans use Arabica almost exclusively. Despite there being over 120 varieties of coffee plants, only four types are used for consumption.



Without question, Arabica is the most popular coffee worldwide, contributing to 60% of all coffee produced. Commonly used for black coffee due to its sweet, complex flavour, it requires a high elevation and an abundance of shade to grow. The cherries containing the beans (seeds) ripen at varying times, making them harder to harvest. As a result, they are often hand-picked from slopes to ensure better selection, but with this, comes an increase in labour cost and slower production.

Produced in large quantities, the delicate Arabica plant is prone to complications that include being susceptible to disease and difficult growing conditions. Even after brewing, you can diminish the quality of the beans by serving the coffee cold.


Arabica presents a complex aroma with a multi-layered flavour profile that has soft and sweet tones, making this the preferred choice if you don’t want to add anything to your coffee. It’s low caffeine allows you to enjoy more of it without worry. Thanks to its popularity, you can find Arabica almost anywhere. Locally grown coffee beans are almost guaranteed to be Arabica due to climate requirements. This allows you to support local farmers without changing your preferred style of coffee beans.


Due to its sweetness, this variant is more acidic than other coffee beans. Its flavour is easily influenced after brewing by serving it cold or adding creamer. If you’re on a budget, difficult farming conditions make this a more expensive option, but the only option in the specialty coffee scene.



Unlike Arabica, Robusta is highly resistant to disease and pests. As a result, it requires fewer herbicides and pesticides to maintain. Robusta can grow in more varied climates with lower maintenance. These features allow for easy mass production and cheap sales prices.

Due to its strong and harsh flavour, Robusta is a less popular choice as the flavour can be overwhelming to some, especially those repelled by bitterness. Robusta is commonly used in instant coffees and low-grade blends.


If your normal serving of Arabica doesn’t wake you up in the morning, try switching to Robusta. These beans contain nearly twice as much caffeine. At lower prices, this is ideal for early risers who need a boost of energy before work. Unlike Arabica, Robusta does not lower in quality when you add ice or dairy.


Robusta is more bitter than Arabica. The flavour is not as intricate, making it difficult to drink black. Cheaper brands are likely to have a rubbery taste and flat aroma. High-grade Robusta is more difficult to find, as most cafes and shops prefer Arabica.


Liberica and Excelsa

You have probably never heard of these. Even most coffee enthusiasts have never tried them. Liberica forms less than 2% of the world’s coffee consumption. This variant is almost exclusive to Southeast Asia. Due to its lack of popularity, most Liberica is sold locally.

Another Southeast Asian coffee is Excelsa, which produces roughly 7% of the world’s coffee. In contrast to Liberica’s woody flavour, this variant is fruity yet dark. It is often used in blends to add diverse flavours.



Can You Get Caffeine-free Coffee Beans?

No coffee bean is naturally caffeine-free. However, there are processes that strip almost all caffeine from beans before roasting under carefully controlled conditions in specialised dedicated facilities. This involves either steaming the beans or soaking them in water. As the beans swell, a solvent extracts the caffeine. The process ends with drying the beans to return them to their original form.

Decaffeinating coffee requires maintaining a certain temperature, pressure, and flow throughout the process. Trying it at home will only remove a small amount of caffeine and risks lowering the quality of the beans.

Thankfully, you don’t need to decaffeinate coffee yourself. There are plenty of options available from brands such as the ones we stock in our online store. You can easily buy online or check out our Elixir Coffee HQ if you want a full coffee experience without the caffeine.


Can You Use Coffee Beans Without a Machine?

If you’re new to the world of coffee, you may not own a coffee machine yet. While a machine makes the process easier, there are other ways to make coffee. All you need is water and a source of heat. A filter is also helpful but not necessary.


Coffee Dripper Bags

One way to make coffee without a machine is by using coffee dripper bags. These are single-use bags with a built-in filter for the ultimate convenience for those looking for home brewing alternatives. To use one, simply place the bag over a cup and pour hot water over it. The coffee will simply drip through the filter and into your cup.

Not only are they convenient and easy to use, but Elixir Coffee’s coffee dripper bags let you experience our Ethiopian specialty single origin brewed by our expert roasters. Our dripper bags don’t miss on quality tasting coffee despite this product’s convenience. Our roasters have taken expert care of the process to ensure that you’re getting the same quality of coffee. We’ve crafted our dripper bags to showcase and highlight the unique flavours of the single origin we have chosen.

Coffee dripper bag

You can check out this product by clicking here.


Instant Specialty Coffee

Another way to brew without a machine is by using instant specialty coffee. This is coffee that’s been roasted, ground, and brewed ahead of time so all you have to do is add hot water. It’s not the same as regular instant coffee because it’s made with higher-quality beans, which means it tastes better.

There are a few things to keep in mind when buying instant specialty coffee. First, make sure you get coffee that’s meant for brewing with hot water instead of milk. Second, check the expiration date to ensure the coffee is fresh. Finally, look for a brand you trust to know you’re getting quality coffee.

For a brand you can trust, look no further than our family here at Elixir Coffee. Our passion for coffee has helped us serve South East Queensland for over 15 years with over 46 awards for specialty coffee since 2010.

Our Instant Specialty Coffee is made with premium Arabica coffee beans and has a rich, full espresso flavour. It’s perfect for cappuccinos, lattes, black coffees or iced coffees. It is also low in calories and has no artificial sweeteners.
If you are looking for a delicious and convenient way to enjoy espresso, look no further than our Instant Specialty Coffee! Just add water and enjoy a rich, full-flavoured cup of coffee in seconds. You can check it out here.

In short, you don’t need a coffee machine to experience great tasting coffee. While it is the most conventional way to do so, there are alternative methods and products that, when combined with water, can help you get the coffee fix you’re after.

You can check out this product by clicking here.


What Flavours of Coffee Beans Can You Get?

Different regions of beans and different roasting styles blended together provide different flavours in the cup. At Elixir Coffee Roasters our four blends all have beans from all different origins which then provide four different and separate flavoured blends. Nothing is added to the beans themselves to make or change flavours. It is all due to soil, rainfall, and other climate conditions.

What Coffee Beans Should a Beginner Buy?

If this is your first experience buying coffee, you should start with something easy to drink from Elixir Coffee Roasters. Consider our Velluto Blend. It has common flavours of cream, hazelnuts, and butter and has a low acidity so is ideal for milk and black drinkers.

Need something sweeter with a high acidity then try either our Fratelli or Narciso Blends. Or is it something stronger you need then try our Espresso Blend. All of these are national and international award-winning blends.


What Is the Best Way to Buy Coffee Beans?

Most supermarkets carry coffee beans, ground coffee, and instant coffee.

But to get the most out of your coffee-buying experience and also fresh coffee , shop online or visit the coffee brand’s physical store. Shopping online allows you to fully compare your options before committing. You can buy your favourites and have them delivered to your doorstep. Often, there are unique varieties that you can only find on the brand’s website.

Going to the brand’s physical store also has its benefits. While it might seem inconvenient at first, it is a good way for a beginner to become accustomed to coffee. The employees will be happy to explain complicated terms and provide recommendations. You might even be able to sample several options before you buy them. A professional walking you through the process can take away some pressure and help you find your perfect blend.

Begin Your Coffee Journey Today

You now have the information you need to purchase coffee beans for the first time. Coffee is the nation’s number one hot drink for a reason: there’s something for everyone. From strong and bitter to light and dessert-like, the options are endless. While it may be overwhelming at first, you will quickly learn your preferences. In summary, fresh and direct from the coffee roaster or your local cafe’s weekly delivery of bean supply is the best option for the best cup possible.

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