Beginner’s Guide to Coffee: Where to Start for Newbies.

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We have all started from somewhere, for me, it was the newborn baby keeping me up all night and having to work the next day that sparked my love for coffee. But I have loved it since and ventured into trying new things, all of which you can find in this blog.

Did you know that coffee is the most consumed beverage in the world? It’s also one of the most popular. With more than 2.25 billion coffee drinks consumed in the world each day, why not give it a try.

My opinion on where to start:

New to Coffee: Get a Drip Machine

Familiar but want to try more things: Experiment with a French Press or AeroPress

Ready for an Adventure: Grab a Pour Over maker

What is Great Coffee?

Great coffee is defined as the perfect balance between sweetness, acidity, and bitterness all in one cup.

If you want to achieve what is considered great coffee, you need fresh beans that are ground right before your brew.

Why Fresh Beans?

Fresh coffee beans are essential for great coffee.

You can find fresh beans from any local coffee roaster. We have one in my town called Jittery Joes and I love it.

Freshly Roasted Beans

Finding freshly roasted beans is just about the only way you can guarantee they haven’t been sitting on a grocery store shelf for months.

It’s important because coffee releases carbon dioxide after it’s roasted and over time, it makes it taste stale and flat.

Freshly Ground Beans

Grinding the coffee beans increases the surface area and allows for better extraction of the coffee, but it opens the beans up for exposure to the elements. The coffee de-gasses as it ages and grinding too early speeds this process up. You will end up with a flat, stale cup of coffee.

Another option to ensure freshness is getting a coffee subscription or ordering online. I like LifeBoost Coffee because it is fairtrade, organic, and single-origin beans. It’s a healthy, low acid coffee choice and they only send out the freshest beans.


How you store your beans also makes a difference. They should be kept in an airtight container at room temperature. It’s best to keep them in a dry, cool place.

Coffee needs to degas for 7 days after roasting. Carbon dioxide continues to release from the beans after roasting.

Roasts Explained

When coffee beans are roasted, the flavor and aroma are brought out of the bean. Roasting causes changes to take place, these changes continue to happen over the next few weeks, so it’s essential to use the beans quickly to ensure maximum freshness.

Roasters use fancy names for their roasts and there is no universal standard for names. Instead, we go by color. There are usually 4 categories- light, medium, medium-dark, and dark.


Light roasts are light brown in color and have no oil on the surface because they aren’t roasted long enough for the oils to make their way to the surface.


This is my favorite roast. Medium roast is medium brown in color. It’s a perfect balance of flavor, acidity, and intensity. The surface is not oily.


This bean will be darker than the medium roast with some oil on the surface. The flavor will have a slight bittersweet aftertaste. The acidity isn’t as present in this roast as others.


This one will be shiny and dark because of the oils as well as the time of roasting. It’s going to be bitter and slightly charred like in the French Roast. The acidity is the lowest in this roast.

Coffee roast Infographic

What is the Best Grind?

Once you have selected the freshest coffee beans to suit your individual flavor preference, you need to know how to grind it.

When I first started, I thought the beans needed to be ground as fine as possible and set the night before to brew at 5:30 am the next morning in my drip maker. WRONG!

There is a science to the grind. It allows the water to come in contact with the coffee bean and extract more or less of the coffee.

Each brew method requires a different grind. One of my favorite methods, Pour Over, requires a medium grind. If you don’t use the right grind for the brew method of choice, you could end up with over-extracted or under-extracted coffee.

Grind size chart by brew method

You also need to decide which grinder you want to use. I use a manual burr grinder when I make Pour Over Coffee or an electric blade grinder for Drip Coffee.

How to Get Started?

Finding Your Perfect Brew

There are so many great ways to brew your perfect cup.

coffee beans and cup of dark coffee

Gravity Method for Brewing

Drip and Pour Over are two examples of brewing with gravity. For this, you put coffee grinds in and let gravity pull the water through the beans to make coffee.

You will get a well-balanced cup of joe from this method. It’s also easier to clean up because it uses filters.

Most people use a drip method and have no idea it’s even a thing. If you are a for-real newbie, start here to make sure you even enjoy coffee before you try to master the techniques required by other methods.

See the Best Dual Coffee Makers here.

Immersion Method

The French Press is a very popular immersion brewer. The Aeropress is also making its way onto the popularity scene for immersion brewers.

Brewing this way will give you a more intense cup of coffee. This is because the beans stay in contact with the water longer or like in the Aeropress, the pressure used makes the coffee very concentrated.

Cold Brew is made using the immersion method, it’s most commonly made with a French Press.

french press held by hand next to cup

Espresso Style

This is a pressure brewing method. The Aeropress can also make an espresso-style, as it uses pressure to extract the coffee. It’s still considered an immersion brewer, even though it is fast.

Espresso machines are typically expensive but the Aeropress and some home espresso machines won’t break the bank.

Espresso machines will still create more pressure than the Aeropress so it will yield a stronger cup of espresso.


Once you realize that coffee is for you, then you can try new things. The key to finding the perfect cup is experimenting. No two people will like exactly the same thing. I might like a medium roast while you prefer a dark roast. My husband uses half and half in his pour over coffee while I don’t put anything in mine.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with trial and error. I suggest you make notes of the things you try with different methods so you don’t forget and you can make the necessary adjustments.

If you would like some info on the different coffee drinks, you can get an idea of what you might like. There is also more information on this site that will help you explore the world of coffee.

How much coffee is too much?

beginner's coffee guide pinterest graphic

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