I love great coffee. No Bitter – No Burnt coffee for me. If you want great coffee, you have to have great beans. Yet finding the smoothest coffee beans isn’t easy. Keep reading and I’ll tell you how and why we select our super smooth beans.
No Bitter and No Burnt
Most of my life, I hated coffee; burnt-n-bitter, I just didn’t understand the attraction. Then one day at a Church Campout a buddy of mine (Dave) heard me say that I hated coffee. Later he conspiratorially whispered, “Get up early tomorrow morning and before the kids get up, I’ve got a surprise for you.” Not knowing what he was talking about, I waddled over to his tent at about 7AM.
There he was waiting for me holding two mugs of what I was hoping was hot chocolate. And with a shit-eating grin he handed me my mug. I looked in the mug; damn! Coffee! (Church Camp Right?) Just to be polite I took one tentative sip. “Holly Shit Batman!” I thought, or at least I was hoping I didn’t say that out loud.
I took a second sip. Same thing; smooth as silk; no bitter or burnt flavor; and what was that, a hint of chocolate that I could taste? “Dave what the hell is this, where did you get it, and where can I get more”? With a chuckle, Dave said, “I roast my own coffee”. Dave soon taught me how to roast my own coffee that was smooth as silk. Within a few months, I was everyone’s new best friend.
Love At First Sip
After about a year of friends-n-family coffee roaster fame, I met Alisha Jean Hills (yep, same Hills as in “Hills Brothers Coffee” – distant relatives. She was a cute little blonde that was smart as a whip, with a sense of humor just as sharp, and a gracious heart for God. Fortunately for me, she was also very particular about her coffee. Like me, we both loved great coffee, especially my fresh roasted coffee. Honestly, just between you and me, I think she fell in love with my coffee before falling in love with me.
After a few months of courting, she said, “Russell, you know, with coffee this good, we should start a coffee roasting company” (remember those Hills Brothers genes). Since she put up the initial business capital investment ($700), she’s listed on Lake City Coffee’s incorporation papers as the CEO, with me being the lowly “Roaster”.
This humble beginning left me with only one route to the top of the company and that was to sleep my way to the top. Five years after marrying my boss, I’m still the roaster, chief bottle washer, and VP of the keys. Considering my ambitions, I’m forced to continue sleeping with her, in hopes to being on top some day.
Sourcing The Smoothest Coffee Beans
Finding world class coffee beans isn’t easy. Initially, we taste tested coffee from all over the world. What we learned was that the smoothest coffee beans seemed to usually come from Central America.
Eventually we narrowed down our search to Costa Rica and then quickly to the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica. This unique coffee growing region is notorious for growing the smoothest coffee beans in the world with hints of chocolate, nut, and a variety of other flavors.
Little did we know that a majority of coffee roasters never taste test the coffee that they buy. A small percentage will cup two and maybe three samples of beans from different farmers or co-ops. Less than 1% of the roasters will sample more than a dozen. And here we are, this small, no-knack, coffee roaster from Idaho, sampling 20 different beans.
We work pretty hard to find the best coffee beans on the planet. Smooth is good, very good, but it’s not good enough. We wanted a bean that was not just smooth as silk, but one that was also complex, well integrated, and has prominent notes to chocolate, with subtle notes of layered flavors like citrus and nuts.
Working With Costa Rican Growers
Eventually, we found Royal Coffee; owned and run by the same family since the early 70’s. We told “Richard” at Royal that we have a very dedicated and long standing customer base with very exacting tastes. They want simply smooth coffee.
We explained that if it wasn’t super smooth, with strong notes of chocolate, don’t bother sending it to us to taste test. Where other coffee wholesalers hated hearing from me, Royal, on the other hand, was excited to meet our challenge.
This year it took over 20 samples to find our super smooth bean with strong notes of chocolate. We’ve already found, procured, and warehoused 9,000 pounds of beans for 2022 and contracted for 2023! So, your supply of super smooth coffee is secure.
The Fresher The Bean The Smoother The Coffee
Sure, it’s imperative that you start with a good flavored and super smooth bean, but if the roasted coffee isn’t fresh, then you might as well be drinking Folgers or Yuban.
Here’s a fact of life that most people either don’t know or the professionals refuse to admit. All coffee, even mine, starts going stale as soon as you roast it. Last week’s roasted coffee isn’t as smooth and flavorful as this week’s.
A month after roasting and the coffee begins to get more and more bitter by the day. Unfortunately, and contrary to what other coffee companies will tell you; no amount of space-age packaging technology can change this fact. That’s why the old adage, “The fresher the bean the better the coffee”, was, is, and always will be true.
If you want smooth coffee then it had better have a roast date on the bag which is less than 30 days old and preferably less than 3 days old. This is precisely why we roast and ship on the same day, thus our motto, “From our roaster to your table in 24-72 hours”.
Secret Note: After much research and experimentation, I’ve found a trick to help your coffee to remain “almost” as fresh as the day it was roasted. CLICK HERE for that article.
Unfortunately, a vast majority of coffee sold in America has been sitting in warehouses and on store shelves for months if not years. No wonder it tastes so bitter. To hide this bitterness, most coffee companies, like Charbucks, burn the snot out of their beans.
By roasting in huge industrial hot-n-fast vats, Charbucks and their wanabees are saving themselves money at the cost of killing any chance of delivering to you a smooth cup of coffee and denying you that divine pleasure.
On the other hand, I roast your coffee low-n-slow in small batches. This low-n-slow method insures that the oils stay within the bean. Those oils are where all the bioflavonoids, antioxidants, caffeine, and flavor reside. The more oil inside the bean, the better the coffee.
Brewing in small batches makes a huge difference. The key here is that you want to be able to taste the beans not the roaster. Large industrial coffee companies, like Yuban, Hills Brothers, Folgers, and Charbucks, can’t do that when they roast thousands of pounds of coffee at a time in massive vats.
We roast in 15 pound lots. Each batch is hand roasted, hand packed into bags, and hand boxed. Each and every customer of our is a potential friend and we value your patronage so much that we put our heart and soul into your coffee. That’s why roasting to us is an art. It is not a science, nor is it just business.
Brewing Great Coffee
Starting with super high quality beans and roasting them low-n-slow to perfection is only 50% of the smooth-cup-of-coffee equation. The other 50% of the equation is in your brewing. That’s where Alisha and I shine. We love teaching our customers how to properly brew their coffee. If you think that you’re already and expert, GREAT! If you love your brewing method, GREAT! But if you’re open to learning how to take your coffee drinking to a whole new level, then we’re here for you.
In addition to teaching you how to brew great coffee, we’ll encourage you to experiment. You need to learn what you like best, which means experimenting. There are over 100 compounds inside of roasted coffee beans. Each brewing method has a dozen different variable, each of which will draw out of those beans different compounds, each of which has its own flavor. Ultimately, the number of different flavors that you can draw out of a single bag of coffee isn’t endless, but it’s close. Therefore, my recommendation is that you experiment.
Additionally, there are more brewing techniques than Carter has Liver Pills (Old folk talk for “a lot”). I wrote a thorough blog post on “How To Make The Smoothest Cup Of Coffee”. Just CLICK HERE.
Where to Find The Best Coffee Beans
At Lake City Coffee we only sell whole bean coffee and we keep it simple for you. We have one bean and 3 roasts. Period. End of story. Frankly, that’s all you need.
Additionally we roast and ship the same day, so you’ll get the freshest coffee that you’re likely to find anywhere. We roast and ship every Tuesday morning, with delivery in 24-72 hours, depending on how far you live from Coeur d’Alene Idaho.
Your search for the smoothest coffee beans is over. My suggestion is that you do yourself a favor and check out our Whole Bean Coffee Shopping page.
If you’re still not sure, then check out our Reviews page.
Well, we’ve done it again. In December of 2021, we taste tested over 20 coffee bean samples and selected the best coffee bean that we’ve ever come across. These beans are even better than last year’s. Then we immediately contracted for enough beans to get us through all of 2022. In fact, these beans are the smoothest and most flavorful beans that I have ever tasted. I’m sure that you’ll be as impresses as I am.