Will's Blog

The Best Coffee Beans for Your Favourite Brew

on Jun 30, 2023

Updated 20 May 2024

Selecting the best coffee beans starts with matching them to your preferred drink and brewing method.

There are plenty of guides spruiking their opinion on the best coffee beans in Australia, but they don't explain how to choose the right ones based on your morning brew.

We’re not ashamed to admit we take our coffee pretty seriously - as a specialty roaster, we live and breathe it. You’re probably here because you’re particular about coffee, too. While you can trust you’re in good hands at your favourite local café, it can be hard to know how to select the right freshly roasted beans to maximise your coffee experience.

Let's dive in.

Best Beans for Espresso and other Black Coffees

In short, a light or medium roast is the perfect match for black coffee types such as:

  • Short Black
  • Long Black
  • Ristretto
  • Lungo
  • Doppio (Double Espresso)

If you like strong coffee without milk, a lighter roast is the way to go. Light to medium roasted coffees often produce a more interesting, flavourful and balanced cup (acidity vs sweetness).

From our all-star specialty coffee line-up, we’d recommend Three-Oh-Three. It’s our most complex blend, roasted lightly to allow the unique flavours of each region to shine.

A bag of Will & Co Three-oh-Three specialty beans and a black coffee being poured into a glass
Flavour Profile Experience light body and caramel sweetness before delicate notes of blackberry envelope the palate, finishing with crisp citrus flavours.
Origin Zimbabwe, Colombia, Brazil
Roast Light-Medium
Tasting Notes Blackberry, Roasted Peanut & Lemon Zest
Process Mixed (Natural & Washed)
Extraction Parameters Dose/In: 23.5g | Yield/Out: 50g | Time: 30-33 seconds

 Shop Three-oh-Three Coffee Beans Now

It combines three of the world’s finest Arabicas - Brazilian, which lays a base of caramel sweetness and buttery smoothness, Colombian, which produces delicate blackberry notes, and Zimbabwean, which leaves you with soft, crisp citrus flavours. There’s certainly a lot to enjoy in this blend.

A cup of coffee with a saucer

Best Coffee Beans for Milk-Based Espressos

Dark roasts make the best coffee for milk drinks like:

  • Flat White
  • Latte
  • Cappuccino
  • Mocha
  • Macchiato
  • Piccolo
  • Iced Coffee

A dark roast coffee bean is best suited for milk-based drinks as it creates cut-through – meaning you can still taste and enjoy the coffee when mixed with milk. 

Our Eight-O-Eight blend delivers exactly that. It’s full bodied and crisp, with rich tasting notes of caramel, hazelnut and chocolate. One of our most unique signature blends, it's made up of 100% Arabica beans from Guatemala and Brazil in Central and South America. 

A bag of Eight-o-Eight beans on the kitchen table at breakfast time 
Flavour Profile Full body and crisp acidity that is expertly balanced. Taste notes of sweet chocolate and hazelnuts before a silky smooth caramel finish.
Origin Brazil & Guatemala
Roast Medium-Dark
Tasting Notes Caramel, Hazelnuts & Chocolate
Process Mixed (Natural & Washed)
Extraction Parameters Dose/In: 23g | Yield/Out: 44g | Time: 28-32 seconds

Shop Eight-o-Eight Coffee Beans Now

There's a reason Eight-o-Eight is our top seller, they are simply the best specialty beans in our range.

The Guatemalan beans are grown at high altitude in volcanic soil and are complemented by Brazilian beans sourced from tropical savanna regions known for their natural credentials and superior quality coffee production. Coffees grown from these areas make for a perfectly balanced, smooth blend.

Related: If you're a café or coffee shop, we offer wholesale coffee beans, barista training, marketing support and lot's more.

A close up of a bag of Will & Co's Eight-o-Eight beans being held by the corner

Best Beans for Cold Brew and other Alternative Brewing Methods

Choose a single origin bean for non-espresso coffees brewed via the following:

  • AeroPress
  • V60
  • Chemex
  • Moccamaster
  • Stovetop
  • Plunger/French Press
  • Pour overs

If you use any of these alternative brewing methods, we recommend choosing single origin beans. Alternative brewing is a great way to enjoy singles as they typically results in a lighter-bodied coffee compared to an espresso. This means you can better appreciate the delicate tasting notes of the coffee beans, which, when roasted on the lighter side, accentuate the unique tasting notes further.

Throughout the year, Will & Co roasts limited batches of singles from across the world. When these are available, be sure to stock up.

What if I can't get my hands on single origin beans?

If singles are out of stock, our lightest blends – Three-Oh-Three and Goofy – would be our next picks for alternative brewing. Goofy is a slightly darker roast than Three-Oh-Three, which we covered above, and works well with a dash of milk.

A close up of Will & Co's Goofy coffee beans
Flavour Profile Light, clean body with a bright, elegant finish and notes of sweet florals with roasted peanut and lemon lingering in the aftertaste.
Origin South America & Indonesia
Roast Medium
Tasting Notes Sweet Florals, Roasted Peanut & Lemon
Process Mixed (Natural & Washed)
Extraction Parameters Dose/In: 22g | Yield/Out: 48g | Time: 27-29 seconds

 Shop Goofy Coffee Beans Now

Sydneysiders can also pick up Will & Co single origin coffee year-round at our HQ Tasting Bar in Bondi Beach.

You can also buy our beans online direct from our Sydney roastery. See the following link for the range of specialty coffee beans. Why not check out our subscription coffee program, too!

Coffee lovers, for more information about alternative brewing techniques, check out our handy brewtorials or our post on how to make a cold brew coffee at home.

Here's Josh Passaro, Head of Will & Co, teaching you how to make a plunger coffee:

FAQs About Choosing the Right Coffee Beans

What are the most popular coffees in Australia?

We're big coffee drinkers in this country. Around 75% of Aussies drink at least one cup per day, keeping coffee roasters and baristas busy!

We heavily favour milk-based coffees, with the top three most popular being the cappuccino, latte, and Australia’s very own creation, the flat white. Their ranking order varies by state, but they’re consistently at the top. A quarter (25%) of all coffees sold at cafés across the country.

Learn more about Australia’s most popular coffee orders – and what types of milk we prefer – here.

What are the smoothest coffee beans?

When it comes to describing coffee, “smooth” refers to coffee that’s free from harsh flavours and isn’t too bitter. Arabica is arguably the smoothest type of coffee bean on the market. It’s generally less acidic and has more complex, balanced flavours.

Blends also tend to be smoother than singles as the characteristics of various origins balance each other out. That doesn’t mean that single origins aren’t smooth - there are a bunch out there - but many singles highlight punchy, fruit-forward notes and bright acidity. When it comes to the Will & Co line-up, our signature blend, Eight-O-Eight, is the smoothest house blend of the bunch.

What’s the difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee beans?

Arabica and Robusta are the two most common coffee bean types in the world, but the quality of the cup they make is quite different. Only Arabica coffee beans can be classified as “specialty grade”; these are often described as being sweeter, smoother and more complex than Robusta. They are grown at higher altitudes, which enhances their unique flavour profile, and also contain a less intense caffeine form that’s more palatable.

Opt for Arabica coffee beans if you want the best - your taste buds will thank you for it.

Robusta beans, on the other hand, are grown at lower altitudes and have a much stronger taste due to their higher caffeine levels. Robusta coffee tastes earthier and more bitter, and is often found in instant coffees as it’s less expensive.

Will & Co uses 100% specialty grade Arabica coffee in all our espresso blends and singles. That’s a big part of our mission to share the world’s greatest coffees with the world’s greatest humans.

A barista pouring beans into the machine's hopper

What are specialty beans?

Long story short, specialty grade coffee beans are the best of the best. “Specialty” describes a particular coffee made from the most premium quality beans grown in ideal conditions with tender loving care by experienced coffee farmers.

A specialty-grade rating refers to Arabica coffees that score 80 or more on a 100-point scale assessed by professionals known as Q-Graders, who are skilled in sensory evaluation of green coffee (they’re basically the wine sommelier equivalent to the coffee industry).

Seriously, if you're yet to try a delicious cup of specialty coffee with its silky crema, you're in for a sensory experience. The unique blends and flavour profiles available on the Australian market are excellent.

If you’re keen to learn more about Arabica coffee beans, check out our blog: What’s all the fuss about specialty coffee?

How long does fresh coffee last?

Coffee is a perishable product, which means it can and does go bad. All beans, regardless of their specialty rating, contain natural oils that begin to oxidise when exposed to air. Even if you keep your beans away from oxygen, say in the sealed bag they came in, they will become stale with time.

Roasted coffee beans can last for up to a year in a vacuum-sealed bag or air-tight container, but once you’ve opened a bag, we recommend using them up as quickly as possible. Roast coffee retains most of its freshness if used within one week after opening, but only if stored in a cool, dark and dry environment with low exposure to oxygen.

You can still make good coffee with these beans up to three weeks from opening, but the flavour that takes your cuppa from “good” to “great” will have deteriorated significantly. Click the following link to find out more about storing coffee to keep it fresh to ensure you make the best coffees.

How do I make the perfect cup of coffee?

To get the best out of your coffee beans in a home machine, here are some fail-safe tips:

  • Always use fresh beans and only grind what you need
  • Follow the recipe – each Will & Co coffee has a unique set of brewing parameters regarding dose, yield and time, which you can find on each product page
  • Make sure you clean your machine on a regular basis – we know it’s an annoying task, but tending to your machine once a month should do the trick and save you money in the long term

If you’re using an alternative brewing method (AeroPress, V60, Chemex, Moccamaster, Stovetop, Plunger/French Press, etc.), make sure to check out our brewtorials, but here is some universal advice for making high quality coffee at home:

  • Preheat your brewing device by rinsing it with hot water
  • Use freshly-ground coffee suited for your brewing style
  • Weigh your coffee and water and use a timer to get exact
  • Heat your water to 94-96 degrees Celsius – boiling water will make your coffee bitter (the right water temperature is often overlooked)
  • Clean your brew gear after each use so it’s ready for next time

Hopefully our guide has helped you find the best coffee beans for the type of drink you love. Don't forget to check out our range made right here at our coffee roastery in Sydney.

A close up of a barista's hand holding a cup of freshly made coffee