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Famous Coffee Beans: Origins & Flavor: Different Types of Coffee: Beans, Roasts & Drinks

by Editorial Staff 20 Jul 2023

Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages worldwide, and it comes from different coffee bean types, each with its unique characteristics. The two main species of coffee beans that dominate the market are Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora (commonly known as Robusta). Let's explore these two species and their respective characteristics:

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Coffee Bean Types and Their Characteristics

Coffea Arabica:

  • Arabica beans generally produce higher-quality coffee with more complex flavors and aromas.
  • They have a smoother, milder taste than Robusta, often described as having floral, fruity, and sometimes nutty notes.
  • Arabica coffee typically contains less caffeine than Robusta beans, making it a preferred choice for those sensitive to caffeine or seeking a more moderate caffeine content.

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Coffea Canephora (Robusta):

  • Robusta beans are hardier and easier to grow, making them more resistant to pests and diseases. They are often produced at lower altitudes.
  • Robusta beans have a stronger, more bitter taste than Arabica and are often described as having earthy, woody, and sometimes even rubbery flavors.
  • They contain significantly more caffeine than Arabica beans, which can appeal to those seeking a more potent and energizing coffee.

Numerous coffee varieties within each species are influenced by the growing region, altitude, soil type, climate, and processing methods. These factors contribute to different coffees' wide range of flavors and characteristics worldwide.

Some Famous Coffee Bean Varieties Include:

  1. Typica: A classic Arabica variety is known for its balanced flavor profile and pleasant acidity.
  2. Bourbon: Another Arabica variety, known for its sweetness, fruity flavors, and often grown at high altitudes.
  3. Geisha (or Gesha): A highly sought-after Arabica variety with unique floral and tea-like flavors, originally from Ethiopia.
  4. Catuai: A hybrid of Bourbon and Caturra, often grown in Central and South America, producing a smooth and mild cup.
  5. SL28 and SL34: Arabica varieties from Kenya, known for their vibrant acidity and fruity notes.
  6. Maragogipe: A mutation of Arabica, also known as "Elephant Bean," due to its large size, producing a unique flavor profile.
  7. Excelsa (Coffea excelsa): Another coffee species, separate from Arabica and Robusta, known for its tart and fruity flavors, often used in blends.

Exploring different coffee varieties and experimenting with various brewing methods is important to find the best flavors that suit your palate. Coffee tasting can be a delightful and exciting journey, revealing a world of flavors and nuances hidden within these beans.

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Different Types of Coffee: Beans, Roasts & Drinks

Below is the list of different types of coffee, covering different kinds of coffee beans, roasts, and coffee drinks:

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Coffee Beans:

  • Arabica: The most popular and widely cultivated coffee bean species, known for its smooth and flavorful profile with fruity and floral notes.
  • Robusta: A hardier coffee bean species with higher caffeine content and a stronger, bitter taste often used in espresso blends and instant coffee.
  • Liberica: Less common than Arabica and Robusta, Liberica beans have a unique fruity and floral taste, primarily in West Africa.
  • Excelsa: A distinct coffee species with tart and fruity flavors, used in blends to add complexity to the taste.

Coffee Roasts:

  • Light Roast: Roasted for a shorter time, these beans are golden brown, retaining their original flavor and showcasing brighter acidity.
  • Medium Roast: A balance between light and dark roasts, offering a well-rounded flavor with slightly less acidity than light roasts.
  • Dark Roast: Roasted longer, these beans are dark brown and have a more pronounced smoky, bitter flavor with less acidity.
  • Espresso Roast: A specific roast level optimized for making espresso, generally leaning towards a medium to dark roast.
  • French Roast: A dark roast level, with almost black beans, producing bold and smoky flavors.
  • Italian Roast: A dark roast level commonly used in Italy, creating a shiny black bean with a rich, full-bodied flavor.

Coffee Drinks:

  • Espresso: A concentrated shot of coffee made by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans, resulting in a strong and intense flavor.
  • Cappuccino: Equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foam, often topped with cocoa or cinnamon.
  • Latte: Espresso with steamed milk, topped with a small amount of foam.
  • Americano: Espresso is diluted with hot water, creating a milder flavor reminiscent of drip coffee.
  • Flat White: Espresso with velvety microfoam milk, similar to a latte but with a higher coffee-to-milk ratio.
  • Macchiato: Espresso with a foamed milk dollop creates a bolder and more pronounced coffee taste.
  • Mocha: Espresso, steamed milk, chocolate syrup, or cocoa powder, resulting in a chocolate-flavored coffee drink.
  • Affogato: A simple dessert-style coffee consisting of a scoop of vanilla ice cream or gelato "drowned" in a shot of hot espresso.
  • Irish Coffee: Coffee spiked with Irish whiskey, sweetened with sugar, and topped with whipped cream.
  • Vietnamese Egg Coffee: A unique Vietnamese specialty made with egg yolks, condensed milk, sugar, and robusta coffee.
  • Turkish Coffee: Finely ground coffee simmered with water and sugar, served unfiltered with grounds settled at the bottom.
  • Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony: A traditional Ethiopian coffee preparation involving roasting beans, grinding, and brewing in a special pot called a "jebena."
  • Cold Brew: Coffee brewed with cold water over an extended period, resulting in a smooth, less acidic coffee, often served over ice.

These are just a few coffee variations and styles enjoyed worldwide. Coffee culture is diverse and continually evolving, offering a rich tapestry of flavors and experiences for coffee enthusiasts to explore.

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What is The Difference Between Arabica Vs? Robusta Coffee Beans

Arabica and Robusta are the two primary species of coffee beans that dominate the global coffee market. They have distinct characteristics, which make them unique and suitable for various coffee preferences and applications. Let's compare Arabica and Robusta based on multiple factors:

Taste and Flavor:

  • Arabica: Arabica beans are known for their smooth and complex flavor profile. They often have floral, fruity, and sometimes nutty notes. They generally offer a more balanced and milder taste compared to Robusta beans.
  • Robusta: Robusta beans have a stronger and more bitter taste with earthy, woody, and sometimes even rubbery flavors. The higher caffeine content in Robusta can contribute to its slightly more astringent and harsh taste.

Caffeine Content:

  • Arabica: Arabica beans contain lower levels of caffeine compared to Robusta beans. On average, Arabica coffee has about 1.2-1.5% caffeine content.
  • Robusta: Robusta beans have nearly double the caffeine content of Arabica, averaging around 2.2-2.7%. This higher caffeine content contributes to the stronger and more energizing nature of Robusta coffee.

Growing Conditions:

  • Arabica: Arabica plants are more delicate and sensitive to environmental factors. They thrive at higher altitudes, with ideal conditions, including cool temperatures, high elevations, and consistent rainfall. Arabica is primarily grown in regions with a tropical or subtropical climate.
  • Robusta: Robusta plants are hardier and more resistant to pests and diseases. They can tolerate lower altitudes and warmer temperatures. Robusta coffee is commonly cultivated in regions with a lower altitude and a more robust climate.

Cultivation and Production:

  • Arabica: Arabica beans account for approximately 60-70% of the world's coffee production. Due to their sensitivity to climate and pests, Arabica cultivation requires more care and attention from farmers.
  • Robusta: Robusta beans comprise 30-40% of global coffee production. Robusta plants are easier to cultivate and yield higher, making them more cost-effective for farmers.

Price and Market Demand:

  • Arabica: Arabica coffee generally commands a higher price in the market due to its perceived superior quality and more complex flavor profile. Specialty coffee roasters and enthusiasts often prefer it.
  • Robusta: Robusta coffee is typically more affordable than Arabica and is commonly used in commercial blends, instant coffee, and espresso blends to provide a strong caffeine kick and crema.

In summary, Arabica coffee is favored for its refined taste, pleasant acidity, and delicate flavors, while Robusta is appreciated for its strength, caffeine content, and use in espresso blends. Both types of coffee beans have their place in the coffee industry and appeal to different consumer preferences. The choice between Arabica and Robusta ultimately comes down to personal taste and the desired coffee experience.

Coffee Beans Guide Origin & Different Types

There's a coffee beans guide covering the Origin and different types of coffee beans:

Arabica Coffee (Coffea Arabica):

  • Origin: Arabica is believed to have originated in the highlands of Ethiopia and is now grown in various regions around the world, including Latin America, Africa, Asia, and some parts of the Pacific.
  • Characteristics: Arabica beans are known for their smooth, mellow flavor with a wide range of delicate and complex notes, including floral, fruity, nutty, and sometimes chocolaty flavors. They generally have a lower caffeine content than Robusta beans.

Robusta Coffee (Coffea Canephora):

  • Origin: Robusta originated in the central and western sub-Saharan regions of Africa. It is mainly grown in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Brazil.
  • Characteristics: Robusta beans have a more robust and bitter taste than Arabica, with earthy, woody, and sometimes rubbery flavors. They have a higher caffeine content, making them popular for their strong and energizing qualities.

Liberica Coffee (Coffea liberica):

  • Origin: Liberica is native to West and Central Africa. It is less commonly cultivated and represents a small percentage of global coffee production.
  • Characteristics: Liberica beans have a unique flavor profile with fruity and floral notes, often described as having a distinct and wild taste. They are larger compared to Arabica and Robusta beans.

Excelsa Coffee (Coffea excelsa):

  • Origin: Excelsa, also known as Coffea excelsa or Coffea pseudoexcelsa, is native to Southeast and East African regions.
  • Characteristics: Excelsa beans have a tart and fruity flavor with hints of dark fruit, making them a sought-after component for adding complexity to coffee blends.

Blue Mountain Coffee (Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee):

  • Origin: Grown in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, this coffee is considered one of the finest and most expensive in the world.
  • Characteristics: Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is known for its smooth, mild flavor, balanced acidity, and subtle sweetness.

Kopi Luwak (Civet Coffee):

  • Origin: Kopi Luwak is not a specific coffee bean variety but a coffee made from beans eaten and excreted by civet cats in Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries.
  • Characteristics: The fermentation process that occurs during the civet's digestive system imparts unique flavors to the beans, resulting in a smooth, low-acidity coffee with unusual undertones.

Geisha (or Gesha) Coffee:

  • Origin: Geisha is an Ethiopian variety that gained popularity after being cultivated in Panama's Boquete region.
  • Characteristics: Geisha coffee is renowned for its floral, tea-like flavors and vibrant acidity, often commanding high prices in specialty coffee markets.

Bourbon Coffee:

  • Origin: Bourbon is a variety of Arabica coffee that originated on Bourbon (now Réunion) in the Indian Ocean.
  • Characteristics: Bourbon beans are known for their sweetness, balanced acidity, and sometimes wine-like or fruity notes.

These are just a few examples of the diverse world of coffee beans, each offering unique flavors and characteristics based on their Origin and variety. Coffee enthusiasts can explore different beans and brewing methods to discover the vast array of tastes coffee offers.

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