We know that Coffee is a concoction brewed from roasted seeds, or as we call them ‘beans’ of the coffee plant. This plant was first discovered in the subtropical regions of Africa and Asia and is now grown majorly throughout Central and South America- amongst other parts of the world.
After harvesting the berries of the coffee plant, the flesh is removed, leaving the bean. Each coffee berry has two beans and on some rare occasion, just a single bean. These beans have a light grey-green color and which are roasted and ground to a powder. Coffee beans differ in their shape, color, and flavor depending on the region and environment in which are grown.
There are over a 100 coffee species, but the most popular are the Arabica & Robusta, while the less common are Liberica and Excelsa coffee beans. The first two are mainly used to produce commercial coffee, so let us understand them better.
Arabica - Coffea Arabica
Arabica beans are the most popular type of coffee bean. They constitute about 60% - 70% of the world’s coffee production. It is believed that these beans originated centuries ago in the hilltops of Ethiopia and may even be the first coffee beans ever to be consumed. Arabica beans are grown at high altitudes, in areas that receive continuous rainfall and have ample amount of shade. These trees are small and easy to prune.
As mentioned in our blog before, all coffee beans grow in the Bean Belt, the area between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. However, Arabica plants need extra shade, water, and high altitudes to grow properly. Their height usually ranges between 8-15ft when fully grown. These plants are prone to diseases and must be grown at an altitude of at least 2,000 feet. As, these beans are harder to grow, they fetch a higher price.
Arabica beans tend to have brighter bodies and less bitterness. They usually have more complex flavor profiles, aromas and possess a satisfying amount of acidity, which is why they are more popular among avid coffee drinkers. You can enjoy the taste of 100 % Arabica beans, in the Classico blend, sourced from the highlands of Brazil, Colombia & Papua New Guinea. It has a fruity, enchanting, and aromatic flavour with an after taste of dried nuts and unsweetened cocoa. Just like any other Arabica coffee, it is best enjoyed black, brew an espresso or lungo for the ultimate Arabica coffee experience.
Robusta - Coffea Canephora
The second most popular type of beans are Robusta. The name says it all, this coffee plant is extremely tolerant of its environment and immune to plant disease. Robusta coffee can adjust to a different altitude, but particularly requires a hot climate with less moisture. It is said that this plant originated in Africa and is now grown primarily in Africa, Indonesia & India. It’s also very popular in Vietnam, which is the largest producer and is often mixed with different coffee blends. Robusta beans are larger and more rounded than others. These plants typically grow much larger than Arabica plants, and measure anywhere between 15-20 feet. They can grow at altitudes between 300 - 800 metres above sea level.
The fruits have a relatively short ripening period of about 6 months. Thus, it bears more fruits that ripen faster than those of the Arabica plant. Robusta coffee beans also contain almost double the amount of caffeine content as compared to Arabica. It is this caffeine that makes the beans robust.
Good quality Robusta beans have a smooth texture, they are low in acidity, and frequently have a hint of chocolate in their flavor. These beans contain less coffee oil, which results in a better crema. It is also the perfect coffee for cream and sugar lovers, as it does not loose flavor when adding milk or sugar. The Decaf blend is 100% Premium Robusta, sourced from the farms of Vietnam, the second largest producer of coffee. It has a mild acidity with delicious hints of nuts and spice.
If you want the best of both worlds and wish to try a blend that has a combination of premium Arabica & Robusta beans, then the Intenso blend is the one for you. This is South American Arabica Coffee balanced with flavors from Asia, medium roasted with an intense and full array of aromas. The blend is crafted to deliver a rich, full, and long-lasting taste with notes of chocolate and an after-taste of spices and dried fruit. You can enjoy it as an Espresso or a Cappuccino.
Knowing the difference in the types of coffee beans, their origin, roasting profile, and taste notes will help you choose the perfect flavour profile for your routine cup of coffee.