Varieties of coffee

Varieties of coffee

 It all starts with the coffee bean

Coffee beans

Baristas know that using fresh coffee beans and grinding them fresh for every cup delivers the perfect coffee taste.

There are three major varieties of coffee: the Robusta, Arabica , and the Blended types. Several other varieties of coffee exist nowadays. All of these varieties are prepared from the blends, which are mixed with other less expensive varieties to provide a new taste and flavour.

ARABICA

These plants are considered a high quality bean and produce very flavourful and aromatic coffee. Grown best in altitudes beyond 3,000 feet above sea level, Arabica plants demand more rigid growing requirements and are more expensive. Low in caffeine, low in acidity and high in flavour and aroma.

ROBUSTA

Less flavourful and less aromatic than Arabica, Robusta are not usually used in gourmet coffee roasts, but as a ‘filler’ bean for instant coffees in order to keep down roasters’ costs. Robusta has twice the caffeine of Arabica and is often responsible for a thicker ‘crema’ (hazelnut foam) to the top of an espresso.

BLENDING

Blending varieties of coffee for the ultimate taste requires combining those beans that complement one another, with characteristics that enhance the final product.

Ground Coffee

Coffee can be bought as pre-ground with different roast and coarseness levels.

The ground coffee coarseness is crucial to the flavour, aroma and quality of the coffee. Buy or grind the coarseness of coffee to your preference of taste: A finer setting will bring out more flavour and aroma, but may also be more bitter. A coarser setting will make a milder drink.

Espresso-based coffees

Fine grind to extract intense coffee flavours and aromas in 20 seconds to extract an espresso with plenty of crema.

Strong. Mixes well with milk.

Percolator coffee

Medium grind to allow the coffee to infuse into the water without becoming too bitter. 

Medium flavour and aroma.

Drip / filter coffee

Coarse grind to allow water under little pressure to filter through slowly and brew gradually. 

A smooth, mild flavour and aroma.

Coffee Roasts

There are different roast levels for the common types of ground coffee.

Light roast

Lighter taste and a higher acidity level.

Medium roast

Called the “classic roast” for many ground coffee brands, has a sweeter taste that is a bit stronger and has a near perfect acid and aroma blend.

Dark roast

A distinguishing strength where you can easily taste the roasted flavour of the bean.

Storing coffee

MAINTAIN QUALITY

The aroma and flavour of coffee degrades when exposed to moist air and sunlight.

Do:

Beans keep longer than ground coffee, so only grind what you need. 

Don't:

Put coffee in the fridge or freezer as when it is exposed to ambient air condensation will form on the cold coffee and moisture will degrade the coffee faster.