A Little Overview of Coffee Beans

The coffee plant has two main species. There is the Coffea Arabica, which is the more traditional coffee and considered to be superior in flavor, and the Coffea Canephora known more commonly as Robusta. Robusta tends to be higher in caffeine and can be grown in climates and environments were Arabica would not be profitable. Robusta is also typically more bitter and acidic in flavor. Because of this Robusta tends to be less expensive. High quality Robusta is also used to blend espresso for more bite, and to lower costs.

A little known fact is that some coffee beans improve their flavor with age. It is the green unroasted beans which are aged; the typical length of time is 3 years, though there are some houses which sell beans aged to 7 years. Aged beans have a fuller flavor and are less acidic.

Growing conditions, soil types and weather patterns during the growing season all contribute to the flavor of the bean, creating the differences in flavor from points of origin, such as Kenya or Brazil. However, roasting adds its own flavor, sometimes to the point that it is difficult to tell where the beans originated from, even by experienced cuppers.

The lighter the roast the more the natural flavor of the bean remains. This is why beans from regions such as Kenya or Java are normally roasted lightly, retaining their regional characteristics and dominate flavors. There is a method of roasting in Malaysia which adds butter during the roasting producing a variety called Ipoh White Coffee.

Beans roasted to darker browns begin to taste more like the method of roasting than the original flavors. Dark roasts such as French or Vienna Roasts tend to completely eclipse the original flavor. Roasting to whatever degree, while adding stronger flavor does not effect the amount of caffeine of the bean.

Fry pan roasting was popular in the 19th century, since the beans were normally shipped and purchased still in their green state. You simply poured the green coffee beans in a frying pan and roasted them in the kitchen. This process took a great deal of skill to do in a consistent manner. Fry pan roasting became much less popular when vacuum sealing pre-roasted coffee was perfected. However, in order to vacuum seal roasted beans, you had to wait for them to stop emitting CO2, as roasted beans do for several days after the roasting process. What this meant was that vacuum sealed coffee was always just a little stale as the flavors begin to turn bitter and deteriorate in just about a week after roasting.

Home roasting is once again becoming popular with the creation of computerized drum roasters which help simplify the process. There are some people who have found methods of effectively roasting beans using their hot air pop corn makers.

The region the bean is from as discussed before is a primary factor to the type of flavor you can expect from the brew, though it is very true that ‘new’ or unexpected tastes come from every region.

Arabia and Africa grow their coffee beans in high altitudes in the rich black soils of Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Tanzania. The flavors of these beans are distinct and of legendary status.

The Americas coffees are grown in near rainforest conditions in areas such as Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala. Coffees of the Americas tend to be very well balanced and aromatic.

The Pacifics includes coffees from Sumatra, Java, New Guinea and Sulawesi, which are as various in flavor as the islands they come from.

Then there are the exotics such as certified Jamaica Blue Mountain and certified Hawaiian Kona. These are rare indeed and can go for as much as $60.00 per pound.

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Find the Best Coffee

The social beverage of the word, coffee, is by far one of the most satisfying addictions one can have. That aroma of a fresh brewed cup of coffee can awaken the senses like nothing else. That first sip of sweet espresso or well made Turkish coffee can entice even the most devout coffee hater. Not any old coffee will drive men to tears over its savory goodness.

Choosing the right coffee blend is an art form. You can compare it to those who choose wines for gourmet dinners. Coffee is no different. Following are several tips to help you on the way to finding great coffee.

1. Do yourself a favor and avoid buying name brand coffee. All that you are doing is helping them pay for their substantial marketing machine.

2. Look for local roasters. They take great pride in their coffee beans and the roasting process. You may find a gem.

3. Roasting is one of the keys to a great coffee. Light roasts typically go way of being acidic in flavor. Dark roasts are more bitter and “full” or “medium” roasts are balanced between the two.

4. The higher quality coffee lends themselves to distinct flavors and sweetness regardless if they are dark roasts, medium or light roasts. A good bean roasted lightly will still be sweet with a touch of bitterness whereas a good bean dark roasted will be akin to a desert that contains nuts.

5. People like to think that certain countries produce different types of coffee. The best coffees produced tend to be suited to darker or lighter roasted coffees. Light to dark the countries are: Central America, South America and Caribbean, Africa and then finishing up with Indonesia and India.

6. Use coffee beans roasted for less than ten days prior. Older beans will simply taste like boring, unsweetened cocoa.

7. Grind your coffee beans minutes before actually brewing. This will give you the height of flavor and substance in your morning cup and make those gourmet coffee recipes shine above and beyond.

Arabica vs. Robusta

When you buy coffee at a Starbucks or online you will generally be buying Arabica coffee beans. Purchasing from a deli (typically an Italian-run one) will be a blend known as Robusta. Robusta is a bitter coffee with twice as much caffeine as Arabica beans.

Arabica is the choice of gourmet coffee drinkers all over the world. It is a subtle flavor that is sweet and nutty, but pleasant. Robusta is simply just too bitter and is really your grandfather’s blend and should be avoided for social coffee drinking.

All of this information is for naught if you do not get yourself a quality coffee maker in order to brew your favorite beverage. One-cup coffee makers are great because they keep your coffee fresh by the cup with no sitting around to get stale and lifeless. Espresso makers with milk steamers are great if you wish to experiment with your coffee. You do not need to spend hundreds of dollars on a machine either. Go with the best that fits your budget.

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An Introduction to Coffee Cupping

Coffee cupping is one of the tasting techniques used by cuppers to analyze coffee aroma and the flavor profile of a coffee. To know the trivial differences among coffee growing regions, it is significant to taste coffee from around the world side by side. Cupping is as well used to find out coffee defects or to make coffee blends.

Cupping Coffee

Table Preparation:

Normally, in coffee cupping session, the table is set up with 6 to 8 cups per coffee. These are set in a triangular way. At the top of this triangle you need to place a taster of a roasted coffee and a taster of the green coffee. In the center of the table place a cup of room warmth water and an unfilled cup containing the cupping spoons. Next you need to cover both the green sample and roasted taster until the cupping session is over and the coffee aroma, smell, and flavor profile have been completely documented. After this time, both coffee tasters can be uncovered and extra comments could be written based on appearance. This method normally helps reduce the common “eye coffee cupping” method.

Coffee Flavor Analysis:

After the coffee has cooled suitably take some coffee into the spoon and taste the coffee sturdily to aspirate it around the whole tongue. It is significant to aspirate sturdily as you are trying to cover the whole tongue consistently. Aspirating sturdily would as well cause tiny droplets of coffee to be dispersed into the throat and in the nasal passage. The nose could then act as another influential tasting tool. Most of the flavor experimental in a coffee is a consequence of aromatic compounds available in the coffee. This result could also be demonstrated by plugging your nose during drinking coffee. While the nasal passage is blocked, the coffee would probable taste same as to instant coffee as it lack aroma. When the nasal passage is opened, a full rainbow of flavors would then become evident.


The key to cupping coffee is carry out and humility. The best cuppers known are self-effacing and always eager to learn more. The beauty is that we agree to disagree while respecting and trying to recognize the characteristics, which other people find.

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