Coffee is made from coffee beans. But we cannot take the green beans from a coffee plant and brew a delicious cup of coffee. We first need to collect them, process the beans, and then push them through the roasting step. Depending on the type of bean we are using, the taste will vary. For example, a coffee bean’s size and inherent characteristics will vary depending on the plant variety, growing altitude, and other growing conditions such as temperature and soil type.
Do coffee beans have any effect on the taste of your coffee?
As far as the coffee beans’ size is concerned, larger coffee beans are assumed to be of better quality. This is because the bigger the beans, the more time they have been on the tree. This means they are riper and have developed all the other essential compounds. However, there is one type of bean that is small in size-known as peaberry. These types of beans are often of better quality despite being small in size and have a sweet taste and rich flavor.
You will hear baristas using different types of coffee beans in a blend to come up with a new taste. But they also have to keep a few things in mind. As a rule of thumb, bigger beans take a longer time to roast. Whereas smaller ones require less time. When you combine both small and big coffee beans, you must ensure the optimal temperature and roast time so that no bean gets overheated and no bean is insufficiently roasted.
When talking about coffee beans affecting the coffee taste, we have to acknowledge the effect of Terroir. It refers to the geographic location and other environmental factors contributing to the final coffee’s overall taste. This is why coffee from Kenya tastes much different than coffee from Brazil. And coffee beans from nearby regions will have similar profile characteristics.
The next factor that affects the taste of coffee beans is their ripeness. Beans from the same tree will rip at different times. This means you have to be very careful about which coffee beans you pick and what level of ripeness you are looking for.
Coffee Farm owners hire individual pickers for harvesting. They pick only those coffee cherries that are met a certain standard. Next, we have how coffee is processed. There are two primary ways coffee is processed- dry processing, and natural processing. Dry processing is the traditional method used by all native African farmers. In this process, the coffee beans are dried while still being inside the fruit.
And then there is the modern Washed/Wet-Processing. This method involves fermenting the coffee beans and then removing the seeds from the fruit/pulp. Depending on the processing method used, the coffee will have a different taste.
Different Types of Coffee Beans
There is a reason why Arabica is the most popular coffee and the most consumed one. It is believed to be the first coffee species that was cultivated by humans. And currently, this coffee breed contributes to 60% of global coffee production.
Arabica Coffee was found in Yemen and documented by the 12th century. It is well documented in ancient Arab artifacts that Arab scholars used Arabica coffee to prolong their working hours.
The best kind of Arabica coffee is grown in Sumatra and Java in Indonesia. They are known for their low acidity and heavy body. This is why they are ideal for blending with coffee from Central America and East Africa.
Next, we have Robusta coffee beans. It has its origin in Central and Western sub-Saharan Africa. Robusta is scientifically known as Coffea canephora. It has two main varieties- Robusta and Nganda. After plantation, the flowers take 10-11 months to ripen. The final developed cherries are oval-shaped.
There is one advantage of planting Robusta coffee- they have a higher yield than Arabica coffee beans. But they do contain more caffeine (2.7%) than Arabica coffee (1.5%). Moreover, they have less sugar content (3%) than Arabica Coffee (6%-9%). This is why Robusta isn’t as popular as Arabica coffee.
Robusta origins can be found in upland forests in Ethiopia, Western and Central Africa (Liberia, Tanzania, Angola).
New cultivation methods are being used to generate a higher yield in less space to meet global demand. Moreover, the use of pesticides and different herbicides is becoming more and more common.
Organic Coffee refers to any coffee that is grown naturally, without any chemical additives or artificial breeding grounds. To ensure a coffee brand that claims to be organic is truly organic, there is a global Organic Certification.
There are a few considerations that go into this certification. These factors include- using 100% organic fertilizers. Chicken manure, Bocchi(Bokashi), and coffee pulp are some types of organic fertilizer.
If a coffee farmer uses synthetic nitrogen, phosphate, or potash, they cannot be eligible for the 100% Organic Certification.
It is well known that the taste of coffee depends on the type of coffee beans. And one important factor of the final taste is the geographical location where the coffee was produced. Coffee from Indonesia has a different flavor profile. Similarly, coffee from the mountains of Brazil has a different flavor profile.
The Fair Trade certificate certifies the authentic origin of a batch of coffee. It is an important indicator for wholesale buyers, as well as small-scale baristas, as this is important for acing a specific taste profile.
As far as farmers are concerned, the Fair Trade certification allows coffee farmers to claim the right and fair price for their yields. The ultimate aim of this certification is to ensure a better life for coffee-growing families in developing countries.
Different religions have different rituals and festivals. But they also have some prohibitions on what is edible and what is not. Kosher Coffee is coffee that adheres to the Jewish religion’s strict eating and drinking standards.
We hope you learned something new about the different types of Coffee Beans from this article. So next time your friend starts a conversation on coffee, you will know when they are bluffing. Do let us know if you want us to cover any specific topic in the future. Leave a comment below, and we will get back to you.