Coffee is one of the most regarded beverages in the world. Like you, millions of people start their day with a cup of joe, across the US and all over the world.
There are countless ways of enjoying coffee, including different brewing methods and varied recipes.
Some may argue that the only way of drinking coffee is having a straight black shot of espresso (hello Italian friends!). Others like their coffee softer, more bold, with sugar, with milk, and even with cheese (yep, check out ¨Kaffeost¨).
But what do all cups of coffee have in common? You guessed, it all starts with coffee beans.
Contrary to what many people think, these seeds don't grow at ground level; coffee beans come from plants that range between 5 to 7 feet tall.
If you happened to pass by one, you would probably think it's a cherry tree: Coffee beans grow within bright red-grape looking berries.
Seventy countries actively produce coffee, but the majority of the world's produce comes from Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, and Honduras.
Main Types Of Coffee Beans In The Market
According to the National Coffee Association, there are anywhere between 25 to 100 coffee species in the world. But in the commercial coffee industry, we consume beans that fall into two main categories: Arabica and Robusta.
You've probably seen these names in coffee bags at the supermarket or in hip coffee shops around your city. But did you know they differ in growing conditions, taste, price and caffeine percentage? Let's dig into the main differences so you can have a better understanding when you are contemplating your next coffee purchase.
Arabica counts for about 70% of the coffee consumed. These beans tend to have a sweeter, softer flavor that leaves a light feel in the mouth. In contrast, Robusta gets described as earthy, strong, and peanutty. It has a lower acidity than Arabica beans, leaving a heavier feel in the mouth.
Arabica is grown in higher altitudes and requires more attention from farmers. This bean is susceptible to pests and needs specific conditions to flourish, including moisture, fertile soil, and a perfect balance between shade and sun. As you can imagine, this is the reason why Arabica beans are sold at a higher price.
Robusta has about twice the caffeine than Arabica. It has an entirely different taste and it's more acidic. These beans need far less care when it comes to growing conditions; they only ask for a lot of water. They grow at sea level and are less likely to be infected by pests.
Coffee made from Robusta beans is more bold and bitter, a characteristic that has become popular in espresso coffee.
In the end, it all comes down to your personal experience and how you feel when drinking one or the other. Now you are aware of the main differences! Nothing is good or bad when talking about coffee and coffee beans, it's all a matter of taste.