Updated: Jun 12
Coffee Beans come in all different varieties but they're not all equal
The coffee bean is the seed of the fruit(cherry) that grows on a genus of flowering plants called Coffea trees. One- third of all the world’s countries produce coffee. Each country produces its own style of coffee due to different regional growing traits. Some growing regions allow countries to harvest once a year and some allow year round harvest. There are hundreds of different Coffee trees, but we mainly only use two types which are Arabica and Robusta.
Arabica beans: These beans have a sweet softer taste, with sugar and fruit notes. Acidity is higher with winey characteristic Robusta beans: Has a stronger bleak taste with gritty like overtones and nutty aftertaste. Used mostly for espresso because of the well balanced creams and deep flavors. Knowing the difference between these two are very key when picking out your bean. 70 percent of the world's bean production comes from Arabica beans. This type of bean is used most commonly in specialty coffee shops due to its complex flavor profiles. They can be more expensive because they require more care from the farmers.
Robusta: Beans on the other hand are easier to grow and maintain, so they are less expensive to produce and purchase. Many coffee professionals view them as “lower quality” because they require less attention. Robust beans have a higher caffeine percentage then Arabica beans, so they can contain more bitter and have fewer desirable flavors. Also when picking out your beans take in consideration in which the coffee is being processed. There are a few different ways in which coffee is processed and it sets a precedent for the style of coffee that will leave the roaster.
Washed Method: Most common coffee processing method because of the overall
efficiency and consistency of the resulting product. This method requires an abundant supply of water and a large machine , so that the cherry can be split and squeezed forcing the bean from the skin and pulp.
Rustic Method: Very popular in the Indo-Pacific( Sumatra and Sulawesi) regions. Due to longer lag time between washing and drying and lack of resources, humid conditions, accessible to roads and export city’s this method is commonly used.
Natural Method: This method relies heavily on natural conditions and manual methods,limited water supplies play a big part in why this method is used. Inconsistency is a result of this method because there is little control of natural conditions,but it can produce some of the most exquisite coffees on earth.
Honey Method: This method was introduced in Brazil and has spread to Central America, particularly in Costa Rica. It is very similar to the washed process, where it has to go through the pulping machine to remove the outer skin. Instead of being transferred to tanks were they are set to fement, the beans are sent directly to the drying phase with part of its fruit still intact. To be correct a true honey coffee is dried with all of the fruit still attached. There are diffent variations and terms that go in with describe the process, red honey, yellow honey, black honey, and semi washed. Difference between all these are related to the amount of fruit that is left intact before drying.