Of the millions who drink coffee everyday, how many do you think are able to tell the difference in the tastes of coffee beans? Once roasted and served, it is hard to notice and only the connoisseurs can spot major differences.
An average coffee consumer can tell if the coffee is strong enough, has a pleasant aroma or if it tastes… good. When it comes to the daily cup, there are two types of coffee beans that matter: Arabica and Robusta. Coffea arabica, known as Arabica coffee, accounts for 75-80 percent of the world’s production. Coffea canephora, known as Robusta coffee, accounts for about 20 percent and differs from the Arabica coffees in terms of the amount of caffeine content.
Nowadays, if you want to delight your customers with an excellent cup of coffee and unforgettable experience, you have to know more than just the difference between those two. You also need to get familiar with Arabica coffee varieties – the diverse subspecies delivered through selective breeding or natural selection of coffee plants.
Arabica Coffee Beans
Arabica coffees are richly aromatic, with a sweet and slightly acidulous flavour. It is a fact that all the best tasting coffee is made from Arabica, so you should remember its most popular varieties: Typica, Bourbon, and Caturra. Because Arabica is self-pollinating, these varieties are stable, but sometimes do mutate into strains that are then cultivated.
Clean, full body, sweet flavor
Typica is the base from which many of the coffee varieties are developed. Typica has a very low production, but an excellent cup quality.
Complex acidity, caramel-like sweetness, balance
Bourbon became the second most commercialized Arabica variety after Typica. Both the Typica and Bourbon varieties of Arabica are produced in large quantities throughout the world, but are slowly being replaced by more productive and disease-resistant varieties such as Caturra. Bourbon quality is generally accepted to be standard to good.
Critic and mild sweetness
Caturra is discovered as the natural mutation of Bourbon which is less sweet than its original. It is mostly grown in Colombia, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.
In total, there are more than 100 varieties of Arabica coffee and there are at least two more interesting to mention, besides the most popular varieties.
Dry, flowery, fruity
It is one of the oldest produced coffee beans, known for its complex, fruity flavor that resembles a dry red wine. What is interesting is that Ethiopian beans are carefully sorted and processed by hand. All Ethiopian varieties are trademarked names with the rights owned by Ethiopia.
Intense floral and jasmine-like aroma and a distinct though delicate acidity, balanced and bright with shimmers of white wine and notes of berries, mango, papaya, and mandarin oranges
Panama Geisha is grown in Panama. The most expensive varietal at coffee auctions, fetching US$350.25 in 2013.
Robusta coffee beans have on average 83% more caffeine than Arabica beans, so making coffee with these beans will produce a much strong cup.
According to CoffeeChemistry.com, a Robusta bean is 2.2% caffeine, while an Arabica bean is 1.2% caffeine.
Robusta coffee tends to be bitter compared to Arabica and has less pleasant acidity levels. It is also more disease- and pest-resistant so it is easier to grow, making it rather a filler (in popular instant coffees) or a cost reducer. Some Robustas, however, are of high quality and valued especially in espressos for their deep flavor and good crema.
What are the taste values of Robusta coffee?
- It adds a more creamy look to the latte art
- It gives the morning “hit”. The fat in milk usually tends to mask Arabica taste, with a creamy and bitter taste from the first sip. Eventually, the oils from Arabica take over and leave a pleasant caramel aftertaste.
Many customers are developing an awareness and appreciation of the varied taste profiles of coffee. It is the opinion of many that big coffee chains over-roast coffee. The primary reason for doing this is to mask undesirable characteristics of the beans.
Coffee lovers love their beans – be careful when choosing coffee beans for your coffee shop or restaurant. This is how you can make yourself stand out from your competitors who serve regular Grande Caffe Americano.