Know Your Beans
“A good cup of coffee depends on its roast profile, method of preparation, origin of the bean, its grind and most importantly its type.”
Coffee is regarded as the most popular beverage on the planet. This is because of the versatility of the beverage. It can be consumed as hot or cold beverage, with or without milk and as a dessert or as an early morning stimulator. All these aspects make coffee a different experience depending on how you choose to make it, grind it and roast it. But at the heart of all this the base flavour of the coffee depends on the type of beans used to prepare the coffee. There are two different varieties and here’s a little about each.
Arabica Coffee Bean (Coffea Arabica)
This variant of beans belongs to the Rubiaceae family of plants which produce 59% of the world’s coffee. Arabica has its origin in the high hills of Ethiopia. The high altitude and the hot and humid weather condition contribute to the superior flavour of this type of bean.
The Arabica bean coffee plants today can be found in various parts of the globe from Latin America to some parts of Africa. Each of these variants of Arabica have a different taste and a flavour profile. The beans from Ethiopia are much smoother as compared to their counterparts from Kenya which have a little more tart in them. On an average these beans have a caffeine content of 1.5%.
These beans come from the seed and are found inside the red fruits of the coffee plant. This bean is known to be flat and long and is harvested right after rainfall when it ripens. The base flavour of an arabica bean is characterised by a strong and sweet aroma with hints of chocolate and slight bitterness.
The Robusta Coffee Bean (Coffea Canephora)
Robusta has its origin in central and western parts of Africa, South America, India, Indonesia and Vietnam. These contribute to approximately 30% of the whole world’s coffee production. Unlike their Ethiopian counterpart that takes 9 months to ripe the Robusta beans take around 11 months to flower and produce fruit. These beans have a higher caffeine content of 2.7%.
The fruit resembles the Arabica fruit but the beans are oval in shape. The flavour of the coffee is very different from that of Arabica and has a strong earthy undertone with much more bitterness as compared to Arabica.