When you walk into a coffee shop, you usually have a wide selection of different types of coffee beans that you generally have no understanding of except for the little description on each of the packages. Usually, these will be based more on the stores flavorings of these coffees rather than the beans themselves. But there are a number of actual different types of coffee beans that are sold on the market which you can use as a basic barometer.
Coffee arabica is the major preferred type of coffee throughout the world, and is also the most consumed. It is more expensive than its main competitor, coffee robusta, because it is a bit more difficult to cultivate. In general, coffee arabica has to be cultivated in the mountains around a height of 4000 feet above sea level, and potentially up to two miles above sea level (and also, potentially at sea level, though this is rare). It also needs to grow in a place with a relatively consistent temperature, around 70 degrees Fahrenheit at most times, and in a place of moderate shade. It takes 7 years for them to grow into mature seeds. It gets its name from the Arabian peninsula, where it was originally cultivated in Yemen. It also grew in Northeastern Africa, where it is not grown as often anymore. Most Colombian coffee, which is generally considered some of the best coffee in the world, is arabica coffee.
Robusta, in general, is a lower quality coffee, but it has a much higher level of caffeine and is cheaper, making it particularly popular around the world. Robusta coffee doesn’t have quite as much flavor as coffee arabica, so it is usually saved for instant coffee or for cheap, ready-made coffee. They are grown at lower altitudes, and unlike a lot of coffee arabica beans, they don’t have to be picked by hand, making them significantly cheaper to farm.
In general, coffee is divided into these two different types of coffee beans, but their taste tends to differ widely depending on where they are from and how they are brewed, much like in the wine business. There are a number of different regions with different industries involved in growing coffee, most notably East and Central Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Central America, South America, Southeast Asia, and Indonesia. Their taste also depends on how they are roasted. Coffee beans are a light green shade when they are first picked, and then are roasted to taste to make them a certain flavor. This can be anywhere from a light, medium, to dark roast. You’ve undoubtedly seen this at the coffee shop as well. The problem with judging them by region is that they are generally different depending on how well they are cultivated and roasted, which in these countries can vary wildly depending on the region.
Some of the other notable types of coffee beans which you may want to try sometime is:
Kona coffee, which is only grown on the Big Island of Hawaii. It tends to be very expensive, but is known for being absolutely delicious.
Kopi Luwak is a very rare coffee that is known for its distinct flavor. Granted, the reason for this distinct flavor is that the coffee fruit, grown in Indonesia, are fed to a small weasel-like animal known as the Asian palm civet, which then poops out the coffee beans, only partially digested. The beans are then given a light roast, ground, and served as coffee. The main difference is that cups of Kopi Luwak aren’t bitter, which is why they are so much more expensive. This is one of the most expensive varieties of coffee there is.
Jamaican Blue Mountain
This coffee is one of the other expensive types of coffee (guess where it’s grown?). They are grown at fairly high altitudes.
The types of coffee beans you eat also depends on the roast and flavorings added to the coffee, as well as the coffee drink you’re having it in. So try a bunch of different things out and enjoy.