Coffee Bean Types
All coffee comes from coffee beans, which are the seeds of the coffee plant. Coffee is grown in about 560 countries of the world and is second only to oil in world trade. Just about all the beans contain two stones that have their flat sides together. They consist mostly of endosperm, which is what contains the caffeine – the main attraction of coffee. The type of coffee bean harvested depends on the species of tree. The various species of coffee beans are:
- Coffea arabica
- Coffea bengahalensis
- Coffea canephora
- Coffea congensis
- Coffea excelsea
- Coffea gallienii
- Coffea bonnieri
- Coffea mogeneti
- Coffea liberica
- Coffea steophylla
Of these Coffea arabica is the most common of the coffee beans used in making coffee. Coffea caephora grows in areas where arabica cannot thrive. There are two species of the canephora beans – robusta and conolin. It is the different coffee beans that give each kind of coffee its distinctive flavor.
Coffea arabica is grown mainly in Central and South America and in Central Africa. This type of tree needs high altitudes of between 2000 and 6000 feet and needs warm temperatures. The characteristics of the beans of this plant are a balanced aroma with a sweet taste. The higher the altitude at which the coffee is grown increases the cost because of the amount of labor needed to harvest the beans and the expenses of transporting it. Although all specialty coffees are 100% arabica, the bean itself is not a specialty.
Coffea canephora is generally grown at from sea level up to 200 feet in the wet valleys and humid rainforests of Brazil, West Africa and Indonesia. It has a higher caffeine content and a heavier content than arabica. This is the coffee bean generally used in creating the coffee grounds used in instant coffee.
Certain blends of coffee come from specific areas and are known for their different tastes. For example, the coffee beans from Guatemala have completely different flavor that those grown in Kenya.
The grinding process of the coffee beans has a lot to do with its flavor. Turkish coffee is the finest grind and is the best coffee you can get. The brewing method also affects the taste of the coffee.