If coffee is the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning, then welcome to the club! You may be wondering, what are the different types of coffee? Glad you decided to come to Coffee Refined for your answers!
Whether you drink it for its taste or for a boost of energy, coffee stands its ground as one of the most popular beverages around the globe. But have you ever wondered about all the different types of coffee and what makes them unique?
If you want to take your love for coffee to the next level by becoming a coffee expert, then you’re in for a treat! Today, we’ll be discussing everything you need to know about the different types of coffee beans and drinks. Let’s dive in.
What Are the Different Types of Coffee?
We’ll go over different coffee varieties first and then we’ll get into my favorite part — all of the different types of espresso drinks.
A Brief Introduction to the World of Coffee Beans
Coffee beans come from plants. This means that, similar to other fruits, the magical world of coffee beans is full of different types and species. However, many of these various species have some common features and similarities.
That drives most coffee beans experts to group them under some main types. The two main species that most of us consume are Arabica and Robusta.
Consequently, they’re the most produced coffee beans and account for the vast majority of the industry.
Arabica beans are among the highest quality beans in the world
On the other hand, Robusta beans are known to have a much stronger potency and more bitterness to their taste. That’s why people who love a strong coffee and espressos prefer them.
In fact, they usually have around double the amount of caffeine content present in the Arabica beans. There are two less common species of coffee beans. They’re called Liberica and Excelsa.
It’s very challenging to grow them in the US or other Western countries. They need a relatively warm climate and they’re available at cheap prices where they grow.
They’re primarily grown, treated and consumed in certain countries in Asia. The Excelsa beans are mostly used locally in the Philippines and they rarely export it to the United States. In fact, this might be one of the main reasons for their low popularity.
Liberica beans are also native to the Southeast Asia region. If you’re here for a more in-depth analysis of the coffee bean types, keep on reading.
What Is the Difference Between Varietals and Varieties?
You’re here because you’re interested to know more about coffee. This means that you’ve probably heard and got confused by the words varieties and varietals.
Before we head on to the most common types of coffee beans, we need to clear some confusion about these terms.
Let’s start with the more common term. A coffee’s variety is a classification word that defines sub-class within species of plants. These varieties can be original, which means they’re due to natural reasons and mutations.
They can also be a man-made genetic modification for economic purposes. For example, the hybrid beans between different or similar species.
As for a varietal, you use it to describe the different ways and brews coming from a single variety of a coffee bean.
I could write a full encyclopedia about the genetic variations within each coffee variety. However, up to this level of information, this is all you need to know to set foot in the world of coffee.
Now that you know their meanings, once you start applying these terms, you’ll be on your way to coffee mastery.
Types of Coffee Beans
In this section, we’ll dive deeper into some aspects of each type of coffee beans. Additionally, we’ll discuss a bit about their flavor and aroma profiles and when they’re best used.
Back to the question at hand – what are the different types of coffee?
Kicking off with one of the most popular types among coffee lovers and experts. Coffea Arabica is the first of all species to be cultivated. There are some claims that Arabica’s market share is estimated between 60 and 70% of the world production of coffee.
Many people refer to them as the mountain varieties because they’re grown in a higher altitude with steady rain and abundant shades. Their trees are usually 6-feet tall.
They’re known to be the most delicate and sensitive between coffee species. That’s why they fail to grow properly in an unsuitable environment. Moreover, they’re prone to many diseases. Most of them are fungal infections such as Hemileia vastatrix or coffee leaf rust.
As for the beans themselves. They vary according to the place where they’re grown. However, they tend to have brighter colors than other beans. Additionally, they have complex flavor and aroma profiles. They’re less bitter and more acidic than other types of coffee.
These qualities made Arabica beans highly popular among coffee fanatics and connoisseurs. The best way to get the most out of this type of coffee beans is by manual hot brewing.
This method allows you to enjoy the full spectrum of its non-bitter flavor. Consequently, most coffee experts think that adding creamers and cold brewing methods and covers the raw taste.
The second most popular type of coffee beans is Robusta. It comes from the plant Coffea Canephora. They’re relatively more sturdy beans with lower acidity and high bitterness than the Coffea Arabica.
Robusta beans originate from central and western regions in the sub-Saharan desert in Africa. They contain double the amount of caffeine and more antioxidants than Arabica’s beans.
In fact, Robusta gained most of its popularity for its high caffeine content rather than the taste and quality of its brews.
Despite growing perfectly in hotter climates with rain, Robusta beans are known for their resilience. They can grow in a broad range of altitudes and climates. Additionally, they’ve got a better resistance to diseases than other species.
All these reasons make them much easier to care for and produce a greater crop yield than other types. For these reasons, Robusta beans account for about the other 40% of the global coffee production market.
Regarding their flavor profile, they tend to get heavier and lower in acidity with higher quality beans. Robusta has a certain set of characteristics and bitter taste makes them a great choice with creamers and sugar.
It works great for cold brews and iced coffee. It’s also the bean of choice for those who want to charge up their caffeine levels to the max.
Liberica and Excelsa
To your surprise, Excelsa is just one of the subspecies of Liberica. Despite being technically the same, they’re different in taste and aroma.
The two types have different taste profiles that a lot of people still regard them as two different species.
As I mentioned earlier, the Philippines grow these beans almost exclusively. The Coffea Liberica beans reached worldwide popularity in the late 19th century. At that time, coffee rust was a serious issue and wiped out about 80% of the world’s Arabica reserve.
The Philippines then started mass production of the Liberica beans to supply the world’s demand for coffee beans.
This all came to an early crash when the Philippines declared its independence in 1898. The business between them and the US stopped. This lag period was enough for the Arabica to re-establish itself and remained the world-leading coffee bean once again.
The Liberica bean is known for its distinct flavor profile. It has a nutty, smoky, and woody taste with a hint of dark chocolate flavor. As for its aroma, many link it to a fruity aroma of ripe berries and spice.
Earlier in history, the Excelsa bean was considered an independent type of coffee bean. In 2006, the bean got re-classified as a variety of Liberica. Since then, Excelsa beans are considered the “Dewevrei” variety of the Coffea Liberica.
The Excelsa variety grows on tall trees, which can extend up to 30 feet. This makes the beans easier to find and collect. Logically, they have a similar bean shape to the Liberica. They’re known for the unique, complex, and tart flavor.
It has a blend of dark and light roast aromas, which makes them a perfect addition to enhance the flavor and thickness of coffee.
What Are the Different Types Of Coffee Drinks
With words like espresso, latte, and cappuccino, coffee drinks are on their way to build their own language!
Here’s a brief description of some of the most famous types of coffee drinks so wave your confusion goodbye the next time you’re in a cafe.
Espresso (Short Black)
Espresso is the core foundation of all of the espresso-based drinks. However, espressos aren’t for everyone. If you find a good brew, you may become one of those who enjoy the short black espresso.
The main idea of making espressos is by brewing it with water vapor through ground up and packed coffee beans. The high pressure of the vapor is where the word espresso came from.
They’re also known as long black. You can prepare an americano just by adding some water to your shot of espresso. The word ‘long’ came from making the coffee last longer by adding water.
A doppio is when you get two espresso shots in a single cup. In fact, doppio means ‘double’ in Italian. That’s why they’re also called double espresso.
A latte is an espresso-based drink, in which you pour steamed milk and add foam to the coffee. The steamed milk gives a sweet taste to the latte compared to plain espresso.
To make a latte, you need one shot of espresso ready in your cup. You then add steamed milk and top it with a small layer of micro-foam. You can use a cup or a tumbler glass for your latte.
A cappuccino has a lot in common with a latte. The main difference between a cappuccino and a latte is that you add double or triple the amount of foam on your coffee. Additionally, you may also choose to add some chocolate or cinnamon on top for extra flavor.
You extract one shot of espresso into a cup, then you add steamed milk and top it with about 3 cm of microfoam. You should let it rest for 30 seconds before adding optional chocolate or cinnamon sprinkles on top of your coffee. Tumbler glass is ideal for a cappuccino.
Macchiato is similar to espresso but with larger amounts of foam and steamed milk. The idea of macchiato is to make three different-colored layers in your cup.
A long macchiato is when you use two shots of espresso instead of one. Apart from that, everything stays the same. To mix the milk and espresso together, gently turn the cup clockwise after pouring a few times.
A ristretto is when you extract the espresso with the same amount of ground coffee and half the amount of water. That’s why ristretto is a dark and concentrated form of espressos. You can also get a ristretto by ending the extracting of espresso before it lightens up.
Affogato isn’t really a coffee drink. It’s when you pour a shot of espresso over a desert, which is usually ice cream.
What do you get when you make a cappuccino without foam or any chocolate sprinkles? A flat white coffee drink. Flat whites are more popular in Australia than in Western countries and America.
Piccolo means small in Italian, so this drink means “baby latte”. It’s when you make a cafe latte out of the potent ristretto shot. This gives you the powerful kick of ristretto but with a mellowed-down taste thanks to the foam and steamed milk.
Mocha is a gentle mix between a hot chocolate. It’s one of the favorite coffee beverages for the new generations. You can make them hot or cold, and they’re usually sweet.
To make a mocha coffee. Extract one shot of espresso in a cup, add 1 or 1.5 spoon of powdered chocolate to the espresso shot and mix it thoroughly. You then pour steamed milk and a large layer of micro-foam. The final step is to add either chocolate sprinkles or dust chocolate powder on top.
What are the Different Types of Coffee? Final Thoughts
There you have it. A complete guide with everything you need to know about the types of coffee beans and beverages.
Rising the ranks of coffee expertise takes lots of time and practice. However, if you take this guide as a starting point, you can be a coffee expert in a short time. We hope we have answered your questions 🙂
Photo by erickgonzalez50