There are many advantages to brewing your own coffee. First of all, you’ll save a lot of money at the end of each month, especially if you have a tendency to purchase several cups a day. Secondly, you’ll have more control when it comes to honing in on a desired flavour.
While commercial chains and cafés alike come up with new brews every day, they may not quite satisfy a demanding palate. By brewing your own coffee and experimenting with things like brewing temperature, brew ration, grind consistency and extraction time, you may be able to discover a nuanced flavour that hits your sweet spot.
If you’re on the hunt for a particular flavour, you need to consider what coffee beans can help achieve it. In this article, we’re going to look at some of the most popular types of coffee beans around. We’ll be focusing on their characteristics and the flavour you can extract from each of them:
If you’ve been brewing coffee for some time, then you’re probably familiar with this bean variety. It’s the most common type of coffee bean and more than half the number of coffee cups produced worldwide have been made with it.
The Arabica tree requires plenty of shade and a decent amount of rainfall to grow. They’re known to thrive in higher altitude areas and typically don’t require much work to maintain. Because these trees usually grow no more than six feet in height, they’re quite easy to prune and harvest.
Arabica trees are quite fastidious when it comes to environmental conditions. If they’re not given the right conditions to grow, they will fail to thrive and easily succumb to disease. That’s why it’s usually a bad idea to grow Arabic trees close together because if one tree is infected, this can quickly spread to the rest.
What Flavours Can You Extract From Arabica Beans?
When served hot, all its flavours remain intact. You’ll enjoy just the right amount of acidity and detect fruity undertones. The overall flavour is quite mild and a bit sweet.
The reason Liberica isn’t as well-known as Arabica is that it’s hard to come by these days. Back in the 1890s, Liberica temporarily dethroned Arabica as the most popular variety of coffee bean, owing to a disease that almost wiped out the population of the latter. However, all of this changed when Arabica once again became the preferred choice years later, causing the number of Liberica tree plantations to dwindle.
Liberica beans are easily distinguishable from other varieties on this list because of their unique, asymmetrical shape. People who drink coffee made with these beans say it has a strong, earthy taste. Like Arabica, this bean also gives out distinct fruity undertones, accompanied with a slightly charred taste.
The Robusta coffee bean comes in second in terms of popularity. However, that’s where its similarities with Arabica end. For one thing, Robusta trees are hardly sensitive to environmental conditions and are extremely resistant to the diseases that Arabica falls prey to. They thrive in both low and high altitudes but do require a warmer climate to grow optimally. The key to this incredible level of disease-resistance lies in their very high caffeine content. In fact, they carry around twice the quantity of caffeine as Arabica!
Provided that this variety has been grown in the right climate, coffee extracted from this bean should give you a full-bodied flavour that is less acidic, ‘smoother’ in texture and has chocolaty undertones. While it’s fine to use Robusta beans to brew plain black coffee, many coffee aficionados argue that it’s best when mixed with milk, cream and sugar. This is because the original flavour is not affected by these additives.
So if you’re a big fan of cream and sugar, then consider brewing your coffee with Robusta.
If you’re not picking up these flavours, then it might be that you have a sub-par batch of beans on your hands that haven’t been grown in the right conditions.
Excelsa is probably the only coffee bean on this list that closely resembles Liberica. In fact, the two types have been classified as the same species. You might have trouble believing this though because the two are quite different when it comes to taste. Excelsa flavour is a combination of contrasting tones. It gives off fruity and sweeter flavours while at the same time, there are hints of dark notes as well. This makes for an interesting cup of coffee every time.
If you’re brewing your own coffee, then it might pay to have some knowledge of the coffee beans you’re purchasing. For one, you’ll know what kind of flavours you can expect with each. Moreover, by knowing the requirements for growing these coffee beans, you’ll be able to tell whether you’re buying a high-quality product.