A Beginner’s Guide to Beans
To the non-connoisseur, coffee is just coffee. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find that the variety of tastes and aromas from different types of coffee bean are as broad as the bouquets often attributed to wine.
Everything from colour, size, taste and more can differ tremendously depending on the type of bean you have at hand, making the brewing and, most importantly, the drinking experience an adventure.
But it’s important to know how these different beans play on the palate so that you can find the perfect fit for your tastes. And, with that in mind, let’s explore the different coffee bean types out there.
Even the most coffee-averse person has probably heard of Arabica, and it’s for good reason that the variety has achieved a preeminent position when it comes to coffee beans.
Arabica carries a soft, gentle flavour, but that doesn’t mean it lacks taste – quite the opposite. Arabica beans have a low acidity, which means the coffee made from its beans is smooth and enjoyable.
Grown at high altitudes, Arabica originates from the Ethiopian highlands but today cultivators grow the bean in countries as diverse as Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia and Colombia. Arabica isn’t easy to grow, and the labour involved in growing, cultivating and harvesting the bean – in conjunction with demand – means that Arabica sells for a high price. But, regarding flavour and luxurious taste, this really is a small price to pay.
As you might guess from the name, Robusta has a much stronger, acidic taste than Arabica and it also carries increased levels of caffeine.
Robusta isn’t to everyone’s taste, as many people find it too harsh on their palate and lacking in subtlety. But Robusta is still grown in large quantities around the world, and one of the main reasons for this is because it is the bean of choice for large-batch, commercial producers of beans and coffees.
In terms of cultivation, Robusta is much easier to grow than Arabica, and the bean thrives at low altitudes and can survive harsh climates featuring high temperatures and low rainfall. This makes it attractive to big coffee companies seeking a high-yield, low-cost bean, but Robusta can’t compete with it cousin Arabica when it comes to flavour and prolonged enjoyment.
Ultimately, Arabica is more expensive and harder to grow, but it also provides a deep, flavourful taste and rich undertones. Robusta might be cheaper and quicker to produce, but it doesn’t deliver the superior coffee you can expect with Arabica.
If you want to taste the finest Arabica beans, take a look at our Nigheddu blend. Smooth, rich and flavourful, it’s a superior coffee for a distinguished palate.