Sunday, 22 August 2010

Varietes of Coffee : Arabica and Robusta

The first, and most traditional, is Arabica, which is considered to be far superior in flavor – the champagne of coffee, if you will. The other variety, Robusta, is higher in caffeine and tastes far bitterer and more acidic, which makes it less than preferable for most domestic use, but on the upside it can be cultivated in areas where Arabica won’t grow. This makes it a cheap substitute for Arabica, which sees several coffee companies add small amounts of Robusta to their product lines as ‘filler’. Finest quality Robusta beans are sometimes used as ingredients in certain espresso blends, but these are somewhat of an acquired taste.

Of course, both Robusta and Arabica have sub-varieties, much the same way as wineries have different blends of wine. Traditional Arabica coffees can be Mocha or Java varieties while, on the more exotic side, there’s a very expensive gourmet variety of Robusta called the Indonesian Kopi Luwak.

What makes this bean so unique is that the beans are gathered from the droppings of the Common Palm Civet, an animal whose digestive processes give the bean a very distinctive flavor.

Most varieties aren’t anywhere near as bizarre as that. In fact, most varieties or Types of coffee plant are categorized on where they were grown, rather than any scientific basis. Just as with wineries, a different geographic location can greatly affect how the plant grows( see Coffees of the world), and how its bean tastes, as can the nutrients that feed into that particular area’s groundwater system and soil.


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