How Well Do You Know Your Coffee?

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Coffee, being one of the most popular beverages today, is a beverage prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, served hot or with ice, with or without cream and sugar. These seeds of the coffee plant are called coffee bean.

Coffee bean from two different places usually have distinctive characteristics which are dependent on the local environment where the coffee plants are grown, their method of process, and the genetic subspecies or varietal. These characteristics include flavor (flavor criteria includes terms such as “citrus-like” or “earthy”), caffeine content, body or mouthfeel, and acidity.

Some well-known arabica coffee beans include:

Java from the island of Java, in Indonesia. This coffee was once so widely traded that “java” became a slang term for coffee

Colombian – Coffee was first introduced to the country of Colombia in the early 1800’s. Today Maragogype, Caturra, Typica and Bourbon cultivars are grown. When Colombian coffee is freshly roasted it has a bright acidity, is heavy in body and is intensely aromatic. Colombia produces about 12% of the coffee in the world, second only to Brazil.

Colombian Milds – Includes coffees from Colombia, Kenya, and Tanzania, all of which are washed arabicas.

Ethiopian Harrar from the region of Harar, Ethiopia

Ethiopian Yirgacheffe from the area of the town of Yirga Cheffe in the Sidamo (now Oromia) region of Ethiopia
Costa Rican Tarrazu – from the Tarrazu Valley in the highlands outside of San Jos, archetypal estate coffee is La Minita.

Guatemala Huehuetenango – Grown at over 5000 feet in the northern region, one of the most remote growing regions in Guatemala

Jamaican Blue Mountain From the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica. Due to its popularity, it fetches a high price in the market.

Hawaiian Kona grown on the slopes of Hualalai in the Kona District on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Some varieties of coffee bean are more well-known and in-demand than others so they are far more expensive. These coffee beans are often blended with other less expensive coffee beans and the suffix “blend” added to the labelling, such as “Blue Mountain blend” or “Kona blend” even though they only contain a small amount of the mentioned coffee bean.

One unusual and very expensive variety of robusta is the Indonesian Kopi Luwak and the Philippine Kape Alamid. The coffee bean is collected from the droppings of the Common Palm Civet, whose digestive processes give it a distinctive flavor.

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