Coffee is the most popular drink around the world. It is estimated that more than 400 billion cups of coffee are drunk each year. In Australia, the love for coffee is strong, with one in four Australians indicating that they cannot start their days without it. Whether you go to your favourite café or brew from coffee beans online purchases, the fact remains—coffee is one beverage that people cannot live without.
While most people are coffee drinkers, not all are aware of the type of coffee they drink. Coffee drinkers need to be educated about the type of coffee they drink. They may have been drinking only one type of coffee without realising that they would rather want the other types had they tasted them.
Where Does Coffee Come From?
The coffee plant is an evergreen shrub that belongs to the Rubiaceae family and composed of more than one hundred species of the genus Coffea. It produces coffee “berries,” which are picked and processed to create a brewed beverage known as coffee. The two most exploited and commercially used species of coffee plants are the Coffea Arabica and the Coffea canephora.
Common Coffee Species Used as Beverages
Although there are 100+ coffee species, only some species are used for beverages. The majority are wild species, which are not easily mass-produced in plantations and are at risk of extinction due to climate change. Nevertheless, the most common coffee species available for human consumption on a massive scale are:
Coffea Arabica, more popularly known as Arabica, is said to have originated in the highlands of Ethiopia and comprises two-thirds of the world’s coffee production. Arabica is a delicate tree with heights ranging from 5 to 6 metres. Arabica is mostly grown in temperate climates and requires considerable care during its growth stage. Coffee made from Arabica beans is popular because of its intense aroma, superior quality, and taste. The caffeine content of coffee from Arabica beans are never over 1.5 per cent by weight. In general, Arabica is more popular than the Coffea canephora.
Coffea canephora, also known as Robusta, on the other hand, is a more disease-resistant plant than its Arabica cousin. Robusta is a high-yielding coffee plant variety that is grown in warm and humid climates. The coffee brewed from Robusta offers a harsh and earthy aroma and higher caffeine content (caffeine levels range from 2.4 to 2.8 per cent by weight). Robusta coffee only accounts for a third of global coffee production.
Although Robusta does not produce high-quality coffee, they are easier to produce because of its disease-resistance. Meanwhile, Arabica produces superb tasting coffee, but it is harder to grow. Since Robusta and Arabica plants do not have the same chromosomal numbers, they cannot be cross-bred to produce a hybrid coffee plant. Coffee makers often mix the beans of different coffee plant varieties to achieve the taste of coffee they desire.
Which Coffee to Buy?
People drink coffee for different reasons. Most coffee beans online sellers sell pure Arabica and Robusta varieties. They also sell blended coffee with different proportions of both varieties. If you are fond of drinking your coffee cold or in frappe form, coffee blends with a higher concentration of Arabica will be ideal. If you drink coffee to perk you up, then coffee with more Robusta bean concentrations will be right. However, if you are a coffee purist and like to mix your blend, you can purchase both pure Arabica and Robusta coffee beans and blend them to your liking.