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understanding coffee

Understanding Coffee

Where does coffee come from? And why do different coffees taste different?

Read our expert guide to where coffee is grown, the types of bean and the all-important roasting process.

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Where does coffee come from?

Coffee is grown in more than 50 countries around "the coffee belt", in areas that have the right combination of altitude, soil and weather.

    • Africa

      Coffee is grown in more than 50 countries around "the coffee belt", in areas that have the right combination of altitude, soil and weather.

       

      African coffee is:

      • Syrupy
      • Medium acidity
      • Medium to dark roast
    • Latin America

      Coffee is grown in more than 50 countries around "the coffee belt", in areas that have the right combination of altitude, soil and weather.

       

      Latin American coffee is:

      • Nutty
      • Low acidity
      • Light or medium roast
    • Asia

      Coffee is grown in more than 50 countries around "the coffee belt", in areas that have the right combination of altitude, soil and weather.

       

      Asian coffee is:

      • Earthy
      • Gentle acidity
      • Dark roast
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    Get to know your coffee beans

    Coffee beans come from the fruit (called "cherries") of the coffee plant. The cherries are not good to eat, but the beans inside the cherries are full of flavor.

    Each variety of coffee plant has a different and distinct flavor. There are more than 120 varieties, but most of the coffee we drink comes from either Arabica and Robusta, or a blend of the two.  

    Arabica
    Arabica

    Arabica coffee beans is one of the most popular types and it’s believed to be one of the first coffee species ever grown with roots dating back to 1,000BC. Known for their vibrant and complex flavours, these beans are loved by coffee connoisseurs because of their smooth and less acidic taste. 

    There are two types of Arabica coffee bean, Typica and Bourbon. Typica is also sometimes known as Sumatra and Arabigo and it is this type which is thought to be the first bean ever discovered. Bourbon on the other hand is considered to be a natural mutation of Typica and offers a more balanced and slightly sweeter favour, making it a popular choice amongst coffee lovers. 

    Robusta
    Robusta

    Commonly grown in Africa and Indonesia, Robusta coffee beans have a higher caffeine content and as such, offer a much deeper and stronger taste than the Arabica variety. It’s a popular choice for espressos due to the rich flavour and layer of crema it gives and is also widely used in instant coffee

    As important as the coffee plants

    Why is coffee roasted?

      • Light Roasts

        Mild and toasted-grain taste, with a light body and plenty of acidity.

      • Medium Roasts

        More body, less acidity  and can be the most fruity and sweet.

      • Dark Roasts

        The most intense and bitter, can have a smoky or chocolatey sweet taste.

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      The final magic is in the brew

      Once the beans have been grown, picked and roasted. What happens next is just as important if you want to find your perfect cup.

      Find out more