I think sometimes it can be challenging for people to understand the difference between the differernt types of coffee that are available to buy. Truth be told, there are only two types of bean: arabica and robusta.
What makes the difference, indeed what makes each brand’s flavour stand out, is where the coffee beans come from as well as how they’ve been blended, roasted and ground.
Arabica is without doubt the superior of the two coffee beans. It only grows at high altitudes in tropical regions and that makes it more difficult to grow than robusta. Rather like wine, each plantation produces a bean with a very distinct flavour. Illy only uses 100% arabica beans. However, many other brands blend arabica beans with robusta to create their own unique aroma.
Robusta can grow at lower altitudes, which makes beans more plentiful and less expensive. Robusta also has a higher caffeine content and has a more bitter brew.
Roasting is the process of caramelising the sugars and carbohydrates that give coffee beans their distinct aroma. Raw beans, which are green in colour, are roasted to three standards: light, medium and dark.
The finer the grind, the longer it takes for the water to pass through the ground coffee beans when they are brewed, leading to a richer, smoother taste.
No single type of coffee bean can produce an espresso perfect in every respect: harmonic taste, rich aroma and full body. A good quality Italian espresso consists of a blend of at least 7-13 types of coffee.
Now that you know a little more about coffee, why not ask your barista about what’s in your own favourite cup?