Five things to know about your favourite coffee

Five things to know about your favourite coffee

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?



  1. Hi Licia

    I love what you are doing with this blog and your shop. I am planning to open a fine foods store & deli soon and am debating the merits of a branded coffee (Illy being the favourite) and trying to match the quality by buying from multiple suppliers. Any thoughts to further promote the Illy option? Any advice on the machine as well?



  2. Thanks Geoff for the kind words.

    We use a Faema Due machine which is perfect for our needs and has been very reliable. However, we keep it (and everything else in our shop) spotlessly clean which is important not only to produce the best quality coffee but also to keep the machine in top condition.

    We’re very happy with Illy as the quality of their coffee and, importantly, their support service is very good. They even provide us with free Illy-branded reward cards (10 coffees = 1 free) which are extremely popular with our customers.

    Good luck in your venture!

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