Two Types of Coffee Beans

By Ten Leu Jaw

Today coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world. As a stimulant drink, coffee is prepared from roasted beans. Coffee beans also have become one of the top agricultural exports for many countries.

From flower to cherry, the colour of the bean is first green and turns red when it is ripe. The fruit is sweet in taste and after biting off the fresh; each little red cherry contains two seeds. After being picked, the cherries are then processed and dried. The seeds are then roasted to different degrees depending on the flavour and there come our brown coffee beans. Generally there are two common types of bean: Arabica and Robusta.

Coffea arabica accounts for more than 70% of the world's coffee trade. Originated from Ethiopia and Yemen, it is known as 'mountain coffee' or 'coffee shrub of Arabia'. Arabica beans are more delicate and planted at higher and cooler ground; making them more costly. They grow at about 1000 to 2000 m above sea level; generally, the higher the altitudes, the harder the beans and the better the quality. So they are also called hard bean coffee. Arabica has a wider taste range and the roasted bean is more fruity in smell.

Coffea canephora or Robusta coffee has its origins in Africa, and also Brazil which is now surpassed by Vietnam as the largest exporting country. The plant grows at lower altitudes near sea level and requires little rainfall. Robusta plant is hardier and less susceptible to pest. So it could yield more fruit and the production cost is less. The beans are smaller and yellowish in colour. The taste of Robusta is more neutral and the roasted bean has a more burnt smell compared to Arabica.

Which types of bean you like is subjective. Although Arabica bean is pricier, there are different grades of bean. A high quality Robusta will taste much better than a low quality Arabica. It is best that you do some homework before buying coffee bean. It is also worth noting that Robusta contains higher caffeine compared to Arabica.

Ten, writer for brew1819, a cafe situated at one corner of 8 Shenton Way, Singapore.

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