The much-loved humble cup of coffee is made from the seeds of a shrub or small tree referred to as coffea and is one of the most valuable global trading crops for The Caribbean, Central and Southern America and Africa. When you go into a coffee shop, the choice of beans, blends and roasts can be overwhelming. But what are the different types of coffee beans, do they really taste much different and do they something more for your body than just tastes good?

Arabica

This is the most widely produced type of coffee accounting for over half the coffee produced in the world. First documented in the Yemen during the 12th century, the arabica bean spread through Eqypt, Turkey and later throughout the world.

Robusta

This is the second most widely produced coffee and originates from western sub-Saharan Africa. Although Arabica is produced more, robusta plants enjoy greater crop yield, almost double the caffeine of the arabica bean and is less susceptible to pests and disease.

LIberica

Named after the one of the regions in west Africa where this variation grows, it is also naturalized in the Philippines and Malaysia.

Excelsa

Even though this is now classified as part of the Liberica family, Excelsa has a mystery and taste all its own that’s both tart and fruity making it popular among coffee enthusiasts.

What does roast mean?

The way that the individual beans are roasted has an impact on the tastes. There are 3 different types of roasts:

  • Light

In the past there were issues with quality but now with processes perfected, light roasts produce a light brown coloured drink. These coffees tend to be pale and mellow with a crisp acidity, a mellow body, and bright flavours. Light roasts in order to preserve the unique characteristics of the bean.

  • Medium

Medium roast coffee is brown in colour and rarely has an oily surface. Beans roasted to this level have medium acidity and preserve many of the unique flavours of the coffee’s origin, but it also begins to tap into the deep sweetness of a full roast.

  • Dark or Full roast

With an oily surface, dark roast is very effective in reducing body weight and restoring red blood cell vitamin E and glutathione concentrations. It’s deep flavour revealed through the roasting process makes this an extremely popular choice.

Ground or whole bean

The real connoisseurs of coffee will say you simply must grind your own beans to be sure the coffee is the freshest and most flavorsome it can be. For most of us however we don’t have a bean to cup system and enjoy freshly ground coffee or pods.

Health benefits

Coffee itself is extremely low in calories, they only begin to stack up once you add milk, cream, sugar or any flavourings to the coffee. It is packed full of antioxidants and in the Western diet studies have shown people get more of these from coffee than from vegetable or fruit. Most definitely not just a drink.