The World of Specialty Coffee

The World of Specialty Coffee

Know Your Coffee and the Variety of Flavors

Know Your Coffee and the Variety of Flavors

Coffee is one of life’s simple pleasures, enjoyed around the world. Grabbing a cup ‘on-the-go’ or sharing good times with friends, this aromatic beverage renews energy and begins the day in style. Without a doubt, coffee lures us with its fragrance and taste, unquestionably one of the most popular drinks in the world today. Let’s explore this fascination with coffee culture and how it became a global phenomenon.

An Introduction to the World of Coffee

Two types of coffee beans are widely accepted as the choice for coffee connoisseurs – Arabica and Robusta. The harvesting and processing of these beans brings out the variation in flavor, leaving us with a tough choice between the two. To help us, lets look at the significant differences between the two bean varieties, helping you to make an informed choice when deciding on your favorite style.

1. Arabica Coffee

Arabica coffee is believed to be the first species of coffee to be cultivated, originating in the highlands of Ethiopia. It's usually grown at elevations of around 800-1,000 meters above sea level. The bean has a long, elliptical shape and grows best in tropical equatorial climates in the continents of South America and Africa. Now popular in Thailand, it is mostly grown in the northern provinces.

Known for its smooth, slightly sweet flavor, Arabica contains less than 2% caffeine. It can be blended with other ingredients for even more taste variations meaning Arabica is one the world’s best-loved coffee beans.

2. Robusta Coffee

Coming in a close second in popularity, Robusta coffee grows in hotter, more humid climates than Arabica beans, and at lower elevations in river or coastal regions.

For coffee lovers, Robusta contains 2.5% more caffeine than other types creating a bitter, stronger taste. It's often used in instant coffee and espresso blends. So, when it comes to making coffee at home, choose Robusta to bring out the best in your espresso.

Comparing Arabica and Robusta Coffee

Get to know the essential differences between Arabica and Robusta beans. We compare the nature of these two types to help you decide on your favorite cup.

1. Characteristics

Arabica: long, elliptical shape with a characteristic ‘S’-shaped groove down the middle.

Robusta: shorter with a more rounded shape with a straight-lined groove down the middle.

2. Plantations

Arabica: grown at elevations of around 800-1,000 meters above sea level. Grown in Thailand’s northern provinces.

Robusta: grown at lower elevations of between 500-600 meters above sea level. Grown in the southern part of Thailand.

3. Caffeine content

Arabica: less than 2%, a smooth taste, not too bitter and easy to drink.

Robusta: higher than 2% with a bitter, stronger taste.

4. Aroma and flavor

Arabica: smooth, slightly sweet flavor. A hint of a sour taste is caused by the acidity adding to the enjoyment of your coffee.

Robusta: a more bitter, stronger taste with grainy or rubbery overtones. This is the choice for black coffee lovers.

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Which Level of Roasting Suits You?

1. Dark Roasted Level

Suitable for those who like their coffee strong, the roasted flavor overrides the original taste giving a rich, bitter and slightly sweet flavor without a sour taste (due to acidity).

Dark roasted coffee beans have a darker, shinier color due to a longer roasting time allowing oils to affect the appearance of the outer layer. The original fruity and floral flavors are eliminated during this process leaving a slightly bitter but richer taste, a popular choice in Thailand.

To ensure maximum flavor and a full-bodied taste, blending dark-roasted bean coffee with milk, syrup, condensed milk or a non-dairy creamer is another traditional Thai favorite.

2. Medium Roasted Level

Medium roast is one of the most preferred roasts in the world. The flavor is balanced, well rounded and bittersweet with a hint of acidity. This level of roast is a consistent favorite for a variety of styles, giving a mellow taste with an irresistible aroma.

Medium roast beans are medium brown in color and brings out a full range of flavors such as citrus, fruit, berry with a pleasing acidity. A nutty, chocolaty taste adds to the rich flavor when making espresso or espresso with milk coffee.

3. Light Roasted Level

Lightly roasted coffee preserves the original, characteristic flavors of a particular coffee bean: flavor, acidity, and aroma. With a toasty, grain-like taste, it is typically used for hot coffee styles such as espresso or americano. For those who like a straight and traditionally earthy style of coffee without any extra dressing up, we recommend this lighter, roasted coffee for you.

These coffees typically have a taste noted for their crisp acidity, a mellow body and bright flavors, more than any other style of roast. Recommended for those new to espresso coffee.

What is Specialty Coffee?

To become a coffee expert, know the meaning of ‘Specialty Coffee’ – this term refers to a guide to the surprising variation in coffee formulas. ‘Specialty Coffee’ is a process of coffee selection, roasting, brewing and verifying by experts.

A ‘Cupper’ or ‘Q-Grader’ ensures that the coffee flavors meet qualitative standards when graded 80 points or above by a licensed Q Grader (CQI).

However, creating a specialty coffee is not easy. An understanding of the ingredients and brewing operations is necessary. To this end, Baristas understand the origin of the coffee bean and how it's flavor profiles will be revealed in the brewing process to create a high quality cup of coffee for all coffee lovers.

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Know the Difference in Coffee Beans from Around the World.

Coffee lovers relish the differing tastes of coffee beans from plantations around the world. Let’s look at the characteristics of well-known coffee beans from three countries, renowned for growing the best coffee there is.

1. Ethiopian Coffee

Ethiopian coffee has a fruity, floral and acidity taste. The country is renowned as the origin of the world’s favorite beverage.

Ethiopians are proud of their original, homegrown Arabica coffee bean, cultivated to become the most popular variety of coffee bean in the world. The influence of Arabica spread to other continents such as South America, now a major grower of coffee. Today, the Arabica flavor is the inspiration behind Starbucks Nescafe Dolce Gusto Veranda Blend Americano, a coffee capsule that gives us the Starbucks signature Americano, with a scent of cocoa and roasted nuts for a soft, mellow flavor that helps relaxation and a feeling of well-being.

2. Brazilian Coffee

Brazil is the world’s top grower and exporter of coffee beans. More than 80% of their coffee production is Arabica. With a medium to heavy taste, not too acidic with nutty, chocolaty overtones, this flavor identifies as the premium Latin-American beverage.

3. Columbian Coffee

Columbia is another prolific Arabica coffee-producing country, ranking second in production to Brazil. Columbian Arabica coffee is not too acidic, has a fruity, floral scent, a character unique to this region. It is easy to drink with numerous variations in taste. Enjoying every sip is the promise of Columbian coffee.

Inspired by this unique flavor, the renowned coffee retailer ‘Starbucks’, created the Starbucks Nescafe Dolce Gusto Columbia Espresso made with 100% Columbian Arabica coffee. Take home your own Columbian-style coffee and indulge in the flavor of this sensuous specialty coffee.

Coffee, with centuries of heritage and cultural integration, offers fulfillment through harvesting techniques that have now created a variety of rich and exotic flavors for coffee lovers from around the world to savor.

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KEYWORDS: specialty coffee, coffee, coffee flavors, coffee grounds, robusta coffee
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