The vast majority of coffee that is drunk worldwide is produced from one of two types of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta beans.
Arabica beans are known for being the more aromatic and flavourful of the two, and are used for gourmet, speciality coffees. The Arabica plant accounts for around 75% of coffee production worldwide.
Despite lacking some of the flavour of Arabica and often containing a bitter taste, Robusta beans can at least boast twice the levels of caffeine. Robusta beans are therefore used in most forms of instant and freeze dried coffees.
Whilst there are other species of coffee plant, they are extremely rare and are virtually non-existent in the global export market. However, depending upon the region in which these two different types of bean are grown, there is considerable variety to be found in Arabica and Robusta blends. The following highlights three commendable examples.
Brazil Santos Bourbon comes from the hills of Sào Paulo state in the south-central portion of the country. Brazil Santos Bourbon is a light bodied coffee, with low acidity, a pleasing aroma and a mild, smooth flavour.
Ethiopian Harrar coffee is perhaps the best of a variety of blends that come out of the country. It is best known for its medium body, earthy flavour, virtual absence of acidity and a smooth taste that some liken to that of red wine.
Costa Rican Tarrazu is a prized Arabica coffee. The bean has a balanced, clean, citrus or berry-like flavour, and a hint of chocolate and spice in the finish.