Coffee, a simple to prepare drink that is enjoyed all over the world – but you may not have realised that this delicious pick me up beverage is remarkably delicate, both as a plant and a drink.
Coffee grown on the same farm can taste dramatically different year after year. Changes in conditions during growing, harvesting, processing and shipping can affect the various qualities of coffee and this should be appreciated when you find your perfect cup.
The three main species of coffee grown for the purpose of making our favorite drink, are Arabica, Robusta and Liberica, but Arabica makes up for nearly all of the specialty coffees available from specialty coffee roasters. Dozens of cultivated varieties exist within the Arabica species alone, and soil, climate and other factors influence the qualities and characteristics of each.
Minerals and nutrients in the soil are absorbed by the coffee plant and in turn affect the flavour, body and acidity. Coffee grown in volcanic soils will taste very different from coffee grown in clay-rich and limestone soils. Coffee also requires a perfect balance of sunlight, rain and temperature to produce high quality beans, however shade-grown coffee is growing ever popular. Coffee grown in the shade of a forest canopy or high mountainside protects the coffee from the harsh heat of the sun and the cooler temperature allows the coffee cherries to ripen more slowly, therefore developing a fuller flavour.
Coffee is the 2nd largest trade commodity after oil.
Over 2 BILLION cups of coffee are consumed worldwide every day!
Roasting the raw green beans changes the flavour dramatically. The same coffee beans will taste very different at a lighter roast than a medium or darker roasting level and it is down to the experience and expertise of the roasters to make note of each coffees perfect roasting profile. For some roasters, this is a very closely guarded secret!
The tasting notes of coffee are just as sophisticated as that of fine wines! How the coffee was processed will contribute to the unique characteristics and qualities of the finished coffee.
Bitter, acidic, floral, fruity, nuts, chocolate, citrus or sweet are just some of the many characteristics that a coffees unique tasting notes can include.
(See image to the left!)