How to...

Choose The Best Coffee For You

Understanding the coffee you're drinking is the key to making every cup you make, a real humdinger.

How to...

Choose The Best Coffee For You

Learn to love the coffee you drink. By understanding what coffee you're drinking, where it comes from and how that can effect it's characteristics, you can start to understand what it is from coffee that you truly enjoy. Is it the spice and aroma of African coffee? Is it the flavours of the dark roasting process? Work this out and you'll be onto a winner, every time.

The Four Coffee Bean Types

Let's look at the beans themselves...

Arabica

It is believed the Arabica coffee bean was the first ever to be cultivated (12th Century, Yemen).

Today it is responsible for roughly 60% of global coffee bean trade.

Arabica beans are favoured for their sweet, soft taste, delivering sugary, berry-fruit tones.

Robusta

The Robusta coffee bean, originating from Ethiopia, was first recognised in the 19th Century.

Robusta makes up the majority of the remaining global trade (~40%).

Typically brews a strong, full-bodied coffee with distinctive earthy undertones.

Liberica

The Laberica coffee bean is native to Western & Central Africa. Also discovered in the 19th Century.

Less common, accounting for roughly 2% of global coffee trade.

Known for it's unique flavour characteristics; floral, fruity and often described as "smoky".

Excelsa

The Excelsa coffee bean was re-classified in 2006 as a member of the Liberica coffee family.

The Excelsa coffee bean holds around 7% of the world's coffee distribution.

Often added to mixed blends for their unusual complexity. Fruity, tart-like flavours with a light aroma.

Arabica Beans

It is believed the Arabica coffee bean was the first ever to be cultivated (12th Century, Yemen).

Today it is responsible for roughly 60% of global coffee bean trade.

Arabica beans are favoured for their sweet, soft taste, delivering sugary, berry-fruit tones.

Robusta Beans

The Robusta coffee bean, originating from Ethiopia, was first recognised in the 19th Century.

Robusta makes up the majority of the remaining global trade (~40%).

Typically brews a strong, full-bodied coffee with distinctive earthy undertones.

Liberica Beans

The Liberica coffee bean is native to Western & Central Africa. Also discovered in the 19th Century.

Less common, accounting for roughly 2% of global coffee trade.

Known for it's unique flavour characteristics; floral, fruity and often described as "smoky".

Excelsa Beans

The Excelsa coffee bean was re-classified in 2006 as a member of the Liberica coffee family.

The Excelsa coffee bean holds around 7% of the world's coffee distribution.

Often added to mixed blends for their unusual complexity. Fruity, tart-like flavours with a light aroma.

Where coffee comes from and why it matters...

Where the beans in your cup of coffee are sourced from will directly influence its' characteristics, including both flavour and appearance. Our planet is cultivated with a plethora of rich, historical coffee growing regions where the coffee plant is allowed to thrive. Each of these regions deliver their own distinct nuances and complexities within the coffee they produce, derived from a combination of growing conditions, techniques and traditions mastered over centuries.

Along with farming techniques, much of what produces the best coffee bean comes down to geography. In general the coffee plant prefers a tropical climate with a steady temperature around 20 degrees C, a moderate amount of sunshine and access to plenty of water.

But it doesn't end there. Everything from the soil quality, the altitude of the field, to the length of exposure of the day's the sun will influence the flavour profile (including its' strength) of a coffee bean. It is these nuances and intricate differences which prompt many people to adopt a preferred coffee growing region and flavour profile over time.

Exploring Great Coffee from Around the World

Coffees of South America

South America

South America is the largest coffee producing region in the world, producing over 60% of global coffee in 2019.

The coffee jewel in South America's crown in terms coffee production is Brazil, which produces on average, 50 million 60KG bags of coffee per annum.

There are two types of coffee bean grown across the continent, Arabica and Robusta. Arabica is the most common.

Brazil Coffee Plantation

Brazil

Roughly a third of the world's coffee is produced in Brazil, it is unsurprising then that it is the largest coffee exporter on the planet, a title it has held for 150 years.

TRADITIONS

Dry processed (unwashed; natural)

TASTES LIKE...

Moderate-Low acidity with a good to heavy body

CHARACTER

Sweet, nutty. Bittersweet with a chocolatey roast

Colombian Coffee Plantation

Colombia

Colombia is the world's third largest coffee producing country however it is the largest producer of the Arabica bean and even has its' own Coffee Theme Park, (Parque del Cafe).

TRADITIONS

Wet processed; washed, sun-dried

TASTES LIKE...

Sweet, chocolatey with citrusy, spicy aromas

CHARACTER

Citrusy acidity with a smooth, medium body

Coffee Plantation in Peru

Peru

One of the first South American countries to cultivate the coffee plant, it is renowned for its production of exquisite coffee. Sitting at 10th in global production, it's a case of quality over quantity in Peru.

TRADITIONS

Typically wet processed; washed

TASTES LIKE...

Smooth hint of nuts, flowers and soft fruit, floral aromas

CHARACTER

Medium (sometimes light) body, moderate acidity

Guatemala

Guatemala is the world's 9th largest coffee growing country, recently Central America's largest until it was overtaken by Honduras in 2011. Each year it typically exports 89% of it's coffee produce. Often a coffee drinker's favourite.

TRADITIONS

Wet processed; washed, sun-dried

TASTES LIKE...

Very chocolatey and sweet with nutty undertones

CHARACTER

Typically full bodied with a bright acidity. Can be spicy!

Honduras Cofee Farm

Honduras

Honduras holds a 4% share of the global coffee market making it the 7th largest contributor. Coffee is one of the countries' largest exports, in-fact over 110,000 Honduran families rely on it's production for their livelihood.

TRADITIONS

Wet processed; washed, sun-dried

TASTES LIKE...

Sweet, chocolatey with citrusy, spicy aromas

CHARACTER

Citrusy acidity with a smooth, medium body

Central America

All seven countries across Central America produce coffee, with Honduras growing and producing the most. In-fact, many of them host their own 'Cup of Excellence' competitions, to evaluate and grade the finest coffees from each region.

The competitions ultimately decide which speciality coffees are suitable for global distribution.

This is one of the reasons Central American coffee is highly regarded for it's quality, and as a result, is many people's favourite!

Coffee from Central America
African Coffee

East Africa

Africa is widely regarded as the birthplace of coffee. Where in Africa? It is believed to have been in Ethiopia during the 9th Century.

Today, it is repsonsible for over 12% of all coffee grown and distributed world-wide. Most of Africa's speciality coffee (which is what we love) is grown in East Africa, throughout Ethiopia, Kenya & Tanzania.

African coffee is esteemed for its' intense and unique, spicy, fruity aromas.

 

Coffee Plantation in Ethiopia

Ethiopia

Its Ethiopia, and it's goats that we have to thank for the invention of coffee back in the 9th Century. Today it employees 15 million people into it's coffee trade and is the 5th largest coffee producer globally. Often celebrated for it's floral notes and great diversity of coffee types.

TRADITIONS

Mostly wet (washed) but also dry processed

TASTES LIKE...

Jasmine flower, bergamot and blueberry in aftertaste

CHARACTER

High acidity with a light-medium body

Kenya Coffee Farm

Kenya

Kenya first started producing coffee in the 19th Century, a long time after it's neighbours however in that short time it has become recognised as a high quality coffee producer, employing over 5 million people in it's coffee trade.

TRADITIONS

De-pulped, fermented and then washed

TASTES LIKE...

Fruity (berries), with tropical and citrusy notes

CHARACTER

Medium to full body with a strong acidity

Vietnamese Coffee Farm

Vietnam

Vietnamese coffee is known for it's deep, rich and sometimes experimental styles and flavours. It is the second largest coffee exporter in the world, however the majority of it's export is of the Robusta bean.

TRADITIONS

Dry processed, Long roast with sugar and butter added

TASTES LIKE...

Caramel tones with hints of vanilla and cocoa

CHARACTER

Thick bodied and typically strong

South Asia

When you think of Asia, particularly it's hot drinks market, most people think of their teas, however the continent is actually one of the world's largest coffee exporters.

While both the Arabica and the Robusta coffee bean are grown in Asia, the majority of coffee produced is from the Robusta bean as it is much more suited to the often harsh weather conditions.

Asian Coffee

South America is the largest
coffee producing region in the world,
producing over 60% of global coffee in 2019.

The coffee jewel in South America's crown in terms coffee production is Brazil, which produces on average, 50 million 60KG bags of coffee per annum.

There are two types of coffee bean grown across the continent, Arabica and Robusta. Arabica is the most common.

Brazil Coffee Plantation

Brazil

Roughly a third of the world's coffee is produced in Brazil, it is unsurprising then that it is the largest coffee exporter on the planet, a title it has held for 150 years.

TRADITIONS

Dry processed (unwashed; natural)

TASTES LIKE...

Moderate-Low acidity with a good to heavy body

CHARACTER

Sweet, nutty. Bittersweet with a chocolatey roast

Colombian Coffee Plantation

Colombia

Colombia is the world's third largest coffee producing country however it is the largest producer of the Arabica bean and even has its' own Coffee Theme Park, (Parque del Cafe).

TRADITIONS

Wet processed; washed, sun-dried

TASTES LIKE...

Sweet, chocolatey with citrusy, spicy aromas

CHARACTER

Citrusy acidity with a smooth, medium body

Coffee Plantation in Peru

Peru

One of the first South American countries to cultivate the coffee plant, it is renowned for its production of exquisite coffee. Sitting at 10th in global production, it's a case of quality over quantity in Peru.

TRADITIONS

Typically wet processed; washed

TASTES LIKE...

Smooth hint of nuts, flowers and soft fruit, floral aromas

CHARACTER

Medium (sometimes light) body, moderate acidity

All seven countries
across Central America produce coffee, with Honduras growing and producing the most. In-fact, many of them host their own 'Cup of Excellence' competitions, to evaluate and grade the finest coffees from each region.

The competitions ultimately decide which speciality coffees are suitable for global distribution.

This is one of the reasons Central American coffee is highly regarded for it's quality, and as a result, is many people's favourite!

Guatemala

Guatemala is the world's 9th largest coffee growing country, recently Central America's largest until it was overtaken by Honduras in 2011. Each year it typically exports 89% of it's coffee produce. Often a coffee drinker's favourite.

TRADITIONS

Wet processed; washed, sun-dried

TASTES LIKE...

Very chocolatey and sweet with nutty undertones

CHARACTER

Typically full bodied with a bright acidity. Can be spicy!

Honduras Cofee Farm

Honduras

Honduras holds a 4% share of the global coffee market making it the 7th largest contributor. Coffee is one of the countries' largest exports, in-fact over 110,000 Honduran families rely on it's production for their livelihood.

TRADITIONS

Wet processed; washed, sun-dried

TASTES LIKE...

Sweet, chocolatey with citrusy, spicy aromas

CHARACTER

Citrusy acidity with a smooth, medium body

Africa is widely regarded
as the birthplace of coffee. Where in Africa? It is believed to have been in Ethiopia during the 9th Century.

Today, it is repsonsible for over 12% of all coffee grown and distributed world-wide. Most of Africa's speciality coffee (which is what we love) is grown in East Africa, throughout Ethiopia, Kenya & Tanzania.

African coffee is esteemed for its' intense and unique, spicy, fruity aromas

Coffee Plantation in Ethiopia

Ethiopia

Its Ethiopia, and it's goats that we have to thank for the invention of coffee back in the 9th Century. Today it employees 15 million people into it's coffee trade and is the 5th largest coffee producer globally. Often celebrated for it's floral notes and great diversity of coffee types.

TRADITIONS

Mostly wet (washed) but also dry processed

TASTES LIKE...

Jasmine flower, bergamot and blueberry in aftertaste

CHARACTER

High acidity with a light-medium body

Kenya Coffee Farm

Kenya

Kenya first started producing coffee in the 19th Century, a long time after it's neighbours however in that short time it has become recognised as a high quality coffee producer, employing over 5 million people in it's coffee trade.

TRADITIONS

De-pulped, fermented and then washed

TASTES LIKE...

Fruity (berries), with tropical and citrusy notes

CHARACTER

Medium to full body with a strong acidity

Africa is widely regarded
as the birthplace of coffee. Where in Africa? It is believed to have been in Ethiopia during the 9th Century.

Today, it is repsonsible for over 12% of all coffee grown and distributed world-wide. Most of Africa's speciality coffee (which is what we love) is grown in East Africa, throughout Ethiopia, Kenya & Tanzania.

African coffee is esteemed for its' intense and unique, spicy, fruity aromas

Coffee Plantation in Ethiopia

Ethiopia

Its Ethiopia, and it's goats that we have to thank for the invention of coffee back in the 9th Century. Today it employees 15 million people into it's coffee trade and is the 5th largest coffee producer globally. Often celebrated for it's floral notes and great diversity of coffee types.

TRADITIONS

Mostly wet (washed) but also dry processed

TASTES LIKE...

Jasmine flower, bergamot and blueberry in aftertaste

CHARACTER

High acidity with a light-medium body

Kenya Coffee Farm

Kenya

Kenya first started producing coffee in the 19th Century, a long time after it's neighbours however in that short time it has become recognised as a high quality coffee producer, employing over 5 million people in it's coffee trade.

TRADITIONS

De-pulped, fermented and then washed

TASTES LIKE...

Fruity (berries), with tropical and citrusy notes

CHARACTER

Medium to full body with a strong acidity

When you think of Asia,
particularly it's hot drinks market, most people think of their teas, however the continent is actually one of the world's largest coffee exporters.

While both the Arabica and the Robusta coffee bean are grown in Asia, the majority of coffee produced is from the Robusta bean as it is much more suited to the often harsh weather conditions.

Vietnamese Coffee Farm

Vietnam

Vietnamese coffee is known for it's deep, rich and sometimes experimental styles and flavours. It is the second largest coffee exporter in the world, however the majority of it's export is of the Robusta bean.

TRADITIONS

Dry processed, Long roast with sugar and butter added

TASTES LIKE...

Caramel tones with hints of vanilla and cocoa

CHARACTER

Thick bodied and typically strong

Understanding The Roast

You've probably heard "the roast" of coffee discussed a lot. Like it's origin (and many other factors!) the roasting style of a coffee bean also has a significant impact on the quality of the coffee you drink from your cup. To find the best coffee for you, you'll certainly need to consider how it's roasted!

Light Roast

Light roasted coffee beans are roasted for less time, this allows for greater retention of the bean's natural, raw flavours, along with it's caffeine potency.

Because of this, it is the ideal roast if you want to experience the deeper nuances and expected tasting notes of each coffee bean.

So when you hear "expect chocolatey, nutty undertones" Choose light roast if it's the natural flavours of the bean you enjoy.

Medium Roast

The Robusta coffee bean, originating from Ethiopia, was first recognised in the 19th Century.

Robusta makes up the majority of the remaining global trade (~40%).

Typically brews a strong, full-bodied coffee with distinctive earthy undertones.

Dark Roast

The Liberica coffee bean is native to Western & Central Africa. Also discovered in the 19th Century.

Less common, accounting for roughly 2% of global coffee trade.

Known for it's unique flavour characteristics; floral, fruity and often described as "smoky".

Light Roast

Light roasted coffee beans are as you would expected, roasted for less time. Roasting for less time allows for greater retention of the bean's natural, raw flavours.

Because of this, it is the ideal roast if you want to experience the deeper nuances and expected tasting notes of each coffee bean.

So when you hear "expect chocolatey, nutty undertones" Choose light roast if it's the natural flavours of the bean you enjoy.

 

Medium Roast

Medium roasted coffee beans generally offer a more balanced flavour profile between the natural flavours of the coffee bean and the additional flavours infused by the roasting process.

Roasting for slightly longer allows for a process often referred to as the 'first crack' to occur. This is coffee bean expanding and releasing water & C02. With the 'crack' you will start to see the introduction of flavours typically associated with the roasting process, think butter and vanilla!

Dark Roast

Dark roasted coffee beans will have less acidity as this starts to decrease with increased roast time.

Dark roasted coffee beans typically produce full-bodied coffees with smoky, darker flavours enhanced by the longer roasting time.

Many of the coffee beans which emit chocolatey, nutty flavours pair well with the deep roast flavours. The best thing to do is try each roast type and see which you prefer!

CREATING THE COFFEE YOU LOVE

As the 'coffee drinker' YOU also have some control over the taste and the body of the coffee you drink. Your selection of coffee bean will of course influence this, but as will the style you choose to create, whether it's black, latte, cappuccino or something completely different!

This style and what is possible within it will largely be dictated by your choice of coffee brewing equipment.

Check out our guide on how to select the right coffee equipment for you.