Coffee 101: Different Types of Coffee, Explained
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From different types of coffee beans like Arabica, Robusta, and Liberica; to different types of coffee drinks like Macchiato, Latte, and Americano – there are many types of coffee out there for you to choose from. Whether you’re looking to expand your coffee horizons by trying a new brew, or if you simply want to know more about the different types of coffee, you’re in the right place. In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about coffee – from the different types of coffee beans to the different types of coffee drinks and more!
Different Types of Coffee Beans
Did you know? There are many different types of coffee species out there. However, two of the most commonly produced and used coffee beans can be divided into two main species – Arabica and Robusta. Two less common types are Excelsa and Liberica.
Arabica beans account for a majority of the coffee produced and sold in the world today – they account for around 60% of the world’s coffee consumption. Arabica beans are generally considered to be of a higher quality than other bean types and are predominantly grown in Latin America. Many coffee lovers prefer Arabica beans due to their taste. Usually used for black coffee, Arabica beans have a sweeter, more complex flavor. The only downside is that it doesn’t have as much caffeine as Robusta, so if you’re looking for a stronger brew, Arabica may not be the best choice for you.
Robusta beans are much stronger and bitter – they are typically produced and used in many types of espressos. They are also suitable for those who prefer a really strong coffee, as they tend to have around double the caffeine content of Arabica beans. Despite its flavor being considered less refined, Robusta is widely used in espresso drinks because it’s known to produce a better crema (the creamy layer on top of an espresso shot) than Arabica.
Accounting for just around 2% of the world’s coffee consumption, Liberica is a rare type of coffee bean that’s often unheard of. There was a time when Liberica coffee was very popular; however, near the end of the 19th century, plant disease is known as “coffee rust” had set in and eliminated almost all Arabica plants – this ultimately led to the downfall of the Liberica coffee bean in the global marketplace. The Liberica coffee plant produces larger, irregular-shaped beans compared to Arabica plants. It’s said to have a fruity and floral aroma, but when made into coffee, has a woody and full-bodied taste. Liberica is said to be more similar to Robusta coffee than Arabica in terms of its general taste profile.
Although Excelsa has been recently re-classified as a member of the Liberica family, the two are very different. Excelsa mostly grows in Southeast Asia and accounts for about 7% of the world’s coffee consumption. It’s largely used in blends to give the coffee an extra boost of complexity and flavor. Excelsa is said to have a fruit and tart taste – flavors which are reminiscent of a light roast – but it also somehow has roasty, dark notes. This unique flavor combination lures coffee drinkers to try and seek out this coffee.
Types of Coffee Drinks
Americano, latte, cappuccino, espresso – there are numerous types of coffee drinks out there for you to try. Whether you’re new to the world of coffee or if you consider yourself a coffee connoisseur, there are so many types of coffee drinks to discover. Below, we list some of the most popular types of coffee drinks ordered by coffee lovers around the world.
Simply put, black coffee is a combination of coffee and water without any milk, sugar, cream, or other additives.
With a similar flavor to black coffee, an Americano is comprised of an espresso shot diluted in hot water.
A latte is comprised of a shot of espresso and steamed milk, with just a touch of foam. It can be ordered plain or with a flavor shot of anything from pumpkin spice to vanilla. Generally, a latte has the ‘milkiest’ aroma out of all milk-based coffees.
A cappuccino is a latte made with more foam than steamed milk, often with a sprinkle of cinnamon or cocoa powder on top. You can also find variations that use cream instead of milk.
Mocha is a mix of hot chocolate and cappuccino. It’s made by mixing the chocolate powder with an espresso shot, then adding steamed milk and foam into the beverage.
A macchiato is an espresso coffee drink with a small dash of milk, usually foamed. A layer of steamed milk is topped with two shots of espresso and is usually finished with a thin layer of milk foam.
An espresso is a concentrated form of coffee served in small, strong shots. An espresso shot can be served solo or it can be used as the foundation for other coffee drinks like macchiatos and lattes.
A lungo is a long-pull espresso – the longer the pull, the more caffeine there is. A lungo is less strong but more bitter than an espresso.
A ristretto is an espresso shot. It uses less hot water which results in a sweeter flavor compared to the bitter taste of a traditional shot of espresso.
- Flat White.
A flat white is basically a cappuccino without the foam or chocolate sprinkles. It’s an espresso drink with steamed milk.
A cortado is an even combination of espresso and steamed milk, with a texture that’s flat compared to the frothy cappuccino, latte, and the likes. The milk in a cortado is steamed but not texturized and frothy.
An affogato is a simple dessert coffee that’s made by placing one big scoop of vanilla ice cream within a single or double shot of espresso.
- Piccolo Latte.
A piccolo latte is essentially a café latte made in an espresso cup. This means that it has a very strong, but mellowed down espresso taste thanks to the microfoam and steamed milk it contains.
The Bottom Line
Americano, latte, cappuccino, ristretto, flat white, affogato – these are just some of the many types of coffee out there today. Wondering which one you should try out? The answer really depends on you. Drinking coffee is about finding what you enjoy. Have fun exploring the world of coffee!
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