Everyone across the world has different opinions, but there is one thing most people can agree on: we love coffee.
In America, 54% of citizens over 18 (or 150 million people) drink coffee every day.
With so many people enjoying the beverage, there are a variety of flavors and types of coffee to choose from.
That being said, what are the most common types of coffee beans, roasts, and beverages? Let’s find out.
Common Types of Coffee Beans
Coffee comes in diverse flavors thanks to a wide range of coffee beans.
A coffee bean is actually a seed that grows on Coffea plants. The fruit resembles a cherry, with a brown pit in the center. The brown pit is what gets turned into the delicious caffeinated drinks we love all over the world.
There are four primary kinds of coffee beans: Arabica, Liberica, Robusta, and Excelsa.
Arabica Coffee Beans
Arabica beans come from the Coffea Arabica plant. They are native to southwestern Ethiopia and South Sudan. Arabica coffee beans are the most commonly used and are responsible for 60% of the world’s coffee production.
Coffea Arabica plants produce an aromatic coffee. The beans are flat and long, with slightly less caffeine compared to Coffea Robusta plants.
Arabica coffee has a slightly sweet flavor, with hints of fruit, chocolate, nuts, and caramel. It’s commonly used to make cold brews.
Cultivating Arabica plants is tricky because they thrive in steep terrain. The trees are susceptible to diseases, which means they require constant care and attention. The extra costs lead to Arabica coffee having higher prices.
Liberica Coffee Beans
Coffea Liberica was first found in Liberia, which is the reason for its name. It’s a tall plant that produces large coffee beans.
Liberica coffee beans are not common in America but are frequently used throughout Asia and South America.
The plants are cheap and easy to grow. After Southeast Asia lost most of its coffee crops from ‘coffee rust‘ disease in the 19th, farmers switched to Liberica plants. Since then, Liberica coffee has become widely popular throughout Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Taste-wise, Liberica coffee beans produce a similar beverage to Robusta beans. It is bold, dark, high in caffeine, and possesses an earthy flavor. Some people also claim Liberica coffee has a smoky taste.
Robusta Coffee Beans
Coffea Robusta plants produce Robusta coffee beans. They are grown throughout Central and Western Africa, Southeast Asia, and Brazil.
Robusta beans are commonly used in coffee blends or instant coffee. The beans are round, small, and high in caffeine. Robusta beans create a strong coffee with a peanut aftertaste.
Unlike Arabica, Coffea Robusta plants are hardy and easy to grow. They require plenty of water and warm temperatures but are more resilient to parasites and diseases. They are cheaper to harvest, so the beans have lower price tags compared to other types.
Excelsa Coffee Beans
Coffea Excelsa plants are part of the Liberica family. They are almond-shaped and found primarily in Southeast Asia. The beans are commonly used in coffee blends.
Excelsa beans are tart and dark with fruity aromas. The beans create unique flavors that coffee enthusiasts enjoy.
Varying Types of Coffee Roasts
Once you have the coffee beans, they need to be roasted to create a delicious cup of coffee.
Roasting is a heat process that adds fragrance and flavor to the beans. It extracts the beans’ natural aromas. The beans are roasted at high temperatures and then quickly cooled.
When they are finished roasting, the beans are crunchy and ready to be ground into coffee. The sooner the beans are used after roasting, the fresher and tastier the coffee.
There are a variety of roasting methods coffee makers use to produce different types of coffee.
To create a light roast coffee, the beans are delicately roasted. They are less cooked compared to other roasts, which creates a light, acidic, and tangy flavor.
Light roasts tend to be more caffeinated because they retain most of the coffee bean’s caffeine. Since they are roasted for less time, light roast coffee maintains more of the original bean’s flavors.
Medium roasts have a little more body compared to light roast coffee. They have a balanced flavor with plenty of aromas and acidity. Medium roasts are smooth with hints of caramel and chocolate.
Since medium roasts are very popular throughout the United States, they received the nickname “American Roast.”
When coffee beans are roasted for long periods, they create a dark roast coffee. These beverages are designed to have dark, earthy, spicy, and chocolatey notes. They have strong aromas and are full-bodied.
Dark roasts are not acidic. They are dark brown, with some beans looking nearly black. Dark roast coffee is rich, smooth, and satisfying.
Different Types of Coffee Drinks
Using the various types of coffee beans and roasts, you can create different coffee drinks. From hot beverages to cold brews, there are numerous kinds of coffee beverages to choose from.
Espresso is a concentrated form of coffee. It is traditionally served as a small shot, although espresso shots are often added to other drinks to create a strong coffee beverage.
Espressos are thick, full of flavor, and high in caffeine.
To make an espresso, pressurized hot water is pushed through finely-ground coffee beans. Most people use an espresso machine to do this. To ensure your espresso comes out perfectly, use a coffee grinder brush to prevent oil buildup in your machine.
Espressos originated in Italy. They were invented by Luigi Bezzera, who decided to use steam pressure to create a strong coffee. Since then, espressos have become a signature beverage across the world.
Cappuccinos are one of the most popular coffee types. The beverage traditionally combines one espresso shot with steamed and frothy milk. Many people like to add flavors like vanilla, caramel, or hazelnut for sweetness.
A cappuccino drink is typically five to six ounces, although some coffee shops sell larger versions. The traditional ratio is 33% espresso, 33% steamed milk, and 33% dense foam.
Cappuccinos originated in Vienna, where they were made with whipped cream and spices. In the 1930s, cappuccinos started making their way around the world. Today, cappuccinos can be found in nearly every country.
Americanos are a mix of espresso and water. The drinks typically contain one to two shots of espresso and hot water. The drinks are not as strong as an espresso, so many people who cannot handle espressos prefer Americanos.
Americanos have a rich history. During World War II, American soldiers in Italy didn’t care for the rich espressos Italians were known for. So they began watering down their espresso shots, creating the Americano.
People with dairy allergies enjoy Americanos because they are one of the few coffee beverages that don’t require milk or cream. Americanos are traditionally served hot, but iced versions are popular during the summer months.
If you’re a fan of cappuccinos, then you may also enjoy a frothy macchiato.
A macchiato is one to two shots of espresso (depending on how strong you like your coffee drinks) with a dash of steamed milk on top. They are like smaller versions of cappuccinos.
The purpose of the small amount of milk is to brighten the coffee’s color. It adds the perfect amount of creaminess without taking away from the espresso’s rich flavor.
Like most espresso-based coffee drinks, macchiatos originated in Italy. It’s believed that baristas started adding frothy milk to espressos that requested some milk. From that, macchiatos were born.
Lattes contain one shot of espresso and six to eight ounces of steamed milk. The name latte comes from Italy, where “caffe latte” translates to “milk coffee.”
A typical latte consists of only steamed milk. The drinks are strong from the espresso shot and served hot or iced.
Europeans have been enjoying lattes for years, especially countries like Italy, Spain, and Austria. The latte made its way across the ocean to America during the 1980s and gained popularity throughout the 1990s.
We can once again thank Italy for creating another delicious coffee drink: affogato. A traditional affogato combines espresso with a single scoop of vanilla gelato. Outside of Italy, baristas and restaurants substitute the gelato with vanilla ice cream.
Affogatos are simple yet scrumptious. They are typically served as a post-meal dessert or mid-afternoon snack. In Italian, affogato translates to “drowned.” It refers to how the ice-cold gelato drowns the piping hot espresso.
First things first, cold brew coffee is not the same as iced coffee. Cold brew is the process of preparing coffee in room temperature water for 12 or more hours. The result is a super-smooth, highly caffeinated, and less acidic coffee drink.
Despite the name, cold brew coffee can be served hot or cold. Many people enjoy it straight, although some prefer their cold brews with a splash of cream or milk.
Due to its smooth flavors, cold brew is becoming increasingly popular throughout America.
Discover More Food Facts
With so many types of coffee, choosing one is the toughest part. If you’re new to coffee drinking, keep trying all of the different flavors until you find one that’s your favorite.
Are you looking for more interesting food facts? From recipes for a healthy gut to crockpot hacks, we’ve got you covered. Discover more on our blog.