You probably will have seen on coffee packs everywhere the phrase "100% Arabica", and wondered what it means or stands for. This is mainly intended as a sign of quality which is used as a selling point and means exactly what it says: that 100% of the coffee in the package is made from Arabica coffee beans.
“Coffea arabica” is one of the most widely grown coffee species in the world! Arabica coffee trees grow at fairly high altitudes (1,300-1,500m), conferring a richer bean with more concentrated flavours, a higher degree of acidity and floral and fruity notes.
All of the world’s highly graded coffees and essentially those classified as “specialty” coffee are of the Arabica species or closely related to it. However, the species itself does not guarantee quality and there is far more commercial-grade Arabica than there is specialty.
The origins of the Arabica coffee tree species can be traced back to the Ethiopian Highlands. So, next time you are in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, you know what to do :).
In fact, the co-founder of Moving Beans, Mike, had his most amazing coffee (ever, as he insists) in Ethiopia, on his way to Rwanda.
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Water 💧 is the quiet and elusive partner of coffee. You need it to make coffee and it can change the flavour of it depending on the subtle differences in water composition. Recently, there has been a resurrection of research around the water composition and the quality of coffee. 👩🏽🔬 A key notion to take on board is that good tasting water does not necessarily mean good tasting coffee. For example, the bicarbonate content that makes a branded bottled water very smooth water to drink is basically responsible for removing acidity and sweetness in coffee.
The extraction of the coffee is at the core of any brewing or coffee-making process. When water passes through the coffee, it extracts some of the compounds and flavours and leaves some behind. It is the surprising complexity of this process that gives us so much of an intrigue as well as frustration when making coffee.
There are endless flavour notes to coffee. You can practice observing these through a coffee tasting technique called coffee cupping. In order to achieve the most consistent results, the “cupper” (which could be you) needs to follow very specific but simple procedures: