There are two Coffea (coffee) species that make up nearly all the coffee grown for consumer consumption; these are Coffea Robusta and Coffea Arabica. We have discussed the latter in our last blog, so let's focus on the Robusta coffee bean today.
Robusta species grow at lower altitudes, i.e. sea level until about 300m. It is disease resistant and produces twice the yield per tree than the Arabica coffee tree. Coffee made from Robusta species also contains twice the amount of caffeine than Arabica. Here you have it: twice; twice as awake! :)
Robusta however is seen as the inferior of the two from a coffee taste point of view. Having said this, the quality of the different types of Arabica and Robusta varies widely and it is possible to find Robusta that outperforms Arabica coffee in quality. Nonetheless, Robusta cannot compete with the best Arabica crops.
You will often see Robusta blended with Arabica and, in general a Robusta will produce a more bitter, heavier cup with less brightness and fewer fruit notes. A good Robusta will display chocolate and hazelnut notes. Our Moving Beans House Espresso contains some Robusta coffee beans.
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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: