Different growth environments and coffee sorts can offer some quite surprising tastes. You can find many different taste nuances in your cup. Have you imagined that coffee could taste like dark chocolate, black currant or rhubarb jam? Similarly to different grape varieties there are different coffee bean varieties, Typica, Red Bourbon, Catuai and Geisha just to count a few. Of course not all of them are pleasant tasting or even drinkable. The origin of the coffee also plays an important role.
The coffee plant species is divided into two subcategories: Coffea Canephora and Coffee Arabica. We only use Coffea Arabica, and here is a short explanation why.
Usually unpleasant tasting coffee belongs to this subspecies. The only well-known representative of this coffee is Robusta coffee. Like the name implies, the taste is quite robust, this is caused by several factors.
Firstly, Canephora grows at a maximum altitude of 700 meters above sea level, which is quite low for coffee. Due to low altitude the coffee is low in acids, which makes the taste of the coffee flat and dull. This also causes the coffee to give you a dry mouth feel, which is not sought after in a cup of coffee.
A higher caffeine and chlorogenic acid content, which is a defense mechanism against insects, causes the Canephora coffe to taste bitter. It is also important to mention that the lipid and sugar consentration is a lot smaller for Canephora coffee.
When Canephora has about 3-7% sugar in it, Arabica on the other hand has 6-9%. The lipid content is 10-11.5% and 15-17% accordingly. Due to all this about 65% of the world’s coffee production is Coffea Arabica.
Arabica is a fragile and hard to grow coffee species. It doesn’t have the strong defense mechanisms that Canephora has, but this is actually an upside. Arabica does not have a bitter, dirty and daft aftertaste, that usually characterizes Canephora coffee.
Arabica is grown between 800-2500m above sea level, occasionally even higher. This gives the coffee good acidity, which makes the taste more complex and brings out the taste nuances better. The roots of Arabica go deeper when compared to Canephora, which means that Arabica absorbs nutrients from the surrounding soil more efficiently.
Coffee consists of over a 1000 different molecular substances, 400 of which are either sugars or give coffee its aroma. It is also worth to mention that C. Arabica has 44 chromosomes, but C.Canephora has 22.