Coffee distributors are involved in much more than supplying the beans that make your favorite beverage. Understanding the many types of beans available, as well as where they can be found, their roasting process, and their different brewing methods requires a great deal of knowledge and a strong dedication to enjoying a cup o' joe. |
Types of Beans
The bean is the heart and soul of every cup of coffee. However, it's not really a bean at all, but rather the seed (or pit) of the berry. The region that a particular bean comes from dictates the flavor, acidity, and aroma of the brew. While there are several different growing regions, there are only three main varieties of beans: Arabica, Robusta, and the lesser-known Liberica.
Arabica is by far the most common type. While it is believed to have first been grown near Ethiopia and Yemen, it is now cultivated around the globe. Requiring moderate temperatures, a humid climate, and a growing altitude above 3,000 feet, Arabica is estimated to account for 65-75% of all beans harvested in the world. Jamaican Blue Mountain, Hawaiian Kona, Kenyan, and Java are some of the most popular examples of the Arabica beans.
Robusta can also trace its roots to Africa, where it is still widely planted. Generally viewed by coffee distributors as a lower-quality bean, Robusta has a much higher caffeine content than Arabica and is used primarily in pre-packaged or instant varieties. With its larger yields, flexible growing conditions, and resistance to disease, Robusta beans have found favor in both Brazil and Vietnam.
Liberica beans, originated in Liberia, are a lesser-known variety. Their potential is still largely untapped but, as demand for a greater variety of flavor profiles continues to expand, Liberica is expected to find its niche.
Blends are, as the name implies, mixtures of different types of beans that, when ground together, produce flavors and aromas that combine the qualities of different beans. These specialty blends have gained popularity and opened new vistas for coffee distributors in terms of offering new tastes to their clientele.
Roasting is the process that transforms green coffee beans into the desired taste and aromatic profile. The roasting process also provides a longer shelf life for coffee distributors and their consumers. Temperature is the governing factor in roasting; lower temperatures translate into lighter roasts. Each roasting option will bring out certain characteristics in the beans. Some of the most common roasts are listed below:
-American: This is the normal or regular roast. The beans become medium brown and has the moderate flavor known to most people. -New England: Lighter than the American, this roasting option is preferred by roasters looking to develop customized flavors. -City: The main choice for specialty brews, this option is darker than the American roast and uses a slighter higher temperature. -French: This roast is for lovers of stronger flavors and darker, richer colors. Using temperatures thirty degrees higher than the American, the end result is a deep brown color. -Italian: This is the choice for espresso lovers everywhere. The higher temperature results in a brown-black hue and a classic, strong flavor profile.
Coffee distributors have become suppliers and educators for both the retailers who sell their products and the customers who drink them. By sharing their knowledge of the qualities of each type of coffee and continuing to offer new and exciting products with distinct and delightful flavors, they have taken America's favorite beverage to a whole new level.
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