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Types of coffee beans
There are several types of beans that are used to produce coffee around the world. Each type of bean brews coffee with a slightly different taste to cater to different palates. Here are some of the most common types of coffee beans used around the world.
Arabica beans are the most popular type of coffee in the world. They are lauded for their taste, which is smooth enough to drink straight without any creamer or sweetener. The best beans have a low acidity and are described as full-bodied
The beans grow at high altitudes and require plenty of rain and shade to grow well. While Arabica plants are small and easy to prune, they are also quite delicate and are prone to disease, making them difficult to grow. That
As the name suggests, Robusta beans are more robust than the more popular Arabica. They’re resistant to disease and can be easier to grow, but they have a more bitter flavor and are much higher in caffeine than Arabica. That makes them well suited to being flavored with cream and sugar.
You’ll usually find Robusta beans in instant coffee because they’re cheap to grow, but they can also be found in coffee blends, particularly in Vietnam.
Liberica is not a common coffee bean in the U.S. or European markets, but it’s very popular in countries like the Philippines. Liberica is mostly produced in Malaysia, making it easier to transport to neighboring countries. Liberica also has a fairly inconsistent flavor, though the finish is almost always harsh.
It’s hard to find pure Liberica coffee these days, but those who have sampled this bean describe as as having a woody flavor that is quite unlike any other type of coffee they have tasted before.
Excelsa coffee is a tree-like plant, which makes it quite different from other types of beans. Excelsa is best grown at an altitude between 1,000 and 3,000 meters above sea level. It produces a lot of beans if cultivated correctly, but can be quite difficult to care for. Excelsa beans are lower in caffeine than other types of beans.
Because they aren’t as easy to grow as other types of beans, they account for only around 7% of the world’s coffee consumption.
Types of coffee drinks
Now you know the difference between the most popular coffee beans, let’s take a look at some of the different types of coffee drinks you can make with them.
Cafe noir (Black)
Black coffee is an extremely popular coffee drink. People tend to drink it as-is if they like the taste of coffee, or add cream and sweetener to help mellow it out and make it more palatable. When making black coffee, there are a variety of methods to use, with one of the most popular at-home methods being the drip coffee maker. Making care noir is as easy as adding ground coffee beans and water to your coffee maker and turning it on.
Espresso is a highly concentrated coffee drink made by running extra-dark beans through a pressurized machine to produce a shot of super-strong coffee. You can drink espresso by itself if you enjoy the taste, but it also makes an excellent base for many mixed coffee drinks, such as lattes and cappuccinos.
Double espresso (doppio)
Double espresso is also known as “doppio” and is essentially just two shots of espresso in one. While an espresso shot is about 1 liquid ounce, a doppio shot is 2 liquid ounces. That makes it a lot easier to use a doppio shot to make a coffee drink, since using single shots would take more time. Double shots are the standard now in many coffee shops for that reason.
A mocha is similar to a latte or cappuccino in that it’s made from espresso and steamed milk. But mocha adds chocolate in as well to give it a more luxurious feel. Mocha drinks can be flavored as well, with a popular version being the peppermint mocha found around the winter holiday season.
For those mornings where a regular cup of coffee just isn’t enough to get you going, a red eye can give you a quick jolt. It’s made from a cup of regular coffee with a shot of espresso stirred in. But be careful; this isn’t for the faint of heart!
A black eye coffee is similar to a red eye, but instead of one shot of espresso added to a cup of coffee you add two shots of espresso. It has an extremely strong taste, but does an excellent job of waking you up thanks to its high caffeine content.
Americano is made from a shot of espresso and hot water. This means the drink retains the strong flavor profile and caffeine content of espresso, but is mellowed out by the addition of hot water.
You can drink Americano as-is or add milk, shots of syrup, or other flavorings to make it more to your taste. It’s a good alternative to drip coffee if you’re looking for something different.
Long black is a style of coffee most common in Australia and New Zealand. It’s similar to an Americano but uses a smaller amount of hot water, resulting in a bolder and richer flavor profile.
A macchiato is simply a shot of espresso with three parts foam. It’s a great way to order an espresso if you’re not a fan of a straight shot as the foam helps mellow out the strong taste (but not enough to completely overpower it).
A long macchiato is made in the same way as a regular macchiato, but with two shots of espresso instead of one. The extra espresso means it takes longer to enjoy than a traditional macchiato, hence the name “long macchiato.”
Cortado uses 1 ounce of espresso and 1 ounce of steamed milk. The addition of milk helps balance out the strong flavor of the espresso shot.
A breve is similar to a latte, but instead of steamed milk mixed with espresso it uses steamed half and half, which is a mixture of cream and milk. The half and half makes the drink much richer than a latte, and so it’s often enjoyed after a meal as a dessert rather than as a morning pick-me-up drink.
A cappuccino is a layered coffee drink with espresso on the bottom, steamed milk in the middle, and foam on the top. Each element is added in equal amounts, making the cappuccino a balanced drink.
A flat white is made from espresso and steamed milk. It uses more espresso than the latte, making it too strong for some, but it’s a very popular coffee drink with those who prefer a bolder flavor profile from their coffee.
A latte is one of the most popular coffee drinks. It’s made from a shot of espresso blended with steamed milk and topped with foam. Lattes come in a myriad of flavors such as vanilla and caramel, and can also be seasonal (think of the hype pumpkin spice lattes get from coffee fans in the fall).
Vienna coffee is made using two shots of espresso topped with whipped cream, and often has chocolate sprinkles on top as well. The whipped cream adds an extra richness to the drink.
An affogato is a decadent coffee “drink” that’s actually more like a dessert. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to a glass and pour a shot of espresso over it. You can also add additional ingredients, like liqueur or syrup, if you choose; however the traditional recipe uses only ice cream and espresso. The result is a decadent dessert of slightly melted ice cream with a sweet and creamy coffee drink left over to drink once the ice cream has been eaten.
Café au lait
Cafe au lait translates as “coffee with milk,” which is exactly what this coffee drink is. The addition of milk helps cut some of the bitterness from a cup of black drip coffee, making it a popular wake-up drink for many coffee fans.
Irish coffee is simply a mixed coffee drink with whiskey, cream, and sugar added. The whiskey adds more flavor to the already flavorful drink. It’s a popular drink to order at brunch or after a late night involving drinks.
A ristretto is a type of espresso shot that uses less hot water than a regular espresso. This results in a sweeter flavor that’s less harsh than your typical espresso.
A lungo is a long-pull espresso drink. The longer you take to brew the drink, the more caffeine the lungo will contain.
Galão is a coffee drink that originated in Portugal. It’s similar to a latte or cappuccino in that it’s made using espresso, steamed milk, and foam, but it uses much more milk in relation to the other drinks, making it a lighter option for those who aren’t huge coffee fans.
Types of iced coffee
Iced coffee is essentially just black coffee with ice added. Like with black coffee, you can add whatever milk, sweetener, or flavors you fancy. Iced coffee is a popular drink at coffee houses, especially in the warmer months where a hot cup of coffee sounds less desirable.
Similar to iced coffee, iced espresso is made by combining a shot (or more) of espresso with ice. You can also use iced espresso as the base for cold mixed coffee drinks like an iced macchiato or iced latte combined with whichever flavors you’d like to add.
While ice coffee uses hot-brewed coffee combined with ice, cold brew coffee is made from steeping coffee beans in cold water over a longer period of time. Cold brew can take anywhere from 6 to 36 hours to brew, and the longer it’s brewed the stronger it is. You can also store cold brew coffee in the fridge for a few days, so you can brew a big batch and have it ready to go when you need it.
If cold coffee isn’t your jam, you can also heat cold brew coffee to enjoy it as you would enjoy a freshly brewed cup of drip coffee.
A frappuccino is a cold coffee drink that combines ice, coffee, cream, and other optional flavorings. Frappuccinos are popular summer drinks as they can help you cool off as you caffeinate. You’ll also often find them finished off with whipped cream to make them extra decadent.
Nitro is cold coffee that has been infused with nitrogen and poured from a nitrogen tap. It has a creamy and mellow taste and frothy consistency, making it similar in appearance to Guinness beer.
Mazagran is a coffee drink mixed with rum to create a type of cocktail. It uses espresso, lemon, sugar, and rum (though you can also make a non-alcoholic version by omitting the rum).
When it comes to making coffee, there are several brew methods you can use depending on how you like your coffee. Here are the top 5 most popular coffee brewing methods.
If you brew coffee at home, chances are you have a drip coffee machine. These machines work by running hot water through ground coffee beans in a filter. The brewed coffee drips into a carafe that sits on a heating element to keep it at an optimal temperature. You can then pour however much coffee you’d like into a cup, and have more than one cup at a time. That makes drip coffee makers ideal for households with more than one coffee drinker, since you can brew a big batch for everyone to share.
Pour over coffee is brewed in a similar manner to drip brew: Hot water is poured over ground coffee beans in a filter over a cup or a carafe. The difference between the two methods is that pour over is a more manual brewing method, whereas drip brew uses an automatic machine that does the work for you.
Pour over brewing yields a stronger cup of coffee with a more distinct flavor profile. You can control the strength of the coffee by adding more or less ground beans. Since there are fewer parts to a pour over brewer, it’s typically much easier to clean than your average automatic drip coffee maker. As a con, the filters used with pour-over brewers are more expensive than those you use with a drip brew machine; however, some do use reusable filters which helps save you money (and also saves waste).
Cold brew coffee has seen a huge jump in popularity in recent years. While traditionally, coffee is made by pouring hot water over ground coffee beans, the cold brew method uses only cold water.
To make cold brew coffee, you’ll need to steep ground coffee beans in cold water for a longer period of time (typically 3-36 hours). A cold brew coffee maker has a filter in the middle where the coffee grounds are, and the water releases the flavor slowly. The longer you steep the beans, the stronger the taste will be.
You can also make cold brew coffee in bulk and keep it in the fridge to use over the course of a few days. And if you prefer your coffee hot, you can heat it up and drink it how you would drink regular drip or pour over coffee.
Espresso is made by forcing extremely hot water through ground coffee beans using high pressure. This method results in a very bold flavor that many choose to mix with milk or cream to tone down the strength. But others like the strong taste of espresso and drink it as it is.
Espresso machines tend to be more expensive than other types of coffee makers, simply because they are more complex. While a regular drip coffee maker only needs to heat water and direct it to the beans, an espresso machine requires a very precise amount of pressure to get it right. It’s certainly possible to make an excellent espresso at home, but unless you drink a lot of it or have a lot of disposable income, you’ll probably want to stick to a drip machine at home and just buy your espresso from your local coffee shop.
Ristretto is brewed similarly to espresso, using pressure to force the water through the coffee beans. The difference is that ristretto uses less water than espresso, resulting in a shot of coffee with an even bolder flavor profile.
Whether you like your coffee black, iced, or mixed with steamed milk and syrup, you’re sure to find the perfect coffee drink for you if you sample a variety of different types.
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