We can classify coffee beans based on several factors, including the species of the coffee plant, the growing region, the processing method, and the roast level, In this guide, we will summarize how coffee beans are classified and the most common classifications of coffee beans.
- Species: Two main species of coffee plants, Coffea Arabica and Coffea Robusta. Arabica beans are considered for their higher quality and have a milder, sweeter taste, while Robusta beans have a stronger, more bitter taste and are often used in instant coffee and lower-end blends.
- Growing Region: Coffee beans can be grown in many regions around the world, and the flavour profile of the beans can vary based on the climate, soil, and altitude of the growing region. Some of the most famous growing regions include Ethiopia, Colombia, Brazil, and Rwanda, India.
- Processing Method: The processing method refers to how coffee cherries are turned into green coffee beans. The most common processing methods are, washed, natural, and honey. Washed coffee is considered to have a cleaner, more balanced taste, while natural coffee has a fruity, more intense flavour. Honey-processed coffee falls somewhere in between, with a sweetness and complexity that can vary depending on the honey remaining on the bean.
- Roast Level: The roast level of coffee beans refers to the time they have been roasted, and it has a significant impact on the flavour of the coffee. Light roasts are light brown and have a mild, smooth flavour with more of the original coffee characteristics present. Medium roasts are medium brown and have a balanced flavour with some sweetness and acidity. Dark roasts are dark brown or almost black and have a strong, bold flavour with a noticeable bitterness.
Some of the classifications are listed below:
- Arabica and Robusta: These are the two main species of coffee beans, with Arabica being considered higher quality and has a milder flavour, while Robusta has a stronger flavour and more caffeine.
- Single Origin and Blend: Single-origin coffee refers to coffee that is sourced from a single location, while blended coffee is made from a mixture of beans from multiple origins.
- Organic: Organic coffee is grown without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.
- Fair Trade: Farmers are paid a reasonable price for their beans growing Fairtrade coffee.
- Rainforest Alliance Certified: Rainforest Alliance-certified coffee is grown in a way that protects the environment and the rights of farmers.
- Shade Grown: Shade-grown coffee is grown under a canopy of trees, which provides a habitat for wildlife and helps to protect the environment.
- Direct trade: Direct trade coffee means that the buyer of the coffee goes directly to the grower and buys the coffee beans directly from them, cutting out intermediaries and ensuring fair prices for the grower.
- Microlot: Microlot coffee refers to small plots of land where only a small amount of coffee is grown. These beans are often considered to be of higher quality and are more expensive.
- Natural and Washed: Natural coffee refers to coffee beans that are dried with the fruit still on them, while washed coffee is processed by removing the fruit before drying the beans.
- Grade: Grade of coffee is a term used to describe the size, shape and density of coffee beans. Speciality-grade coffee is considered to be the highest quality, with a score of 80 or higher.
In conclusion, the classification of coffee beans can impact the flavour profile of the final product, so it is crucial to consider these factors when choosing a type of coffee to enjoy. Whether you prefer the mild sweetness of Arabica beans from Ethiopia or the bold flavour of Robusta beans from Brazil.
There is a coffee out there for everyone.
Ultimately, trying different coffee beans to find what you prefer is important. Some classifications may be more important to you than others, depending on your personal preferences and values.