Everything You Need to Know About the Coffee Bean
Many of us can’t even manage to open our eyes properly in the morning without first drinking a good, strong coffee. In the best case, of course, from freshly ground coffee beans – but wait a minute, actually the little brown knob has nothing at all to do with bean plants.
Coffee is actually a red stone fruit that resembles more a cherry than a bean, which is why experts call it a coffee cherry. However, the “coffee bean” has established itself in the vernacular, and today Frahling lovers distinguish between flat beans, pearl beans, and Margogype coffee.
The coffee bean basically has two stone kernels with the flattened side facing each other, which is why it is also called a “flat bean.” If only one bean has grown, which is not flattened, this is called a “pearl bean.” And then there’s the Maragogype coffee, which consists of exceptionally large beans.
Uniformity in size and shape is one of the most important quality characteristics for good coffee. That’s why the roaster never mixes different types of beans in the same package.
40 Different Types of Coffee Beans
The art of growing and cultivating good coffee beans is a very delicate job. There are now 40 different varieties, most of which are only offered “niche by niche.” Sales are mainly concentrated on two types: Arabica (Coffea Arabica) and Robusta (Coffea canephora).
The Arabica coffee is also known as the “Java bean” and is slightly more expensive than the Robusta. It contains less bitter substances and produces more and lighter crema. This makes the coffee more acidic and consequently finer in taste.
The Arabica bean is also considered to be the oldest type of coffee known to us. Recent finds have proven that it was already used as a remedy in Arabia in the 9th/10th century (although in its unroasted “green” form) and that a drink was made from the roasted form as early as the 12th/13th century.
The Robusta is somewhat more bitter and “broader” in taste – and thus forms a good basis for mixtures of both varieties.
Most ready-packaged coffees have a relatively balanced blend of both varieties. The Italians, however, prefer pure Robusta coffee, for example – and anyone who has ever drunk a real espresso knows how the taste is arranged.
Speaking of espresso, we recommend taking a look at two related buying guides that we published:
Coffee Beans as a Snack in Between?
Even if you used to be warned not to eat the coffee beans pure, you could still consume the little seeds with a clear conscience! However, you should be aware of a few things.
Coffee beans can taste extremely bitter when eaten pure, depending on the variety. In addition, you take in a high amount of caffeine with the bean (15 – 20 coffee beans correspond to about a cup of strong espresso), so you should be very careful with the amount, especially if you are sensitive to caffeine.
In recent years, there has been a trend to chew coffee beans as dietary support. They don’t have too many calories, and the extensive chewing dampens the appetite as well as the feeling of hunger – but it also stimulates digestion!
Other well-known varieties are, for example, Coffea liberica or Coffea excelsa – but these are only produced in a few African countries (Sierra Leone, Benin) and Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Indonesia) and are therefore more suitable for lovers than for “daily coffee drinkers.”