There are more than a thousand varieties of coffee. And the biological genus of coffee trees includes a little less than a hundred species, but only one fifth is used for commercial purposes. Only 2 types of coffee are used mainly in the production of drinks, the remaining ones are used in confectionery industries.
The main types of coffee
Massively cultivated Arabian and Congolese coffee trees. From their beans produce the most beloved coffee varieties - Robusta and Arabica. Bengal and Cameroonian trees are also grown in small volumes.
In total, 4 main types of coffee are distinguished:
Industrial-scale coffee trees are cultivated in countries with a predominant tropical climate. Wild coffee trees are found on the hillocks of Asia and Africa. Absolutely all parts of coffee trees contain caffeine - a substance produced by plants as a biological weapon to repel parasites.
Blooming coffee is something incredible! An abundance of small white flowers with a pleasant fruity smell.
The flowers themselves are bisexual, capable of self-pollination. Coffee fruits ripen within 3-4 months. In the ripened state, these are mainly dark red ellipsoidal berries, under the skin of which grains of a greenish-gray color are located. In each fruit, two seeds usually ripen, but occasionally there is one, but very large. These seeds are called pearl seeds, they are selected separately and valued higher. Such grains are fried more evenly, their taste is thinner. Special connoisseurs of coffee as a drink prefer pearl grains for its preparation.
Coffee beans grown in different countries and in different areas have their own unique characteristics (aroma, coffee strength, taste). The special characteristics of the beans are determined not only by the type of coffee trees, but also by the agricultural technology of growing and environmental conditions. This means that the properties of coffee beans of the same variety can vary significantly from plantation to plantation. Single-origin - this is the name given to coffee, whose homeland is the same locality.
Currently, mostly small-sized coffee trees are cultivated. This is due to the convenience of care and harvesting. Coffee trees prefer light, moderately moist soil, teeming with elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus oxide and potassium carbonate, and raw air. Such conditions contribute to obtaining the most valuable in terms of taste characteristics of the drink.
All types of coffee are divided into pure and mixed.
Mixed are compositions of several types of ground coffee. Mix the grains in order to accentuate the positive characteristics of a particular species, as well as to mask imperfections. When mixing, they try to choose coffee varieties that reveal and complement the taste characteristics of each other. Usually grains with similar tastes are not mixed or, on the contrary, with extremely polar grains. In mixed form contains from two to fifteen varieties of ground grains.
Pure species are varieties containing only one type of coffee bean. These species are named after coffee trees. For example, Brazilian coffee.
The dependence of the strength of coffee beans from roasting
Roasting beans is the first of the important steps in making coffee. Due to the roasting, the grains of coffee trees fully reveal the smell, taste and strength. The stronger the roast, the stronger the drink. Coffee acquires its usual dark brown color during heat treatment due to sucrose, which, under the influence of temperatures, is converted into caramel. Equally, during the roasting process, the structure of the grain itself changes, which helps the essential oils exit.
Types of coffee roasting levels:
A light or Scandinavian level of processing is characterized by a light brown color of coffee beans, a rich, light taste with a pronounced sourness and a delicate pleasant smell. A drink made from lightly roasted beans is perfect for use with cream and milk. The strength of this coffee is small.
Viennese or medium roasting contributes to the coloring of the grains in the saturated colors of milk chocolate, the manifestation of bittersweet with a slight sourness in taste. This drink goes well with milk, just as good it is in itself.
A moderately strong or French roast gives the coffee beans a rich chocolate tint. Each seed is covered with a thin film of essential oils. The taste of coffee after this degree of roasting becomes even more bittersweet and saturated, and the characteristic acidity disappears almost completely.
A strong, or Italian level of roasting paints the grains in a dark brown shade, contributes to the appearance of a thick oily film on the surface of the grains. The taste of this coffee is characterized by bitter, slightly “singed” pleasant shades. The aroma of grain after the Italian way of roasting is made truly luxurious.
Roasting an espresso level is used for beans whose purpose is a coffee drink of the same name. The grain after such roasting becomes black, shiny, very oily. The strength of espresso is the highest. Coffee connoisseurs all over the world prefer this particular drink for its unique deep bitter “charred” taste and thick smell. The grinding of beans for espresso is very thin, as the strength of coffee depends on the grinding equally.
What does the word strong mean for coffee?
A fortress is a concentration of a certain taste (sweet, sour, salty or bitter) or a flavor mixture. Coffee is characterized mainly by a bitter taste. Therefore, the tastier the drink, the more it is considered strong. This opinion is erroneous. The strength (strength) of coffee drinks is determined by the amount of taste buds irritated by it. It follows that the presence of different tastes is necessary in coffee. Drinks made from coffee beans have sweet, sour and bitter taste shades, and there is practically no salty taste in them.
It turns out that the more concentrated the flavoring shades, the stronger the coffee. Of course, the saturation of aroma is an important component of the strength of coffee, as well as the saturation of extractives in solution. The stronger the diluted coffee drink with liquid, the lower its taste fortress. In this case, the amount of extractives will be unchanged. This is how coffee strength is adjusted.
A bit about Robusta
Coffee mixtures containing robusta content or even pure robusta feel the most full-bodied. This is determined by the chemical composition of the grains. They contain special substances that irritate taste receptors most strongly. The caffeine content in robusta reaches almost 5%. Caffeine is a bitter tasting substance, and it accordingly adds bitterness to robusta grains. Also, robusta has the ability to brew faster than arabica. This increases the amount of extractives in the finished drink.
Methods for brewing coffee drinks
In the coffee pot. The easiest way to make a drink, but also the least popular. The brewing principle consists in ordinary pouring with boiling water and insisting of coarsely ground coffee beans. There are also piston or French coffee pots. These are tall glass coffee pots with piston caps.
In turks or cezves. A method invented by the Arabs. The principle of preparation consists in pouring very finely ground coffee beans with cold water and slowly bringing the drink to a boil (but you can’t boil it).
By filtering. This method is used in drip coffee makers. The filtering method consists in filtering one drop of water through ground coffee beans placed in a disposable paper or reusable stationary filter.
In a coffee machine. The method is based on the supply of hot steam under high pressure through a fine coffee floor. The strength of the coffee in the coffee machine is significantly higher, as it is brewed by force under high pressure. Good espresso is quite expensive. This is due to the high cost of coffee machine mechanisms.
In the geyser type coffee maker. The devices consist of three compartments. The bottom is for water, the middle is for coarse coffee beans, and the top is for coffee directly. The brewing principle is based on passing hot water and steam through the grain. An advantage of this brewing method is the absence of coffee grounds in the finished beverage.
A small summary
What determines the strength of coffee:
- From the variety - the higher the caffeine content in the variety, the stronger the drink.
- From the level of roasting - the darker it is, the richer the coffee.
- From the size of the grinding - the finer the grinding, the simpler the coffee gives all the flavor and aromatic substances, which means it is made stronger.
- From the brewing method - the strongest drink is obtained in coffee machines.