Although it may seem like there are endless types of different coffee beans, most people tend to use only a couple different types which are produced using different methods all over the world. If you are searching for the most popular types of coffee beans, we have narrowed down your search into simple categories so that you can understand what makes each type of coffee worth mentioning.
Coffee bean varieties
Although there over 100 different types of coffee beans, most of the coffee beans that you will find in the world today are either Arabica or Robusta due to their higher popularity when compared to other types. In some cases, you can also make coffee which is brewed using a mixture of these types of beans.
Robusta coffee tends to have higher caffeine levels than Arabica, but also lower levels of lipids and sugars. People who like coffee with extra caffeine usually prefer Robusta coffee beans as a result. Robusta beans tend to be cheaper than the Arabica because they are easier to produce, with higher yields and resistance to insects.
Robusta coffee is very popular in Vietnam, which is one of the world’s leading coffee exporters, falling short of the booming Brazilian market. Robusta coffee is produced in higher quantities in countries like Vietnam, India, and Indonesia.
Due to its higher levels of lipids and sugars, many people prefer Arabica coffee for its superior taste. However, we can’t generalize Arabica coffee as a whole, being better tasting. Top-shelf Robusta coffee can taste better than Arabica in many cases, which can, of course, be subject to personal opinion and taste.
Most of the world’s coffee is Arabica due to the thriving coffee market preference for beans from South America, which exports more Arabica coffee than the rest of the world. Brazil and Colombia are the top producers of Arabica coffee in the world.
Arabica is also more expensive due to nature of production which hasn’t changed in decades. So why do you pay more for a divine taste of Arabica coffee? It must be grown in high altitudes and it’s still harvested by hand hence the limited amount of these beans on the market and as result higher prices.
There are different methods by which coffee is processed. It can determine the quality of the final product. In any case, the processing method varies and it’s usually based on the producer’s preference. Here are the popular methods of processing.
To describe this in simple terms, wet processing involves placing coffee beans in water for several reasons. Firstly, the raw coffee beans can be sorted by quality using this process. Beans that are unripe tend to float in water, whereas the ripe ones sink.
Secondly, the pulp that clings to the natural coffee bean will fall off during this process, which makes the bean one step closer to use. Many of the top companies will use machines to eliminate the need for extra human labor during this part of the process.
Dry processing works essentially opposite to the wet process. To dry process coffee beans, the fruit is placed in the heat until it dries and the brown-black skin can be picked off to take the green coffee bean that is inside to roast and then sell.
Dry processing is very easy in places that have plenty of heat, but it can be less effective at determining which seeds are ripe and which ones aren’t. As a result, it is more common to find lesser quality coffee that is dry processed. This isn’t to say that all dry processed coffee beans are of lesser quality, though.
Semi-dry processing is the newest form of bean processing and is accomplished using a combination of wet and dry methods. In most cases, a machine is used to dampen and grind off the skin of the coffee fruit. Then, the excess plant fluid is either taken off or left on the bean and then placed out to dry.
Most of the world’s coffee is produced in Latin American and Asian countries, with the exception of Ethiopia. As stated, Asian countries like Vietnam, India, and Indonesia produce higher amounts of Robusta coffee beans. If you are looking for Arabica coffee, you are best searching for a coffee that comes from Latin American countries like Colombia or Brazil.
Image source: The Ohio State University
Roasting is usually done at the shipping destination and is not where the coffee beans are grown and exported. As a result, the method of roasting can vary depending on the location and who is selling your coffee. Roasting is the process which eventually gives coffee its flavor and aroma. Here are some of the most popular ways to roast.
Light roast coffee contains the highest amount of caffeine and is roasted the shortest amount of time before being sold. Usually, the beans will crack or pop during the roasting process, which signals when the light roast process is finished. Beans are typically never heated past the first crack with this method and end with a light brown color.
Medium roasted beans are the best option for people who want optimal flavor and aroma. The medium roast is done when the second crack occurs during the roasting process. However, due to the longer roasting time, this roast has slightly lower levels of caffeine than lightly roasted beans. Medium roasted beans can be characterized by a brown color.
Dark roasted beans can be easily noticed by their dark brown-black color. They have the lowest levels of caffeine and the bitter taste that most people will simply be offset with cream and sugar. Dark roast coffee beans are widely used for espresso and are heated to the second crack and beyond to extreme temperatures before they are cooled and ready to use.
World’s most popular type of coffee bean
As you can now see, determining which coffee bean is most popular is subject to many variables during the growing and production process. Most coffee beans that are used in the world’s market are Arabica beans, but when you factor in the processing and roasting methods it can be difficult to narrow down our search to one specific type of coffee bean. Just use your taste buds and experiment with different methods of making a perfect cup of Joe.