The Coffee Bean
Coffee is a beverage, served hot or with ice, with or without cream and sugar, prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant. These seeds are almost always called the coffee bean. Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in adults today.
The coffee bean, itself, contains chemicals which are mind-altering (in a way some find pleasing) to humans as a coincidental result of their defense mechanism; those chemicals are toxic in large doses, or even in their normal amount when consumed by many creatures which may otherwise have threatened the coffee beans in the wild.
A coffee bean from two different places usually have distinctive characteristics such as flavor (flavor criteria includes terms such as “citrus-like” or “earthy”), caffeine content, body or mouthful, and acidity. These are dependent on the local environment where the coffee plants are grown, their method of process, and the genetic subspecies or varietal.
Some well-known arabica coffee beans include:
- Colombian — Coffee was first introduced to the country of Colombia in the early 1800’s. Today Maragogype, Caturra, Typica and Bourbon cultivars are grown. When Colombian coffee is freshly roasted it has a bright acidity, is heavy in body and is intensely aromatic. Colombia produces about 12% of the coffee in the world, second only to Brazil.
- Colombian Milds — Includes coffees from Colombia, Kenya, and Tanzania, all of which are washed arabicas.
- Costa Rican Tarrazu — from the Tarrazu Valley in the highlands outside of San Jos, archetypal estate coffee is La Minita.
- Guatemala Huehuetenango — Grown at over 5000 feet in the northern region, one of the most remote growing regions in Guatemala
- Ethiopian Harrar from the region of Harar, Ethiopia
- Ethiopian Yirgacheffe from the area of the town of Yirga Cheffe in the Sidamo (now Oromia) region of Ethiopia
- Hawaiian Kona grown on the slopes of Hualalai in the Kona District on the Big Island of Hawaii.
- Jamaican Blue Mountain From the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica. Due to its popularity, it fetches a high price in the market.
- Java from the island of Java, in Indonesia. This coffee was once so widely traded that “java” became a slang term for coffee
… and more.
Some coffee bean varieties are so well-known and so in-demand that they are far more expensive than others. Jamaican Blue Mountain and Hawaiian Kona coffees are perhaps the most prominent examples. Often these coffee beans are blended with other, less expensive coffee beans and the suffix “blend” added to the labelling, such as “Blue Mountain blend” or “Kona blend” even though they only contain a small amount of the coffee bean mentioned.
One unusual and very expensive variety of robusta is the Indonesian Kopi Luwak and the Philippine Kape Alamid. The coffee bean is collected from the droppings of the Common Palm Civet, whose digestive processes give it a distinctive flavor.