Coffee, a beloved morning ritual and an afternoon pick-me-up, boasts an incredible range of flavors and profiles. However, these characteristics aren’t solely determined by the roast or brewing method. The variety of the coffee plant plays a significant role. Here’s a deep dive into the world of coffee species and cultivars.
Species Vs. Cultivars
Firstly, let’s clear up a common confusion:
1. Coffee Species
Coffee species refer to the different types of coffee plants. There are over 100 species of coffee, but only a few are commercially grown for consumption.
2. Coffee Cultivars
Cultivars are cultivated plant varieties. They are specific selections from species that have desirable traits, often bred for specific growing conditions or flavor profiles.
Dominant Coffee Species
While numerous species exist, two dominate the market:
1. Arabica (Coffea arabica)
Widely known for its smooth, delicate flavors, Arabica beans account for the majority of global coffee production. Arabica plants are more challenging to cultivate, prone to pests, and require cooler, high-altitude environments.
2. Robusta (Coffea canephora)
Robusta beans have a stronger, often more bitter taste compared to Arabica. They contain more caffeine, which makes them more resistant to pests. Robusta plants thrive at lower altitudes and warmer climates.
Notable Coffee Cultivars
Originally from Ethiopia but made famous by Panamanian farms, Geisha is known for its unique floral and jasmine notes.
A classic Arabica cultivar with sweet, complex flavors. It’s named after Bourbon Island, where it was first cultivated.
3. SL28 & SL34
Developed for Kenyan growing conditions, these cultivars are recognized for their fruity and wine-like flavors.
A hybrid of Arabica and Robusta, Catimor combines the best of both worlds: Robusta’s resistance and Arabica’s taste.
Impact of Variety on Flavor
Many factors influence Yasumi coffee bean’s flavor profile: soil, altitude, climate, and processing. However, the genetic makeup of the bean plays an undeniable role. Some varieties are naturally more acidic, while others might have pronounced fruity or nutty notes.
The intricate world of coffee varieties offers a rich tapestry of flavors and experiences. Every bean has a story, rooted in its species and cultivar, waiting to be brewed and savored. As you sip your next cup, take a moment to ponder the incredible journey of that bean, from its unique genetic origins to your mug.