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Coffee Friends know that the tastiest coffee is prepared using freshly ground coffee beans. This is why, if you want to enjoy great coffee at home, we suggest buying coffee beans and grinding them separately for each cup of coffee. Coffee beans in the “Coffee Friend” assortment represent carefully selected flavours that can pleasantly surprise even the pickiest coffee connoisseurs.
Arabica and robusta: how are they different?
Nowadays, the coffee market is dominated by two main — and, to be fair, the most popular — coffee varieties: arabica and robusta. These varieties differ not only in shape, but also in the amount of caffeine and flavour characteristics. Let’s discuss these differences in more detail.
Arabica coffee beans:
These coffee beans are characterised by an oblong shape and a curved groove in the middle. The flavour of arabica coffee beans is milder than that of robusta: it is dominated by fruitiness, sweetness, a hint of acidity can also be felt. Coffee made from these beans has less caffeine. Besides, arabica coffee beans are recommended for the preparation of filter coffee.
More than one coffee consisting of 100% arabica coffee beans can be found in our assortment. These include the “Caprissimo Professional” coffee produced by “Coffee Friend”, the “Café Liégeois” coffee, the “Parallel” coffee series, as well as all of the specialty coffee products – “Ethiopia Burtukaana”, “Guatemala La Hermosa”, “Kenya Kariru”…
Robusta coffee beans:
The groove found in the middle of these coffee beans is straight, while the flavour of such coffee is much more intense than the taste of arabica. Coffee made from these beans has twice as much caffeine and its taste can have a hint of grain. To tell you the truth, you won’t find 100% robusta in our assortment. These coffee beans are encountered more frequently in blends, together with arabica, hence creating a balance of flavours that is suited perfectly for milk-based coffee drinks.
Robusta and arabica coffee blends in our assortment: “Espresso”, “Belgique” and “Fragrante” coffee beans of our clients’ favourite “Caprissimo” coffee series, created by “Coffee Friend”.
Specialty coffee: what is it?
In the assortment of coffee beans picked out by “Coffee Friend”, you’ll find not only arabica and robusta blends or 100% arabica, but also a wide variety of carefully selected specialty coffee brands. However, before revealing what products you can find on our ever-expanding specialty coffee shelf, we’re going to tell you what specialty coffee really is and why it is called like that.
This name is given to coffee beans that have a certificate issued by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). This document is received by coffee farmers who ensure cultivation, harvesting and processing of coffee beans that are all of the highest quality. The result of their efforts is perfectly balanced flavours and aromas. Such coffee beans are always properly-shaped, dry and fragrant. The category of specialty coffee includes only those products that score more than 80 evaluation points in total. For example, the “Ethiopia Burtukaana” coffee beans found in our assortment scored 88 points, while “Kenya Kariru” scored 87,5 points.
Limited edition specialty coffee
Some of these specialty coffee beans are exceptional. They grow only in a particular region and are characterised by a modest harvest and flavour that cannot be confused with anything else. The supply of such coffee is extremely small, yet the demand is huge. This applies to the Jamaican “Blue Mountain” coffee, which is sold at “Coffee Friend” too. This coffee grows only in the Jamaican Blue Mountain region, no lower than at 910 metres above sea level. Due to unique climate conditions and exceptional soil, these coffee beans have a singular taste and aroma, which make it a favourite among coffee connoisseurs.
Special delicacy in the world of coffee
These are the Kopi Luwak coffee beans. This coffee variety originates from Indonesia and is famous for its unique origin story. The Kopi Luwak coffee beans are collected from the faeces of palm civets. Afterwards, they are thoroughly cleaned, washed and processed using traditional coffee processing methods. Even though such coffee processing is highly unusual, it gives the drink a singular flavour. Due to the natural fermentation in the gastrointestinal tract of a civet, coffee loses its bitterness and its taste becomes exceptionally rich. Notes of soil, wild jungle, nuts and chocolate can be felt in the aroma of Kopi Luwak. This limited edition, particularly rare coffee variety is one of the most expensive products found in our assortment. Attempts to counterfeit this coffee are pretty frequent. The real Kopi Luwak coffee always has certificates that authenticate its origin. You can find this coffee in the coffee assortment of “Coffee Friend”.
Impact of the coffee cultivation region on the drink’s taste
It is said that the best conditions for coffee cultivation are found along the equator, so the number of countries with coffee plantations is extremely limited. This part of the world is known as “the coffee belt”. Nevertheless, local coffee farmers always consider the properties of soil and climate, and choose plant species that give the largest yield. You might be surprised by this, but there are as many as 150 arabica coffee varieties in the world, while robusta varieties amount to around 50. This is why coffee grown in each separate region has different flavours and aromas. Here are a few examples of different coffee beans cultivated in separate parts of the world:
Coffee beans cultivated in this region are characterised by subtle, fruity acidity. The taste of coffee grown in Guatemala contains the acidity of apples, while coffee grown in Mexico reveals a more distinct cherry acidity. In the flavour of coffee cultivated in Central America, you can also detect the sweetness of brown sugar, as well as delicate notes of chocolate or baked goods. This coffee has one of the most balanced aromas in the whole world.
Those who want to try coffee grown in Central America and experience the difference for themselves should look for these names in our assortment: Caprissimo “Belgique”, Mokito “Bianco”, “Parallel 36”, “Guatemala La Hermosa”, “El Salvador Santa Petrona”, “Nicaragua Maragogype”.
Coffee beans grown in South America are special because of their sweet acidity and a distinct taste of caramel. Hints of nuts can also be detected in their flavour. These coffee tasting notes are particularly valued by the connoisseurs of the coffee world. After all, it is no accident that coffee beans grown in Brazil are considered to represent the standard of classic coffee taste.
Those who want to try coffee grown in South American plantations should look for these names in our assortment: Café Liégeois “Magnifico”, Goat Story “Colombia La Marianela”, Café Natura “Espresso”, Red Beans “Gold Label Organic”.
Coffee beans grown in Africa are fruitier, so their flavour reveals a more distinct acidity than that which can be found in American coffee. Coffee grown in this region is characterised by a rich aroma of sweet berries or citrus fruit, as well as flowers. These aromas depend on the method of coffee processing. Ethiopia in particular is renowned not only for the variety of its coffee trees, but also for its numerous coffee processing methods. We’ll talk more about this later on.
Those who want to sip coffee grown and processed in Africa right at home should look for these names in our assortment: “Parallel 12”, “DR Congo Kivu”, “Ethiopia Yirgacheffe”, “Ethiopia Shakisso”, “Ethiopia Burtukaana”, Café Liégeois “Bella Roma”, Café Liégeois “Kivu”.
It is said that coffee grown in Asia is “the heaviest”. This coffee is dark, distinguished by long-lasting aftertaste. Notes of dark chocolate and various spices prevail in its flavour, while those who have well-trained taste buds can even feel subtle aromas of soil and wood. To those who want to know the coffee of this region better, Coffee Friends recommend choosing beans grown in the Sumatra region. These coffee beans are processed in a special way, so the prepared drink reveals distinct hints of sugar, cinnamon and caramel.
Those who want to experience the flavour of true Asian coffee should look for these names in our assortment: “Parallel 17”, “Indonesia Kopi Luwak”, “Papua New Guinea Sigri”, “Indonesia Sumatra”, Café Liégeois “Venezia Corsato”.
Coffee bean processing: how does it affect the drink’s taste?
We’ve already mentioned that bean processing methods have a huge impact on the flavour of coffee. The two main coffee processing methods are natural processing and wet processing. Below, you can read more about the differences of these methods and features of taste and aroma revealed in processed coffee.
1. Natural coffee processing method
When coffee is processed using the natural method, the berry surrounding the coffee bean is dried before extracting the bean. Coffee processed in this way retains more sugar, so it is sweeter and its “body” is thicker.
2. Wet coffee processing method
When coffee is processed using the wet method, the berry is stripped off the coffee bean in the 12 hours after its plucking. Afterwards, it is placed in a water tank. Coffee processed in this way has a “clean” taste, so it is easier to identify the main tasting notes. Wet-processed coffee is usually fruitier and there’s more acidity in its taste.
Impact of roasting on the flavour of coffee: from light to dark
Coffee Friends want to remind you that when choosing coffee, it’s important to know that the roast level of coffee beans has a huge impact on their taste. This component of bean processing can help reveal various flavours, balance them or… ruin them completely. Below, you can read more about which flavours are unveiled by different roast levels and how coffee differs depending on its roast:
This is an extremely light roast, which helps to accentuate the natural coffee taste. Light-roasted coffee unveils the flavours that come from nature, so its taste is fruitier than that of other, darker-roasted drinks.
These light-roasted coffee beans can be found in our assortment: Goat Story “Colombia La Marianela” and “Kosta Rika Las Lajas Alma Nera”.
This roast level is used most frequently when producing coffee blends, but it is also encountered in specialty coffee beans. Medium-roasted coffee has a sweeter taste, so both lovers of black coffee and drinkers of dessert milk-based beverages like it.
These medium-roasted coffee beans can be found in our assortment: “Parallel 36”, Mokito “Bianco”, “Parallel 12”, “Parallel 17”, Café Liégeois “Mano Mano”, as well as pretty much all specialty coffee beans.
These coffee beans have been heavily roasted and are distinguished by their rich, dark colour and a slight shimmer. Be careful not to confuse them with oily and over-roasted beans. A thin layer of caramel coats the outside of a dark-roasted coffee bean, while over-roasted beans become oily and acquire a bitter smell, which is incompatible with high-quality roasting. Dark-roasted coffee beans are characterised by a rich, chocolatey bitterness, so they’re frequently used in Italian or French coffee blends.
These coffee beans in our assortment have been dark-roasted: Caprissimo “Espresso”, “DR Congo Kivu”, Café Liégeois “Mano Mano Puissant”.
Good coffee must be fresh
Coffee Friends always recommend choosing coffee beans rather than pre-ground coffee for your homemade drinks. This is not often emphasised, but pre-ground coffee expires more quickly, while a faster oxidation process causes it to lose its aroma and flavour within a shorter period of time. This is why we always say that the best coffee is coffee that has been ground freshly and separately for each cup. Automatic coffee machines use the same principle, so those who want to enjoy high-quality and delicious coffee right at home should do the exact same.
You should ground your chosen coffee beans with the help of a special electric grinder or a manual coffee mill. Freshly ground coffee always has a richer scent, so your home will be filled with a pleasant aroma of freshly ground coffee.
Clients’ favourites and our recommendations
Has all of the information about coffee beans still left you undecided? Here are some of the beans that our clients have already fallen in love with:
* Caprissimo “Fragrante” coffee beans;
* Caprissimo “Belgique” coffee beans;
* Café Liégeois “Magnifico” coffee beans;
* “Indonesia Sumatra” coffee beans;
* “Nicaragua Maragogype” coffee beans.
Discover a myriad of coffee flavours and enjoy them daily right at home.
How many coffee cups can be made from 1kg of coffee beans?
One coffee portion is usually made from 8 to 12 g of coffee, so taking the average, from 1 kg approximately 100 cups of coffee can be made. This calculation can differ according to the chosen coffee strength, i.e. grounded coffee amount.
Does the roasting affect the coffee taste?
When choosing coffee we recommend to pay attention to the roast levels. This bean processing step is very important and can either reveal and balance the flavors or ruin them. Choose lightly roasted coffee if you want to try the real taste from nature. Usually, light roasts are made from high quality beans, for the purpose of highlighting and bringing out its all finest qualities. Medium roasts are very popular in blends, when the goal is to balance the taste of different types or beans that are grown in different regions. Dark roasting can result in a dark color and chocolaty bitterness, that is why it is especially suitable for italian, belgian, french type coffee blends. Though, dark roasts should not be mistaken with burnt coffee beans. Very oily and pungent coffee beans have nothing in common with high quality dark roasts. This type of product can be found at a very low price, however their taste will not be as pleasant.
How does the coffee origin impact coffee?
It is important to mention that the best conditions for growing coffee are near the equator, that is why the number of countries where you can find coffee plantations - is very limited. This area is called the “Coffee Belt”. However, due to the soil and climate peculiarities, local farmers tend to choose the most yield giving plant varieties (there are about 150 Arabica types in the world, Robusta - about 50). Due to this reason, coffee in each region is very different. For instance, coffee originated from different American regions tends to have a fairly universal taste. The majority of them have little sourness (fruitiness), the dominant flavors are nutty, it is possible to feel slight bitterness, flower aromas. It is also important to mention that the majority of the whole world coffee is grown in Brazil, that is why the coffee from there is considered to be a classic taste standard. Coffee that is grown in African regions is more fruity, its flavor can have a softer or stronger acidity. This coffee is medium intensity and is especially liked by coffee experts. The richest flavored coffee of this region is often from Ethiopia, so to get acquainted with this region's flavors choose coffee from this country. Meanwhile the coffee that is grown in Asia is usually the “heaviest”. When this coffee is made it has a dark, intense color, and the aftertaste can be felt for a long time. Dominant notes - chocolate, spices, and can even have soil or wood aromas. For example, coffee grown in Sumatra region due to its region of origin, as well as special local processing has almost no acidity. Brown sugar, cinnamon and caramel can be felt in this type of coffee. If you prefer a classic coffee taste - coffee grown in Sumatra can become your starting point in the journey of getting acquainted with quality coffee.
How to identify high quality coffee?
The highest quality coffee is usually lightly roasted. Consequently, its color tones will always be light brown. High quality beans will be in a classical form, healthy, without any significant damages. The aroma will always be pleasant and resemble natural, in nature existing scents - flowers, fruits, wood, soil. Whereas low quality beans are oily, can have dampness, mold scent. Burnt beans are also identified as a low quality coffee. They have a pungent taste not only after opening the package, but also after making the coffee. Only in low quality coffee bitterness and unpleasant sourness can be felt at the same time. This, during processing developed sourness, has nothing to do with the fruity lime, raspberry, cranberry or other fruits and berries sourness.
What makes specialty coffee beans exceptional?
Coffee beans that are certified by the American coffee association are called Specialty coffee. This document is granted for those coffee bean producers that ensure high-quality coffee bean growth, crop harvesting, processing, and in the end result in well-balanced flavors and aromas. This type of coffee beans will always have the proper shape, will be dry (not oily), fragrant. This coffee category includes only the coffee that has a score of more than 80 points. For example, “Ethiopia Burtukaana” is evaluated by 88 points, and “Kenya Kariru“ – 87,5. Specialty coffee can also be a limited edition, in special conditions grown, collected, and processed coffee. One of these types of coffee “Kivu” is unique in a way that it is grown only near Kivu lake, in the democratic republic of the Congo. Another coffee that stands out with its extraordinary growing location is called “Blue mountain”. Its coffee bean bushes grow in a mountainous area, that is why their crop harvesting is extremely difficult. Moreover, the “blue” mountain status is only given to the coffee that grows 910 m and higher above sea level. Growing in these conditions, this coffee stands out with its exceptional taste and is highly appreciated by the coffee enthusiasts. Because of its unique way of processing the coffee beans, “Kopi Luwak“ is considered to be one of the most expensive coffee in the world. This coffee cares more about fair and animal abuse free trade certificates, than any other quality validations. Thus, even without the highest evaluation, “Kopi Luwak” is referred to as a specialty, limited edition coffee.
What is Arabica and Robusta?
Both Arabica and Robusta are coffee bean types. Arabica coffee beans tend to have a more intensive flavor, fruitiness, and have a naturally sweet taste. Whereas Robusta coffee beans are more bitter and have up to 2 times more caffeine. Due to high caffeine levels, harmful pests tend to avoid damaging Robusta beans, thus it is easier to grow them. Arabica coffee is particularly popular. However, now more often than before Robusta is being added to coffee bean blends. If properly balanced, these two coffee bean types can create a great coffee, filled with roasted caramel or black chocolate bitterness flavor, dark color, and a beverage that goes especially well with milk.
How to choose coffee beans?
To find your favorite coffee, you should ask yourself this question - which coffee do I find to be the tastiest? Do you prefer light, but fruity sourness or strong, maybe a bit bitter taste? Or maybe you prefer just a good and simple cup of black coffee? Or will you drink it with milk? It is important to mention, that coffee flavor is influenced by a couple of factors:
- COFFEE BEANS TYPE: Arabica is softer, a bit sweeter, more fragrant. Whereas blends with Robusta are more bitter, harsher, and have more caffeine in it.
- COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Depending on the country of origin, dominant flavors and aromas can differ in coffee.
- ROASTING: Light roasts help to preserve the natural coffee flavor - soft fruitiness, fragrance, and light brown coffee bean tones. The higher the coffee bean roasting level gets, the darker, stronger, and more bitter the coffee flavor gets.
What is Cold Brew Coffee?
Cold brew - cold brewed coffee. The ground coffee is prepared by pouring cold water and leaving it to mature for several hours. It can be prepared by yourself without the use of any devices: we pour coarsely ground quality coffee with cold water (in the ratio 1: 5, and if we want to prepare the dilutable concentrate - in the ratio 1: 2). We leave for several hours to mature in a cool place. After that we knock out the thick and we can enjoy it for even a few weeks. If we don’t want to “play with the thicken,” we can purchase a special Cold Brew coffee tool.
Cold brew coffee is especially popular during the warm season because it is extremely fresh, tonic (high in caffeine) and sweet. It is especially tasty to drink just like that, seasoned with ice cream. Cold brew concentrate is also used to flavor desserts.
Caffeine: What kind of coffee does have the most of it?
Most caffeine is found in robust coffee beans - twice as much as in arabica beans. Therefore, a blend that includes robusta, or 100% robusta coffee, or instant coffee (which is mostly made from robusta) will have more caffeine than 100% arabica coffee.
The amount of caffeine also depends on the method of coffee preparation. Caffeine is soluble in water, so the longer the coffee to water ratio, the more caffeine there will be in the coffee. So comparing a small cup of espresso to a cup of coffee in which water was simply poured on ground coffee, the adviser will have more caffeine. Although in the sense of taste it may turn out the other way around.
Which coffee beans are best suited for automatic coffee machines?
All coffee beans, except flavored ones, are suitable for use in automatic coffee machines because they damage the mill itself. And then it all just depends on individual taste. Just keep in mind that lighter roasted beans, which are more designed for filter coffee preparation, can be much higher quality when prepared through an automatic espresso machine. However, it would be better to choose medium or dark roasted coffee beans to make the taste more pleasant. Some coffee makers even state on the package that the coffee is roasted specifically for espresso coffee machines or automatic coffee machines.