Which beans are best?
This is a tough question to answer given that coffee flavours and aromas are very much a personal experience and depends on each individual’s preference.
There are however, some important factors to consider when you are looking for a good single origin or a blend.
Arabica or Robusta
Of the two main species grown, arabica coffee (from C. arabica) is generally more highly regarded than robusta coffee (from C. canephora); robusta tends to be bitter and have less flavor but better body than arabica. For these reasons, about three-quarters of coffee cultivated worldwide is C. arabica. Robusta strains also contain about 40–50% more caffeine than arabica. For this reason, it is used as an inexpensive substitute for arabica in many commercial coffee blends. Good quality robusta seeds are used in traditional Italian espresso blends to provide a full-bodied taste and a better foam head (known as crema).
Single Origin- lower caffeine
Single-origin coffee is coffee grown within a single known geographical origin. Sometimes this is a single farm, or a specific collection of beans from a single country. The name of the coffee is then usually the place it was grown to whatever degree available. Single-origins are viewed by some as a way to get a specific taste, and some independent coffee shops have found that this gives them a way to add value over large chains.
Estate coffees are a specific type of single-origin coffee. They are generally grown on a single farm, which might range in size from a few acres to large plantations occupying many square miles, or a collection of farms which all process their coffee at the same mill.
Micro-lot coffees are another type of specific single-origin coffee from a single field on a farm, a small range of altitude, and specific day of harvest.
Glenmore Coffee buys green beans which are imported from a variety of places including Africa,the Yemen, Indonesia, central America and South America.
Blending cofee is done for a number of reasons. Firstly various single origins Arabica beans will bring a strength to the profile of a cup for example a thicker body or higher acidity or flavour. These beans will be blended with other single origin beans to bring a fuller Arabica bean all-round. Some coffee packagers will mix robusta beans with arabica beans to increase the caffeine levels, to increase crema and to reduce overall price (as Robusta is generally much cheaper).