Coffee beans are the seeds of the coffee “cherry”; two seeds normally grow within each cherry and are found on coffee plants. The outer layers must be removed before roasting.
Arabica and robusta
All coffee beans come from plants in the genus Coffea. Although there are thousands of species of plants within this genus, with tremendous variance in size and shape, only two are of commercial importance: Coffea arabica, and Coffea canephora, the latter more commonly called robusta, after a prime variety. A third species, Coffea liberica has found some localized production in Liberia, but it is of minor significance in the global market.
The taste of arabica beans differ between varieties and growing regions–the same variety grown in different parts of the world will taste different.
- Ethiopian beans often have blueberry taste notes
- Indian and Indonesian beans are typically earthy
- Beans from central America tend to have chocolate undertones