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Everything you need to know about espresso beans


Contrary to popular belief, espresso is not a specific type of bean. When many people see the word "espresso" written on the coffee bag, it means that the roaster recommends that espresso brewing as the method that gives the best results with the coffee bean. Generally speaking, any type of coffee bean can be used for any brewing method.

Types of coffee beans

Coffee beans come in different shapes, sizes, caffeine content, region and processing before roasting. However, the coffee bean can be divided into two different types; Arabica and Robusta. OK so there are two different types but which one is the best? Many say that Arabica is higher quality and has better taste but taste is something that is abstract and is entirely up to you what you think. Below we have written the differences between Arabica vs Robusta beans

  • Arabica - Historically, many have held the view that Arabica is better quality and has more flavour. Arabica needs to be grown at higher altitudes, in more favourable climates and is more difficult to grow. Compared to Robusta, Arabica has lower acidity, caffeine content and generally has smoother and more complex flavours. Lightly roasted Arabica can produce fruity, floral and sweet notes.

  • Robusta - Many have opined that Robusta is a bean type that has lower quality compared to Arabica but has its advantage in that it can grow in under wider conditions from high to low altitudes, different climates and is more enduring to the weather. Robusta contains higher levels of caffeine (almost twice as much) and has higher acidity, giving it a flavour profile that can be perceived as more astringent. Around 40% of all coffee grown in the world is Robusta beans.

Where does the coffee come from?

Usually coffee is named after the region where it comes from. The flavors from the coffee will also reflect the region where it comes from. Generally, coffee comes from these three regions, South and Central America, Africa and Southeast Asia which are regions that are close to the equator. Coffee plantations need rich and fertile soil, mild temperature, frequent rain and protection from the sun and high altitude to grow.

The best coffee beans grow between 600 and 1850 metres above sea level. This is because the higher the altitude, the less oxygen is available, which in turn can slow down the growing process. The longer the growing process, the more time the coffee has to mature and form complex flavours. When roasters write on the bag the altitude at which the coffee was grown, it indicates how intense the coffee's flavours can be.

If you see that roasters write that the beans have notes of chocolate, caramel and blueberry, it means that with proper brewing you can get such flavors without adding anything. Brewing espresso and being able to sense these specific notes can be difficult and take you to learn. You are always working towards the natural bitterness and acidity that comes with coffee. The art is to be able to get a balance between bitterness and acidity to bring out the good notes from the coffee by following the recommendations above and trying it out.

What does roast profile mean and how does it affect the taste of the coffee?

There is no set standard on how dark or light the coffee must be roasted. However, the level of roast can drastically change the density of the coffee beans, how easily the coffee can be extracted and how you need to adjust your brewing to the bean's characteristics. The longer the bean is roasted, the more the bean will lose its structure and become drier and thus will have a darker roast profile. For those who brew espresso, need to focus on the following aspects; brewing temperature, the degree of grind i.e. how finely or coarsely you grind your beans and last but not least the ratio of water to coffee. Below this article under the comments section we have shared three different espresso brewing methods for the three different types of roast profiles as well as

our recommended espresso beans for each roast type. This is a general recommendation and will be able to help you on your way.

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About light rust

Sincelightly roastedcoffee has a shorter roasting time, they have a higher density and thus it is more difficult to extract all the aromas, flavors and texture from the coffee. To counteract these difficulties, you need to brew with higher brewing temperatures, grind finer and longer brewing times. We recommend starting with a ratio of 1: 2 to 1: 3 between coffee and water, brewing temperature of between 93 to 96 degrees with a degree of grinding that allows you to achieve a brewing time of between 28 to 34 seconds.

About medium rust

For medium rustwe can recommend a ratio of 1: 1.5 to 1: 2.5, brewing temperature of around 93 degrees and a degree of grinding that allows you to brew in 25 to 30 seconds.

About dark rust

For dark roastedbeans, we would recommend starting with a ratio of 1: 1 to 1: 2, slightly lower brewing temperature of 90.5 to 93 degrees with a degree of grinding that allows you a brewing time of 25 to 30 seconds. Just because there is dark rust on the bag does not mean that you get the best result by following punk and dot according to our recommendation, but is a good start to experiment until the best result for your beans.

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