Explore the different types of coffee beans & brands
PurelyCoffeeBeans loves the colors of the coffee cherries. They make them look much more like children's candies that the familiar browns that we seen in most roast coffee! But what types of coffee beans can we buy?
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What can I learn about different types of coffee beans?
Click to read each 'chapter' of the story!
- What are the different types of coffee beans?
- What are the differences between Arabica vs. Robusta?
- What coffee is grown in Central America?
- Does coffee grow in the Caribbean? Find out which!
- Where does coffee come from in Latin and South America?
- What coffee is grown in Asia? What coffee grows in the Pacific Islands?
- Where do African & Arabian coffees come from?
- What is the difference between coffee roasts?
- Recommended Reading
What are the different types of coffee beans?
But the diversity of colors represents one of the most amazing facts about coffee - over 50 coffee producing countries produce in excess of 120,000kg (264,000lbs!) of coffee annually each! Brazil annually produces 7.7 billion lbs (or 3.5 billion kgs of coffee), all bagged in 60kg bags.
Moreover, the types of coffee beans we love come in a variety of sizes, shapes, varietals, origins and processing methods! Each variety, type, origin, and processing method combine to shape the particular flavors that we know as coffee! On this page, I'll describe the different types of coffee beans that you can find from around the world. And you can take advantage of this tremendous variety by paying attention to the different coffee beans you buy!
Check off the ones you've tried, write down the ones you'd like to try, and keep some notes for the next time you go to the supermarket or coffee shop. It's sure to make a much easier trip to buy coffee beans next time! You can also read more about what is the best coffee bean as well as how to choose a bag of the best coffee beans to take home.
Types of Coffee Beans: Origin, Varieties and Regions
Actually, this is a bit of misnomer – the coffee bean is actually two (or sometimes three!) beans or seeds that are contained in the ripened 'cherry'. You can see how the previous picture illustrates the ripened coffee cherry from the plant, prior to harvesting. Now compare that with the more familiar image below!
These beans are then removed, cleaned, dried in one of several methods, sorted according to quality and roasted carefully before making whole bean coffee or ground coffee brand.
Where do coffee beans come from?
While there are only two basic types of coffee beans used for the majority of modern coffee, the robusta and the Arabica bean, the growing conditions, locations, and methods actually mean that there is quite a variety of beans available from around the world.
However, these regional variations can be broken down to four basic regions (see below for more details about each region).
- Central America Republics: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala
- Caribbean: Cuba, and Jamaica
- South American Coffee: including Brazil, Colombia, etc.
- Asian Coffee: covers an expanse of countries from Indonesia to Hawaii
- African Coffee: Yemen to Kenyan
What are the differences betweeen Arabica vs. Robusta?
Arabica Coffee Beans are more difficult to grow, but produce better coffees overall. The Arabica coffee beans make Latin American Coffee, as well as coffee in East Africa, Arabia, or even Africa. They are generally considered the champagnes of coffee, for their unique terroir, careful growing, and flavor profiles.
Whereas the Robusta Coffee beans are grown at lower heights and are generally easier to cultivate. You will find they are mostly grown in West or Central Africa, in South East Asia, and in parts of Brazil. Unfortunately, Robusta doesn't have as good a reputation as other types of coffee beans, partly that's due to cost, but also the poorer standards of care in growth, cleaning and packaging have made Robusta the poor man's coffee of choice.
There are a few other types of coffee beans, but none are as common as the Arabica or Robusta. You'll be unlikely to ever drink them in your coffee! FYI, they're called the Coffea Liberica and Coffea Excelsa and they are grown in Asia and parts of Africa.
Country by Country
I'll be adding more pages describing the unique characteristics of each coffee, so do check back and make a bookmark of this page.
'r' represents the regions where the Robusta bean is grown, while 'a' shows the areas where the Arabica is grown. 'm' represents mixed areas.
What coffee is grown in Central America?
Starting off with Central Americas and the Caribbean, you'll find that many of the republics there grow their own coffee beans. Not only that, though, some of the islands in the Caribbean have their own distinctive varieties of coffee.
From Central American coffee to Caribbean coffee, you'll find great coffee drinking from some of the most expensive and/or delicious coffee beans in the world.
Central America also produces some fine Central American beans, and some not so fine. Some names may already be familiar to you, especially Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Mexico. But how about El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Ecuador?
Costa Rica in particular is famous among Central American coffees for its full bodied, robustly rich coffee mostly grown around the capital, San Jose. The four most famous coffees are named after the districts they're grown in — Alajuela, Heredia, San Marcos de Tarrazu, and lastly, Tres Rios. Altitude determines flavor in this country with the best beans growing above 3900 feet.
Guatemala also has some very distinctively flavored coffees. Its central highlands are 4500 feet above sea level, ideal for growing beans with a rich, spicy/smoky flavor. They have a mild and pleasing acidity and medium to full body.
While Mexico produces pleasant, rather ordinary beans that are grown in the mountains of the south. They make a pleasant, flavorful cup of coffee ideal for everyday drinking. When ground for espresso, most Mexican coffee beans make a mildly acidic and very flavorful cup.
You'll also find wonderful coffees from
- El Salvador
Samples of Central American Coffee from Amazon
Does coffee grow in the Caribbean? Find out which!
Coffees of the Caribbean - The Tastes of the Islands
Cuba, Haiti, and Jamaica all cultivate coffee, too; as do many of the smaller islands, like Antigua. But volumes are lower, and prices higher.
The premium beans that constitute Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee which is grown at between 3~5,000 feet are graded into one of five lots. These beans are quite mild in flavor, nor are they bitter.
Because of their scarcity and top quality, prices can be quite expensive. Meaning that the bag of 'blue mountain coffee' on your shelf is, at best, a blend of other South American coffee beans.
Cuba is famous for its specialty 'Cuban coffee', a blend of espresso and sugar that makes a variety of great tasting drinks, but cultivates coffee beans that aren't available in the US markets at the moment.
In fact, Cuba has a long history of growing but in recent years, there has been in decline in production, exports and quality since the revolution.
In Haiti, it's a similar story. But coffee has been cultivated here since at least 1730's. Though the early days of the cultivation exploited slaves and fomented revolution in Haiti, coffee is still grown in Haiti to this day.
In recent years, Haitian Bleu has tried to recreate the quality and fame of Haiti's early coffee days. With a rich and slightly sweet flavor, it's not particularly strong or acidic, yet carries a stronger flavor than say Columbian.
We'll also look at the Dominican Republic, Antigua, St. Lucia, Puerto Rico, and a few of the other smaller islands. I'll also include St. Helena in there, even though it's not a Caribbean island by any stretch of the imagination! So check out the coffee from the Caribbean, you'll be amazed!
Samples from the Coffee Islands from Amazon
Where does coffee come from in Latin America?
Home To Many Types of Coffee Beans
Latin American beans generally comprise coffee from South America, Central America and the Caribbean islands such as Jamaica and Haiti. All of these areas are well known for their mountainous slopes and volcanic soils where coffee farms flourish. And the new craze for organic coffee has benefited these countries significantly.
Latin American coffee can be generally characterized by a light body, medium to sharp acidity and a distinctive bright flavor. They are considered by many connoisseurs to be some of the best coffee you can buy. In South America, the most well-known coffee producer is Brazil; but there are quite a few others with the right conditions for producing coffee of good quality. You will soon be enjoying:
- Columbian Coffee* from Colombia
- Bolivian Coffee
- Brazil Coffee, esp. the Santos is perhaps the most famous.
- Peruvian Coffee
- Venezuela Coffee
- Perhaps even Chile, Paraguay, Guyana, and Easter Island.
Fine Latin American coffee is available to the adventurous coffee drinker from every corner of the continent.
In fact, Latin America offers many wonderful opportunities if you are looking to buy gourmet coffee beans, from Central American republics, such as Costa Rica or Guatemala; from the Caribbean Islands of Jamaica; or from South American Coffee Kings of Colombia or Brazil.
If you've looked into the coffee jar on the shelf, or the bag of coffee beans in the cupboard, you'll likely see that some (or most?) of the beans come from this region of the world. And it's home to arguably the best coffee beans in the whole world.
South America: Top Quality Coffees
South America boasts great Latin American coffee growing areas, including Columbia, Brazil, Venezuela, Peru and Bolivia. The first two names on the list are well known, but after them some other countries also offer delicious and less well-known beans that are worth trying, if you can find them!
Columbia or Colombia? It's all about the coffee!
Most Americans are more familiar with Columbian coffee because of that part of the industry’s intensive media campaign over the years. Columbian beans generally make coffee with a full body, rich flavor and medium acidity.
From the time the trees are planted to when Colombian coffee beans are harvested, there are extensive processing steps and intensive standards. These resulting coffee beans have become recognized throughout the world for the sheer quality.
But there are many, many more regions that grow fine and flavorful Latin American coffee but are less well known than Columbia.
Brazil Blends: Harmony and Flair
Brazil grows many remarkable coffees but the topnotch Bourbon Santos we reckon is its finest offering. Picked in the first four years of growth, the beans are small but full of smooth, rich and moderately acidic flavor.
While Bourbon Santos is the coffee preferred by commercial buyers, there are several other estates that produce superb Brazil coffee. Your taste buds may find the crops of other estates better than Santos; each of us is different so be adventurous and try offerings from several areas.
Venezuela is known for its low acid coffee that is perfect for blends. This is not to say it’s bad coffee -- on the contrary, its light richness and bold body makes it complementary for custom blends. Meridas is considered the best coffee in this Latin American country.
Bolivia produces heavy-bodied, spicy coffee that is quite extraordinary. The beans are grown mostly on small farms that are more than a mile above sea level on steeply pitched slopes. The organic coffee industry is big in Bolivia.
And Peru, too
Peru is another big South American coffee producer, notable for its Chanchamayo mild and light brew that exudes both coffee flavors and aromas. You will often find it used to provide a base coffee selection for other more flavor intense coffees and is blended with darker roasted coffee beans.
In this expansive and detailed (eventually!) look at Coffees from Latin America, we'll definitely come back and add other regions to list of Latin American coffee producing countries. So come on back! Your seat at the counter will be kept just for you!
Samples of South American Coffee
Where do African & Arabian coffees come from?
With a name like Coffea Arabica, it's not difficult to imagine where the coffee bean originated, the Middle East, specifically, Ethiopia. African Coffee has been cultivated there for over 1,000 years, and its consumption in some form may dates back even further. You have 30 seconds. How many African coffee growing countries can you name? ... Time up! Answer at the bottom!
The answer: Many of the finest African coffee beans in the world come from Ethiopia and Kenya in the East to Rwanda where top quality Arabica beans are cultivated to West African countries including Senegal and Cameroon where robusta coffee beans are mostly grown.
We'll look briefly at some of the regions in this article: Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi. Though to be fair, coffee beans from Africa are widely grown throughout the continent, and it grows even wild in many areas.
Harrar, Ghimbi and Yirgacheffe - The Coffees of Ethiopia
Ethiopia has three main regions that produce African coffee beans: Harrar, Ghimbi and Sidamo, or Yirgacheffe. Harrar beans come from small farms and are dry-processed. They are labeled “longberry” for large and “shortberry” for small or Mocha (which is the size of a peaberry).
The Ethiopian coffee has a strong dry edge, wine-like to fruity acidity, a rich aroma and heavy in body. In the best crops, you can smell blueberries or blackberries. You'll often find Ethiopian in espresso blends in order the capture the aromatics in the crema (the thin layer of foam atop an espresso).
Ghimi and Yirgacheffe produce washed coffees. The Ghimbi beans grown in western parts are more balanced, heavier and longer lasting body than the Harrars. The Yirgacheffe coffee bean is the most flavored of all the Ethiopian beans, grown in the southern part of the country. Mild, fruity and aromatic, you may see it labeled Sidamo, which refers to the district where it is grown and harvested.
Shade Grown Coffee in Uganda
Uganda produces mostly Robusta beans that are typically used in instant coffees but the Arabica beans it does produce are similar to Kenyan coffee. The best Ugandan coffee comes from the western slopes of Mt. Elgon called Bugishu.
Robusta has been in Uganda for centuries and wild varieties of it still grow in Uganda’s rain forests. Both Robusta and Arabica trees are grown in the shade of banana trees and harvested about twice a year. 300,000 farmers grow coffee, which makes up 95% of the country’s exports.
Ugandan farmers grow mostly Robusta since it is easier for farmers with little money for equipment and none to hire help. The more well-off farmers can afford to farm Arabica, which is more work and more expensive but also pays off better. Ugandan Arabica is of medium intensity, sweet with a hint of the rustic, has a good body that is husky yet clean and makes an interesting espresso.
Kenya: Small Cooperatives
(image: Gloria Jeans' Kenya Roast Coffee)
Kenya coffee has a distinctly bright acidity and is sweet with a dry wine aftertaste. Their best has a black-currant flavor and aroma. Auctions are held in Nairobi each Tuesday during the harvest season, leading to price wars for the best crops.
Most are produced by small cooperatives instead of large estates, wet-processed and graded by size of the bean. Kenyan coffee is acidic (possessing bright notes) and brightens the palate. Depending on which farm it came from it has a berry or citrus flavor alternating sometimes with spice. Some are bright and clean while others have the wine-like flavor.
Kenya has produced a disease resistant hybrid called Ruiru 11 but it lacks some of the best flavor characteristics of the traditional coffee and is considered low grade. They are still developing this bean, hoping to make it as good as the natural crop.
Tanzania, Malawi and others
Tanzanian is similar to Kenyan but lacks its consistency and quality. Most is grown on Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Meru, is wet-processed and graded using the same letter system as the rest of African coffee. A good Tanzania batch will be bright and aggressive in flavor.
Unfortunately, coffee sent from Tanzania can be inconsistent; the beans "steam" in shipping containers on the way to port. This is called "aging". Depending on the length and conditions of the journey, one batch might be very disappointing or mediocre while another might be excellent.
Malawi is a small country between Mozambique and Zambia in southeastern Africa. Its coffee is smooth and full bodied, a real treat to the palate. Very little of it reaches the Western hemisphere so if you see some you should seize the opportunity to taste it. You'll note that it is softer and more floral in the style of East Africa and is sweet, delicate and bright.
Many other countries produce coffee beans in Africa, but whether due to crop sizes, bean quality, economic conditions, export restrictions, etc. we don't usually see much of it work its way into our cafes. Pay attention to Burundi, Congo, and Zimbabwe (if they ever fix their economy!).
Keep a lookout for African coffee in your market!
Still, it's worth keeping an eye out for if you're interested in single bean varieties of African coffee. Otherwise you might find that it's included as multi-varietal or even some of the multi-region blends that you already drink. More's the pity.
Now the answer!
However, there are so many types of coffee beans grown in a number of places in both Africa and Arabia, including:
- Ethiopia Coffee (where it all started!)
- Kenya Coffee
- Rwanda Coffee
- Yemen Coffee
What coffee is grown in Asia? What coffee grows in the Pacific Islands?
With high mountains in many tropical and semi-tropical areas, you'd guess that the many types of coffee beans grow really well in Asia Pacific and you'd be right.
Grown and consumed in many Asian countries, coffee has become a very popular, if distinctive, alternative to tea. From Indonesia to Hawaii, each country has developed a unique take on coffee as its population has taken up the habit.
- Hawaiian Kona Coffee
- Indonesian coffee beans: for its Java coffee, Sumatra Coffee, and the regions of Bali, Flores, Sulawesi, and Timor
- Indian coffee: Mysore or Monsoon beans
- Papua New Guinea
- even Australia grows its own!
Asian Coffee: Sumatra, Java and a whole lot more
We don't normally think of Asian coffee, instead believing that much of Asia comprises tea-drinking nations, steeped in tradition and ceremony. But I was surprised on reading that World Atlas notes three of the top ten coffee producing nations are located in Asia: India (#7), Indonesia(#4), and Vietnam(2).
There are a number of other countries that also produce large crops of Asian Coffee, including Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Togo, Philippines, and even China grows a little coffee. So it seems that coffee beans from Asia are not just coming, ... they're already here! They are making their presence felt in the coffee cups of the entire world.
Today, we will look at the top four producers of Asian Coffee. Many parts of the Asian world are very choosy about their coffee and have, arguably, the best coffee shops in the world. There are also many farms that grow beans famous for their light acidity, full body, delicious aroma and earthy flavor.
Low acid, dark roasts
In general you will find that Asian Coffee is low in acidity with bold, strong body. These coffee beans are popular with people who love coffee and habitually drink it black to get every bit of flavor from it.
The roasts are usually dark to very dark and the flavors are very different from other parts of the world—powerful and robust with a smooth, earthy tone and yet some impart a sweet and flowery essence that is difficult to describe but incredibly delectable.
So let's take a look at some of the Asian coffee producing countries. The Arabica coffee bean trees flourish in most of Southeast Asia because of the perfect combination of heat, humidity, rainfall and rich, fertile soil.
It's hard to miss the importance of Indonesia these days as a coffee producing country. It was placed as the fourth largest producer in the world. And you'll find the Indonesian beans making their way into the hearts of coffee lovers everywhere.
The beans produced in Sumatra and Java are perhaps the best known, but you can add many other regions to the list, including Sulawesi. So what makes these regions the darlings of sensitive coffee drinkers worldwide? Well...
The flavor, acidity, aroma and level of caffeine are influenced by several factors. Soil conditions are important and the rich, volcanic soil of Indonesia is particularly friendly to coffee trees.
Elevation, of course, affects the beans and so does the amount of shade or sunlight that they get. The method of harvesting, processing and how the beans are roasted also contribute to the body, flavor and aroma of the coffee.
Most people are already well familiar with two of the names on the Indonesian list: Sumatra and Java. You can easily find these coffees in your local roasters. But there are a couple more that may interest, even surprise, you:
Sumatra coffee offers drinkers a notable body and rich coffee. Perhaps you'll be able to detect hints of chocolate-rich flavors in your cup, too. It's those factors that keep Sumatra a popular bean with lots of appeal.
Java coffee also grows perhaps the most exquisite Arabica beans at very high elevations, making picking difficult, to say the least! You can try some of the wet-processed coffee beans that originate from the former Dutch estates. These embody the delicious fragrance and flavors of top quality Indonesian coffee.
The last of the triumvirate of Indonesian coffee is Sulawesi known for a low-acidity coffee with a well-developed body. You'll find these beans in popular specialist stores nationwide, even if you can't find it in the supermarket.
And even Bali coffee grows, picks and sells their own coffee beans. The growing conditions in Bali favor a milder coffee with a lighter body, too.
India is a major Asian coffee producing nation, though most of the coffee is used for its internal consumption. Occasionally, you'll see a specialty coffee though in limited quantities. Unique in its cultivation of coffee, India grows almost all of its coffee under shade. These coffee are mild with reasonable acidity levels, a full-bodied taste and a delicious aroma.
While the majority of its coffee is Robusta, Arabica beans are also cultivated in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Robusta is grown in both of these states, and also in Kerala State. While India is currently (2010) Asia's largest coffee exporter and sells most of its coffee crop abroad, somehow only a small amount goes to the US.
India has some unique coffees because of the way the beans are aged, fermented and processed before roasting. But for international drinkers, there are some rare beans grown and harvesting in the gold mining region in the southwest part of the country called Mysore Gold Nugget beans, smooth light body flavor and taste.
One of the most popular ways to drink Indian coffee is known as the Indian filter coffee method. This is created from mixing Indian coffee beans with chicory just prior to making the coffee.
The device appears similar to a Moka Pot but it is much stronger, and is often drunk in diluted form with hot milk (similar to Latte) with added sugar. The coffee appears frothy by virtue of the unique pouring technique. Check out my post on the Indian coffee.
Papua New Guinea
Lying right next to Indonesia is Papua New Guinea (PNG) which is a much more recent entrant to the Asian coffee market. Most coffee grown in PNG is tens of thousands of small, village coffee gardens which producing 70% of the nations exported crop.
These farmers tend to grow organically certified beans. But quality can be erratic at times, and perhaps that's why they don't travel well and often arrive in Europe and North America in less than optimal condition. But when the beans are in top condition, they are excellent with deep and vibrant tones.
The remainder of the crop is produced by estate coffee farmers which use modern techniques for processing the crop. The estates do manage to produce more consistent beans and can be rated from 'pleasant' to 'outstanding'. Somehow, they manage to make their way to the North American market where their quality is appreciated and priced accordingly.
Look for beans from Sigri which are from the Western Highlands Province. There are estate coffees also from the Eastern Highlands Province. We'd love to see all coffee beans from PNG reach these standards, and the local Coffee Boards are working hard to improve standards.
Lastly, we'll look at Asian Coffee from Vietnam which is a drip filter type preparation, introduced by the French and adapted by the Vietnamese to their own recipes. The effects of the Vietnam war devastated much of the economy, including the Coffee industry.
But cultivation is restarting, and the flurry of new restaurants in other parts of Asia is helping popularize the Vietnamese way of drinking coffee. The grounds usually quite coarse are placed in a simple metal filter. And hot water is poured over the grounds.
The coffee drips slowly into the bottom of the cup where there is condensed milk (the Vietnamese solution to tropical temperatures!) to sweeten and add milk. This is all done at your table.
Typically, the coffee used is medium roasted, ground coarsely and locally grown. The main bean grown here is the Robusta from the South, which is a suitable choice because it's relatively easier to grow. There is interested in cultivating Arabica beans in the North, too. I'll be looking forward to trying some of the Arabica blends that they grow in the future.
There are other Indonesian islands that regularly produce coffee beans, including Timor, New Caledonia, but you will also find coffee from the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and even Australia. So Asian coffee is surprisingly diverse, but largely unrecognized in the West for both its variety and its quality. Go look in your local coffee emporium for some of the finer blends available.
I can't promise you'll always like the either Asian flavors of coffee or Asian methods of making coffee, some of them are too sweet for my taste buds! But you will find that they can adapt to popular preparation methods in the US and Europe! It is well worth seeking out some beans and treating yourself to some unforgettable coffee!
What is the difference between coffee roasts?
To all intents and purposes, the different types of coffee beans you are buying are all roasted, not green. If you're just buying coffee beans for the first time, you'll likely be confused by the different coffee roasts available on the market.
In general, you can break the levels of roasted coffee beans into four broad categories (pictured from left to right; top to bottom)
- light roast,
- medium roast,
- dark roast, and
- double roasts.
Each of the roasts provides both a different color of coffee bean, a different flavor, and a different kind of coffee in your cup. It's important that you understand both how coffee is roasted and what kind of roasted coffee bean you prefer when you buy. Why?
Because if you buy a roast that you don't like, such as the recent Rwandan Coffee that I loved, but my colleagues didn't... you'll have a whole bag of coffee to deal with. - DON'T tell me you threw it away!
Light Roasted Coffee Beans
Though there are four different basic roasts, it's quite likely you're most familiar with the light roast such as cinnamon roast, half city roast which larger coffee retailers usually use. You may also see the words 'city roast' or 'New England' roast. In fact, this is a very popular roasting grade in the US marketplace, so popular coffee brands tend to roast to this level.
If you look at the roasted coffee, you will see that the surface looks dry not oily, and the flavor will be lighter with more of the flavor of the actual coffee beans themselves. Without that roast flavor, it may not be suitable for drinks with lots of milk, such as lattes.
Acidity levels tend to be higher, too. This roast level also suits beans Kona or Java or even Blue Mountain beans because it retains the character flavors of the beans themselves. Lighter roasts also tend to be more popular in America.
The Medium Roasted Coffee Bean
A medium roast means that the beans have been roasted a little longer and at a higher temperature than light roast. This offers drinkers much more of a body and can be found in blends like your morning breakfast blend or American-style or even some regular coffees.
You'll also see terms used like 'Full City', 'American', 'regular', 'breakfast' or even 'brown roast'. This is a level of roasting that many specialty sellers seem to use more, so you'll see many brands that pronounce themselves as 'medium roast'. There is a range of tolerance for this, so you may find that some coffee beans are a different shade, perhaps darker or lighter than you're used to.
The surface of the bean will still look dry, though the flavor may seem 'sweeter' with a more noticeable body and complexity in the cup. I have used the term 'smooth' to describe some of my favorite medium roast Colombian coffee, such as Millstone Coffee.
The Dark Roasted Coffee Bean
A dark roast takes the roasting a further stage as oils rise up, drinkers will notice more body and a stronger aroma from the roasting process rather than the beans.
This is typically roasted to the 'second cracking', and provides a much heavier body and feel. You may characterize it as 'strong' (though that has nothing to do with the amount of caffeine) or even spicy.
Other terms used to describe this include 'full roast', and you will find that it is typically associated with roasts like Italian or Espresso Roast, Viennese or Continental Roast.
In the roasting process, the surface of the roasted coffee bean will begin to show a lightly shiny or oily surface. It has a pronounced 'sheen'. These are the oils being released from the coffee bean which help to flavor the coffee.
The Final Stage: The Double Roast
The French Roast is the final stage of roasting and is often referred to as a double roast. You'll notice it by its smoky flavor and intense flavor. The original flavor of the beans may be absent totally. Perhaps this roast is used in blends where inferior beans are combined with better quality beans.
In the roasting process, you may even see smoke from the beans because the sugars in the beans are beginning to turn to carbon. The surface of the bean becomes very oily; and flavors tend to be intense, even overpowering to some coffee drinkers. Even experienced coffee experts may have difficulty isolating the properties of the original beans in these roasts.
Tips After Roasting
After the roasting process is stopped, the beans are typically cooled gently and many machines allow for the agitation of the beans to prevent heat building up inside and continuing the roasting process.
Once cooled, the roasted coffee bean will emit a significant amount of carbon dioxide, and its best flavors aren't immediately available. You will need a little patience if you are roasting at home.
For those purchasing coffee in the stores, make sure that the types of coffee beans you are buying have been properly packed (either in unripped vacuum packs or with pressure relief valves in the bag).
One final point to note: ...
if you want to buy freshly roasted coffee, the flavor will deteriorate so you'll need to buy beans that have been roasted not too long ago or too far away to get the best flavors. Good coffee bean storage will help, but it doesn't stop the rapid deterioration of flavors once peak quality has been reached.
There are types of coffee beans from other areas outside of the areas mentioned here, so if I missed one that you particularly like, drop me a line! I'd also love to hear from you, if you think that some of my selections from Amazon didn't suit you, even though hundreds or thousands of people have given their own reviews! I'd love to hear what was wrong with the products you bought!
Now last pop quiz question.
What two types of coffee beans did we omit?
Answer at the bottom of the page.
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Answer: Liberica and Excelsa coffee beans (we'll cover those soon)!