There are thousands of coffee varieties out there but only two stand out in quality and drive the economics of the industry, the Arabica and the Robusta or Coffee Arabica and Coffee Robusta if you like.
60% of the world’s coffee is the Arabica coffee cultivated mainly in South America while the Robusta coffee, cultivated mainly in Africa and Asia accounts for the remaining 40%.
Which Is Better?
Most of the coffee world stand by the Arabica and the numbers prove this, but that doesn’t mean the Coffee Robusta isn’t one to check out.
Years of effective marketing by Arabica manufacturers is partly responsible for this disparity, so phrases like 100% Arabica will drive sales and the dirty bitter Robusta marketing sticks.
The true picture tells the real story though, different farming, harvesting, processing and roasting techniques do influence the final quality and flavor of your coffee.
It’s not surprising also that the areas that dominate Robusta coffee cultivation are countries with poor mechanization of agricultural activities so these factors can be influenced by that.
Also, a lot of the bitter Robusta taste isn’t from the bean itself but from industry standards that allow the Robusta to have a lot of black and sour beans with other defects.
These standards are different for Arabica so you’ll find many high-quality products and few premium Robusta products.
The Robusta can also be called the coffee canephora and there are many differences between it and the Arabica.
Origin and Distribution
Robusta has been considered the ugly version of the Arabica for a while but research has proven that Arabica is actually a mutant form of Robusta.
Crossing of coffee euginoides with Robusta produced Arabica.
Arabica and Robusta blends are quite common in the market and the reason for this is simple, it’s more expensive to grow Arabica so a lot of roasters will add Robusta to reduce the price and make more profit.
That’s why 100% Arabica is a thing because it’s targeted at those who won’t mind paying more for the sweeter coffee.
The Coffee Plant
The average coffee can be pruned to about 5ft tall, this enables hand-picking which is the most efficient method of separating the ripe from the unripe ones.
Robusta can get up to 40ft in height while the Arabica at its peak will only manage 14ft.
Robusta will produce more yield than its counterpart and can be identified as the smaller of the two with its straight crease that cuts through the midpoint.
Robusta coffee beans have on average 83% more caffeine than arabica beans.
This difference in caffeine content influences the taste. The more caffeinated Robusta is famous for its rubber-like taste while the Arabica which has less than half the caffeine content is the tasty coffee bean.
There’s also a higher lipid and sugar content on Arabica.
All coffee plants survive best in mild climates with very little temperature changes. Vulnerability increases mainly with a decrease in temperature so very cool temperatures will kill off large populations faster.
Anything within the 20-30°C range can be considered as optimum temperature for Robusta and 15-25°C is fine for Arabica. 2000-3000mm rainfall is perfect for the former while 1500-2500mm rainfall is the range for the latter.
Arabica grows at altitudes of 900-2000m and has very little resistance to pest and diseases so preventive practices are emphasized during cultivation while altitudes of 0-900m are perfect for Robusta and it offers more resistance to pest and diseases.
Robusta’s higher caffeine serves as a chemical barrier to coffee-attacking bugs as they produce a bitter taste that drives them away.
Chlorogenic acid content is another factor in pest resistance, Robusta has a higher quantity of this.
There you have it, every important detail you need to know about two of the most popular coffee species in the market. You can try either of them or a blend of both if you like.
Cascara is one of those shiny new words in the coffee industry today but if you’ve been following the trends for years now, you’ll know it’s already been a thing in Africa, the Middle East and some parts of South America.
Its popularity has only been on the rise recently in America and many countries in Europe. Many large coffee chains are beginning to include cascara recipes in their menus and that has contributed to the spike in interest.
Cascara, and we’re not talking about Cascara Sagrada, the drug used as a laxative here, it’s the Coffee Cherry Tea used in brewing the Yemeni Qishr as it’s known in Yemen.
Cascara is Spanish for skin so the coffee here is made but not with the bean. The beans are processed through a wet or dry method after harvesting, each will produce its skin or Cascara.
The husks were previously used as fertilizers or compost by farmers after separating them from the beans.
They’re cheaper than whole coffee beans and farmers who process them now make more money selling the entire package than when it was just coffee beans.
They’re completely healthy to eat and are a rich source of antioxidants which help in preventing injury to your body tissues.
When cascara is left out to dry as a form of processing, dry cascara is produced. The dry processing method is usually not used because it takes a lot of time to complete but if you’re ready to wait it out it can be an ideal option.
The coffee skins or husks as they’re called dry alongside the bean when they’re left to dry. The husks and beans are separated after dry processing is completed to get cascara.
The coffee has to be wet for wet processing to occur. This is done by soaking the beans in water and waiting for the skins to go off by fermentation or active scrubbing.
The husks are easier to get off when they’re wet but that’s just one step of the process. The wet husks are then gathered and dried with special attention given to preventing the growth of molds.
Molds in a few husks can quickly spread and destroy entire batches.
The cascara gotten during wet processing is whole with little fragments so this method is usually favored over dry-processed cascara. This is because in wet processing the husks are squeezed and not beaten as in dry cascara.
Tea or Coffee?
There’s some argument over the appropriate term to use with cascara since it’s gotten from coffee but brewed in the same way you’ll do tea.
Well, cascara is not tea. Tea comes from the plant Camellia Sinensis and this isn’t a component of cascara.
It does contain about a quarter to an eight of caffeine found in coffee but it’s not coffee either because the beans aren’t being used. Cascara is simply a by-product of coffee and it’s okay if it has that category to itself.
How To Brew
You’ll need a tea strainer, cascara and water at just below boiling point to brew.
Put 18-20g of cascara into a tea strainer. Add 300g of water at 200°F. Steep like tea for 4 minutes like tea, strain and your cascara brew is ready.
You can experiment with this recipe by tweaking the water content in your drink as even experienced baristas are far from getting the perfect water to cascara ratio and steeping time.
You’ll get a sweet, fruity brew so you’ll enjoy your drink. Cascara herbal tea and syrup are other recipes you can try with those husks.
So cascara is the drink made by brewing as you’ll do with tea, coffee husks. It doesn’t have as much caffeine content so if you’re looking to reduce your caffeine intake that’s a drink you should try.
There are many trends in the coffee industry no one can actually point to their origins, they just seem to take a life of their own and start getting entire conferences dedicated to them. Today we’re going to look further at nitro coffee.
Cold brew coffee, coffee cocktails, and their different recipes and now nitro coffee. Nitro is actually a type of cold brew coffee infused with nitrogen gas which gives it its characteristic taste and flavor.
Adding gas to drinks to increase shelf life and improve taste is nothing new by the way, Coca-Cola’s been doing it for ages, carbon dioxide (CO2) is responsible for the fizzy sound you hear every time you open a bottle.
Nitrogen is a tasteless and odorless gas so I guess you’ll be wondering what it’s doing in a Nitro coffee drink.
Remember the bubbles produced and carbon that escapes when you open an average soda drink? Nitrogen makes it even better, especially for coffee lovers.
Infused nitrogen will increase the amount of foam in your brew, so it does the work of whipped cream without you adding any to the coffee, and it even gets better if you actually add cream.
If you’ve ever seen the foam produced by a bottle of Guinness when it’s turned into a tumbler it should give you an idea.
Yes, Guinness beers are infused with nitrogen gas and are called nitrogenated just like it’s done for the “carbonated” soda drinks.
How To Serve
You can choose to have your Nitro cold brew fresh or served in a can but there are still different ways to serve each of them.
It’s actually difficult to infuse nitrogen gas into any liquid at all so the coffee is usually served on tap. Nitrogen is poorly soluble in water so a specialized equipment is used to force the gas at high pressure into the coffee.
This is a very technical step in the brewing process so yes you’ll need this equipment and some amount of practice to perfect brewing this on your own.
Vanilla syrup and whipped cream are the common tasty extras but you can go as far as including cinnamon, nutmeg, chocolate and mint in yours.
A Few Things About The Nitro Coffee
It’s a cold brew so quite popular among people who are on a fitness plan because it’s less acidic than regular coffee so easier to digest and faster to move through the bowels.
The canned nitro contains mainly the healthy unsaturated fats so will fit perfectly into any weight loss plan though you might want to watch the higher caffeine content since it uses less water than regular coffee.
The beverage is available in many coffee shops with very little difference in taste because it has more to do with the method than it has with the technique so any barista with the equipment will produce very similar results.
What Equipment Do You Need?
Standard equipment used in brewing the Nitro coffee make is quite expensive, complete sets start at $200 but there are alternatives you can use.
You can buy a whipped cream dispenser, look for the variant with a Nitro pressure pump. You’ll use the Nitro part to infuse nitrogen into the coffee.
Cold Brew Nitro Coffee – Ingredients & Instructions
Ingredients include 220ml strong coffee and 780ml water or milk if you choose to produce 1L of cold brew coffee.
The method depends on the equipment in use, each will have its own instructions but generally, the liquid is forced through tiny holes to get the gas in, the coffee gets better if smaller nitrogen bubbles outnumber the larger ones.
Nitro coffee is quite new among coffee lovers, you can make one yourself or get a can from the store to try it out, this post can help you with that.
Many people will like to know how long the food they just bought is going to last, if you’re a coffee lover, when your coffee will go bad is one question you’ll like answered.
The shelf life of your coffee will depend on so many factors, when they were bought, the expiry date on the pack and how they’re stored are just some of them.
How To Store Coffee
Coffee can be stored in different states, coffee beans, grounds, and brewed coffee. Each of them has their methods of storage so you have to look at that when making a decision on how to store.
The coffee brewing process occurs by oxidation, so the coffee releases its aroma and flavor into the water which you drink.
If this process occurs outside brewing, you’ll contaminate your coffee and reduce its shelf life, that’s why knowledge of storage is important.
The stale smell and taste you get in bad coffee are caused by the reduction in acidity caused by the reaction. Most coffee beans and grounds are between slightly and greatly acidic.
How To Store Coffee Beans
How long do coffee beans stay fresh? Coffee beans when kept in an airtight bag will last for years, it won’t be strange to get a delicious coffee stored in the right conditions even after five years.
Roasted coffee however, should be used by the third week after roasting as it will generally lose its freshness after that so use this as a guide if you need to know how long do roasted coffee beans last.
Coffee beans can get exposed to air, moisture, heat, and light so proper storage devices will protect your beans from these.
When you buy freshly roasted beans, its flavor is still quite strong at that point and you should store them at room temperature in airtight containers.
Keep the container away from sunlight or other sources of light so you should use an opaque container.
Your cupboard shouldn’t be close to the area where you cook or do anything that generates heat so you don’t transmit heat to the coffee beans.
If you care about preserving the flavor of your coffee beans, then buy in batches and not in bulk. You don’t need to buy coffee beans for the whole year in one day.
You can also freeze your beans but you need to do this with great care. Coffee beans are hygroscopic, meaning it can absorb moisture from the air when exposed to it.
The moisture, when absorbed, can alter the coffee’s flavor and aroma. If you’re going to be freezing your coffee, use an airtight container that makes it easy for you to get your coffee beans out.
Try to remove as much as you need for a week and store in a separate container so vapor from the freezer doesn’t condense on the beans each time you take it out.
How To Store Coffee Grounds
Storage of coffee grounds is a bit similar to the storage of coffee beans. You don’t want it to absorb moisture from the atmosphere and you will also prevent it from losing moisture as that will expel the flavor.
Freezing ground coffee doesn’t cut it anymore so you should vacuum-seal and freeze it. It’s best to do this with your ground coffee in a foodsaver bag.
If you don’t need to store the grounds for a long time (anything above two weeks) then there’s no need to freeze, just turn the grounds from its original pack into a foodsaver bag, vacuum-seal it and store at a low temperature.
Use an airtight container, preferably made of glass or ceramic (so it doesn’t alter your flavor) for such short-storage coffee grounds.
The importance of vacuum-sealing is that it prevents moisture from seeping into your grounds from the freezer.
Defrost the grounds properly by allowing to return to room temperature whenever you’re ready to brew.
How To Store Brewed Coffee
Storing brewed coffee is a different thing entirely and it all starts on the burner or whatever coffee maker you’re using.
Don’t leave your coffee heating even after brewing is complete, it makes it get sour faster. Transfer it immediately to an insulated flask, any basic thermos flask should do.
This is better than leaving it to cool and reheating again, it makes it lose its flavor faster.
You can also empty the coffee into a glass container and store in the fridge.
Use different glasses spanning a week for this so you can transfer the glass you’ll be drinking in the morning into the refrigerator the night before.
Don’t brew your coffee and store with milk embedded in it, milk is usually the first ingredient to expire and this will spoil the entire drink.
Brew the coffee and add milk and other toppings separately each time you want to drink.
How To Tell If Coffee Is Bad?
Safe ways of detecting bad coffee are by looking at and smelling the coffee. You shouldn’t taste to confirm because of the risk of food poisoning.
Good coffee will look the same whether it’s a day old or a year old but there’ll be a marked difference in the aroma as the older coffee will lose some of its flavors over time.
If there are any signs of a mold developing, throw it away. Once the coffee starts giving off a stale smell, that’s another sign.
When drinking coffee that’s spoiled, you may get an unusual sharp sensation at the sides of your tongue. That doesn’t mean you’ll get sick from that drink but it’s a pointer that toxic substances are being released.
Most coffee beans or grounds that you get from a store will come with an expiry date but proper storage should extend this date by three to six months.
How To Use Extra Before And When Your Coffee Is Getting Bad
No, your coffee won’t last forever, use all the sophisticated storage techniques available, it’s still going to get bad someday.
If you still have a lot in store left when or just before it goes bad, there are other things you can do with your coffee apart from drinking it.
Do you see molds on your grounds? Then they’re perfect for compost in the soil as they’ll attract important bacteria. You can also use grounds in coating stained wood.
Get a tray and make coffee ice cubes. If you’re a fan of iced cocktails, you’ll be needing a lot of coffee cubes. You can also use them in cake, and there are lots of recipes for you to try.
While coffee can go bad, nobody likes to drink stale coffee, use the tips in this post to keep your coffee fresh and even use extra when there’s nothing you can do to keep it from going bad.