There are two main species of bean, arabica and robusta. Both thrive in equatorial regions.
Robusta is grown at lower altitudes, 0 to 700 metres, and has a high yield per plant and high caffeine content (1.7 to 4.0%). It accounts for about 30% of world production. Robusta has a stronger flavour than arabica with a full body and a woody aftertaste which is useful in creating blends and especially useful in instant coffee.
Robusta is mainly grown in the following regions:
- Western and Central Africa (Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Uganda, Angola, etc.)
- Malaysia (Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Sumatra, Java, etc.)
Arabica grows at higher altitudes, 1000 to 2000 metres, and while it has a lower yield and less caffeine content. (0.8 to 1.4%) It is widely recognised to be superior to robusta. Arabica accounts for about 70% of world production, although only about 10% of this yields “grand cru” beans. Arabica has a delicate acidic flavour, a refined aroma and a caramel aftertaste.
Arabica is mainly grown in the following regions:
- Central America (Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama)
- South America (Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina)
- Eastern Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique)
- Papua New Guinea
Many of the cheaper blends have a higher proportion of robusta compared to arabica. Some high quality blends use a small quantity of the very best robusta beans to give body and character to the blends, particularly in espresso blends.
Traditionally this is a single 1oz shot of coffee made with 7g of finely ground coffee extracted at between 18 and 25 seconds. The espresso shot forms the basic ingredient for many of our well known coffee recipes and a few less well known! Here is a small selection for you to try:
- Americano (american) – An espresso shot diluted to taste with hot water.
- Romano (roman) – Espresso shot served with a twist of lemon.
- Corretto (correct, proper) – Espresso shot with grappa.
- Doppio (double) – A double shot of espresso.
- Lungo (long) – An espresso which is made by extracting about 1.5oz of water through 7g of coffee. The texture is thinner but it contains a greater amount of caffeine.
- Ristretto (restricted) – A more concentrated espresso, normally of only about 0.75oz, made by restricting the extraction time. This maximises the flavour of the coffee and minimises the caffeine.
- Macchiato (marked, spotted) – A shot or two of espresso with just a spot of frothed milk on top.
- Iced Espresso – A double shot of espresso over crushed ice.
A standard cappuccino is one part espresso with about three parts of frothed milk.
Much milkier than a cappuccino. One part espresso with at least five parts steamed (hot) milk and only a small amount of froth on top.
Cafe Latte Fredo
Espresso mixed with cold milk in the same proportions as a Cafe Latte shaken vigorously with ice in a cocktail shaker.
One part espresso with one part chocolate syrup and two or three parts of frothed milk, optionally topped with
Espresso con Panna
One shot of espresso topped with a small amount of whipped cream.
One shot of espresso mixed with a teaspoon of soft brown sugar and a splash of brandy, frozen, then crushed and served in a parfait glass with whipped cream.