Enter your info below to receive a free copy of our newsletter with new arrivals and special offers:
Coffee is usually propagated by seeds that are raised in nurseries and then planted outside at six to twelve months. Coffee is often intercropped with food crops, such as corn, beans, or rice, during the first few years of cultivation.
Of the two main species grown, arabica coffee (from C. arabica) is generally more highly regarded than robusta coffee (from C. canephora); robusta tends to be bitter and have less flavor but better body than arabica. For these reasons, about three-quarters of coffee cultivated worldwide is C. arabica. However, C. canephora is less susceptible to disease than C. arabica and can be cultivated in lower altitudes and warmer climates where C. arabica will not thrive.
Robusta coffee also contains about 40–50% more caffeine than arabica. For this reason, it is used as an inexpensive substitute for arabica in many commercial coffee blends. Good quality robusta beans are used in some espresso blends to provide a full-bodied taste, a better foam head known as crema, and to lower the ingredient cost.
Arabica coffee beans are cultivated in Latin America, eastern Africa, Arabia, or Asia. Robusta coffee beans are grown in western and central Africa, throughout southeast Asia, and to some extent in Brazil. Beans from different countries or regions can usually be distinguished by differences in flavor, aroma, body, or acidity. These taste characteristics are dependent not only on the coffee's growing region, but also on genetic subspecies (varietals) and processing. Varietals are generally known by the region in which they are grown, such as Colombian,Java or Kona.