What Gives Coffee Its Flavor?

Ever wonder why the various roasts and blends of coffee taste so very differently from one another? Some coffees, like Organo Gold, whose rich, full flavor comes from roasted Arabica coffee beans are perfect for that morning cup; while others taste sharp or bitter, and are not pleasing. Some of these flavor differences are due to the unique character of the beans. The way the coffee plant was grown and how the beans were processed, also has a great effect upon the flavor. There are two types of beans used to make coffee today: Arabica and Robusta.

Arabica coffee beans

Over two-thirds of the world’s coffee beans produced are Arabica, which are usually grown at higher altitudes in tropical or sub-tropical climates. Before roasting, Arabica beans have a sweet smell, reminiscent of blueberries. Generally, these beans are the most flavorful and produce the best coffee.

Robusta coffee beans

These beans contain about twice as much caffeine as Arabica beans, and they often have a bitter, woody, burnt rubber taste. The plants are hardy, disease resistant and produce a larger crop than the Arabica. Robusta beans are used in the cheaper, super-market blends. When you take time to read the labels on coffee packages, you’ll find robusta beans in Italian roasts and espresso blends. When brewed, this bean produces the frothy layer on top of the cup which is called “crema”.


Growing Factors that Affect Coffee’s Flavor

  • Elevation
  • Type of soil
    • Limestone, volcanic ash with pumice or clay, acidic soil
  • Climate
    • Temperature
    • Humidity
    • Amount of rainfall
  • Care of the crop
    • Was it raised organically?
    • Did the plants grow in the shade?
    • Were chemical fertilizers used?
    • Were pesticides used?

Methods of harvesting

The harvesting of the coffee beans, which are called “cherries”, affects their taste, which you’ll notice in your cup of java. If the fully ripened cherries are hand-picked, their flavor will be full-bodied and mellow. Mechanical picking simply strips the cherries from the coffee plants, harvesting both under-ripened yellow and green berries along with the ripe, red cherries. This produces an inferior coffee with a sharp, unpleasant taste. When over-ripe, black cherries are added to the blend, the result is a bitter, strong brew.

As you try different coffees, blends, and roasts, you’ll learn to identify various tastes and flavors, and you’re bound to develop an appreciation of rich, delicious Organo Gold.


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