WHAT IS COFFEE?
“Coffee traces its origin to a genus of plants known as Coffea. Within the genus there are over 500 genera and 6,000 species of tropical trees and shrubs. Experts estimate that there are anywhere from 25 to 100 species of coffee plants….
They can be small shrubs to tall trees with leaves from one to 16 inches in size, and in colors from purple or yellow to the predominant dark green. In the commercial coffee industry, there are two important coffee species — Arabica and Robusta.”
BOURBON - low yield, high quality; susceptible to diseases and pests. Noted for their sweet flavor profile. Native to Burundi, Rwanda, and Latin America.
TYPICA - low yield, high quality; susceptible to rust and pests. Noted for their clarity and sweet acidity. Native to America, Jamaica, and Asia. Credit: Anthony Auger for Caravela Coffee 3
GESHA (GEISHA) - Grows best at high altitudes, is low-yielding, and can be delicate. It has a distinctive profile: tea-like with a jasmine aroma, orange blossom and bergamot notes, and delicate florals. Originated from the village of Gesha, Ethiopia;made famous by producers in Panamain 2003.
CATURRA - A bourbon mutation; a dwarf tree with average yield, quality, and bean size. Susceptible to rust and pests. Noted for its sweetness and low-to-medium body. Most commonly grown in Braziland Latin America.
PACAMARA - A natural mutation of Bourbon, short with tight internodes and denser foliage. High resistance to disease, high yields. Noted for complex aromas, medium to dense bodies, creamy textures, elegant acidity, and notes that swing from sweet to fruitier. Originated in El Salvador, but due to their adaptability are now common all over the coffee belt.
This covers only a handful of the more commonly regarded varieties and hybrids.
TRADITIONAL PROCESSING METHODS
WASHED COFFEES - The washed process relies solely on the bean itself. While other processing methods rely on flavors in the surrounding pulp, the washed process depends on the natural sugars the bean has absorbed during its life cycle. Washed coffees are known for their clarity in the cup.
HONEY COFFEES-The honey process is a cross between the two methods, and originated out of Costa Rica. Remnants of the cherry mucilage are left on the bean for the drying process, and is closely monitored and cleaned off at precisely the right time. Honey processed coffees are noted for their round acidity, intense sweetness, and complex mouthfeel.
NATURAL (DRY) COFFEES- This process originated with producers in Ethiopia. The fruit is left on the bean and dried. While viewed as a more low-quality or inconsistent method, when done right, the flavors found in the cherry transfer into an incredibly flavorful and unique cup of coffee.