Coffee TypesThe most desirable coffee is grown in altitudes about 3000 feet. The altitude produces more elegant, complex flavors in the coffee cherries which contain the beans. The fruit must be hand-picked from trees which can bear flowers, green fruit, and ripe cherries all at the same time.
The outer pulp and parchment of the coffee cherry are removed to reveal two beans, which are then cleaned, dried, graded and hand-inspected. The beans range in color from pale green to dark yellow when raw. They are exported in their raw state for roasting, blending and grinding at their final destination. Most commercial companies use primarily C. robusta and C. arabica in their blends.
American (regular) roast: beans are medium-roasted, resulting in a moderate brew, not too light or too heavy in flavor.
French roast and dark French roast: heavily-roasted beans, a deep chocolate brown which produce a stronger coffee.
Italian roast: glossy, brown-black, strongly flavored, used for espresso.
European roast: two-thirds heavy-roast beans blended with one-third regular-roast.
Viennese roast: one-third heavy-roast beans blended with two-thirds regular-roast.
Instant coffee: a powder made of heat-dried freshly brewed coffee.
Freeze-dried coffee: brewed coffee that has been frozen into a slush before the water is evaporated, normally more expensive that instants but with a superior flavor.
Decaffeinated coffee: caffeine is removed from the beans before roasting via the use of a chemical solvent (which disappears completely when the beans are roasted) or the Swiss water process which steams the beans and then scrapes off the caffeine-laden outer layers.
More About Coffee and Cooking: Coffee Storage and Cooking Tips
What is espresso / expresso? FAQ
Coffee Photo © 2006 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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