1. Choose by coffee bean variety
Arabica and Robusta beans are the most common commercial coffee bean varieties. Most ground coffee is made from Arabica beans, but some are blended with a certain percentage of Robusta beans or crosses such as Catim. In contrast, most instant coffee and ready-to-drink coffee drinks are made from Robusta beans.
There are very significant differences in flavor between coffee beans, so it is crucial to know where it comes from and what variety it is when choosing. Generally, if we like a bright, fruity, floral, and sweet flavor, then Arabica coffee beans are suitable; if we want a rich, full-bodied coffee with a quick pick-me-up, then we can choose a blend with a certain percentage of Robusta coffee beans.
2. Choose by coffee bean region
Almost all the world’s coffee trees grow in the tropical region between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, represented by the vicinity of the equator. We usually refer to coffee as having three main production areas, namely: the African coffee region, the Asia-Pacific coffee region, and the American coffee region. Yunnan coffee is also rapidly growing into an important production area as the production and quality of coffee beans in the region improve.
(1) Ethiopian coffee beans: Ethiopia has become the most representative coffee-producing country in Africa with its unique Yegashefi, Sidamo, and Harar Arabica species of coffee. Yegashefi coffee is the best representative, and its washed and treated coffee beans have a strong floral and citrus flavor.
(2) Kenya coffee beans: Grown in the highlands near Mount Kenya, Kenya’s premium Arabica coffee beans have firm acidity and berry tones. Kenyan coffee has a sweet fruitiness and firm wine acidity, with a medium body and a clean taste with few flaws or off flavors.
(3) Vietnamese coffee beans: Vietnam is the second largest coffee producer after Brazil. Vietnamese coffee is mainly grown in the south and is dominated by Robusta species coffee, which accounts for about 97% of its total coffee production. And Vietnam is also the world’s top producer of Robusta species coffee beans.
(4) Indonesian coffee beans: The traditional high-quality Arabica coffee beans are grown in the northern part of the country in London and Mantnin and are often named after places. Manning coffee beans are aromatic, with chocolate and nut-like flavor, high-quality acidity, moderate acidity, and a pronounced sweetness for deep roasting.
Early cat shit coffee came from Sumatra, Indonesia. After consuming the coffee fruit, musk cats excreted the undigested seeds with their feces, and villagers collected coffee beans from the feces of wild musk cats.
Originating in the early 18th century, Javanese coffee beans have a fresher, cleaner, and brighter taste with a distinctly sweet, rich nutty, spicy, and vanilla aroma due to the complex wet processing and drying methods endure on large farms.
(5) Yunnan coffee beans: Yunnan has a wide coffee-growing area and a large cultivation output, accounting for more than 98% of China’s total coffee production. The central coffee-growing regions in Yunnan are Pu’er, Baoshan, Dehong, Xishuangbanna, and Lincang, mainly growing Tippika and Catim species coffee beans.
(6) Brazilian coffee beans: Brazil’s sun-dried or semi-sun-dried coffee from Santos has a mellow taste and rich spice flavor. Washed coffee beans have a clean, soft taste, low acidity, and a quality fruity flavor.
(7) Panama coffee beans: Panama is a relative newcomer to the boutique coffee market, with several well-run estates in Panama showing a flavor transition from lively, lightly acidic, rounded to rich, bright acidity.
(8) Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee beans: Blue Mountain coffee beans grown on Jamaica’s Blue Mountains are one of the world’s most famous and expensive coffees due to their balanced, mild taste, balanced sweet and sour, and lack of bitterness. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is certified, and only the Jamaican Coffee Industry Association can be labeled “Blue Mountain Coffee.”
(9) Colombian coffee beans: Colombia is the world’s third largest coffee producer after Brazil and Vietnam. It is also the world’s leading producer of fine coffee, producing large quantities of consistently high-quality coffee. It mainly grows high-quality Arabica coffee beans, including rare and valuable varieties such as the Gesha.
3. Selection according to the treatment process
The coffee treatment process is an essential part of the coffee processing process, mainly the process of turning the coffee fruit into raw coffee beans.
There are currently five treatment methods around the world: solar, washing, semi-sun, honey, and wet soaking, of which solar, washing, and semi-sun are the main ones. The following is a brief introduction to the characteristics of solarization and washing methods.