What is Arabica Coffee?
Author: Rob Date Posted:6 May 2014
We often see coffee brands boasting "100% Arabica" beans and assume there's something special about these beans that make them better than other types of coffee beans.
There is something to that claim, but it's not the whole story. After all, over 75% of the world's cultivated coffee beans are coffea arabica (the botanic name for Arabica coffee), but not all brands of "100% Arabica" coffee are equally good.
You're right if you assume that "Arabica" is a reference to somewhere in the vicinity of Arabia. Arabica coffee beans originate in Ethiopia and have been cultivated there for over 1,000 years. Today, however, only a small fraction of the beans used for our coffee come from Ethiopia. As demand for coffee increased over the centuries, plantations were established in dozens of other places around the world -- from Africa to South America.
Growing coffee grew into as much of an art or science as growing grapes for wine over time and it was discovered that Arabica coffee grown in one region differed from an Arabica grown in another region. Altitude, rainfall and soil conditions all played a part in the quality of the beans that were produced. While the beans can be grown from sea level to up to 2,800 metres, they are most commonly grown at altitudes of between 1,300 and 1,500 metres in warmer regions of the world where frost does not endanger the plants. Ideally, temperatures should be 15-24 degrees Celsius for the highest yields.
Why Coffee Blends?
Luigi Lavazza was one of the first coffee merchants to produce coffee blends rather than simply roast and grind Arabica beans from one location. The reason he did this was because an Arabica from one region (Java, for instance) will be less acidic than a coffee from another region, such as Central America. Blending coffees from different regions results in better tasting coffee and different blends suit different coffee drinkers' tastes.
Robusta is the other most commonly used coffee bean. Robusta has higher caffeine content than Arabica and a more bitter flavour. Used alone, it is often too bitter for most tastes, but that, too, depends partially on where it's grown. When quality Robusta beans are blended with quality Arabica, they can provide a full-bodied coffee that suits the most discerning taste.
When you browse through the list of Lavazza Blue Coffee Pods available from the Blue Pod Coffee Company, it's easy to get confused. Which blend should you choose? The descriptions will help you with your choice, but why not try the "Experience Kit"? An assortment of blends (including 2 chocolate pods), the Experience Kit gives you the opportunity to try a variety of coffee blends. It's a great way to learn firsthand why there's more to fine coffee than just "100% Arabica" and discover the subtle differences in flavour of different blends.
Many Blue Pod customers have tried the Experience Kit and discovered they like one coffee blend in the morning and another to relax with in the afternoon or evening. Some are surprised to discover a blend they thought would not appeal to them turned out to be their favourite. Even if you go back to the blend you've been enjoying for years, the Experience Kit will be an “experience” worth having and it's doubtful you'll find a blend you don't thoroughly enjoy.