Any walk into your local coffee shop can be an eye-opening experience. We aren’t talking about the caffeine here, but rather the variety of coffees that are available in the country nowadays. A few decades ago your local coffee shop only had a few different coffee bean varieties, but now it’s like browsing a wine list.
How many types of coffee are there? To help you become a coffee connoisseur, let’s learn how many varieties are out there, and how coffee is classified.
So, How Many Different Types of Coffee Are There?
At the highest level, there are only two types of coffee plant species in the world, coffee Arabica, and coffee Robusta.
The type of coffee you’re likely to find a coffee shop or café. Coffee Arabica is higher-quality than their Robusta cousins and makes for a smoother beverage with deeper and more complex flavors. If you hear anyone referring to “gourmet” coffee, they’re referring to coffee Arabica. Most Arabica beans are named from the location they come from, such as Sumatran, or Costa Rican blends.
Easier to grow and maintain and have a higher yield than coffee Arabica, but coffee Robusta should be thought of as “discount” coffee. Coffee Robusta does not have the complex flavors and notes compared to its Arabica cousins. You are most likely to find Robusta-brewed coffee at convenience stores, gas stations, and discount coffee blends. Robusta beans usually have a higher caffeine content than Arabica.
More Types of Coffee
Those are the two main types of coffee beans, but there are plenty of subsets of beans in each category. A coffee Arabica plant grown in Sudan or Jamaica will still be a coffee Arabica plant, but the unique conditions of care given to the coffee plant in each region will produce a bean that has different flavors and complexions. This includes soil acidity, the amount of sunlight, moisture, roasting method, micronutrients, other life forms in the soil, planting time, harvesting time, drying methods, and more. So though they may be the same plant, two brews from two different regions will taste completely different?
So many how types of coffee are there when you factor this in? Likely dozens, if not hundreds. There is no formal count on bean varieties as new varieties are produced, and older varieties die out every day.
As far as formal classification goes, there are only two types of coffee plant, but growing conditions, region, and methods can make it seem like there are hundreds of varieties. Coffee Arabica is the superior plant for a good cup of coffee and has spun off the types that you find in the gourmet coffee section, but if you need a caffeine buzz, you can always go with the Robusta coffee found at your corner gas station.
Whether you like Starbucks, Caribou, Folgers, gourmet black coffee, or something between, there’s a different type of coffee for everyone.