Until sometime in 2008, I didn’t know about the many kinds of coffee. I had previously known about the two species commonly used, but then I found out there were many more. How did I find out? I was cruising around Wikipedia and found their article on coffee, that’s how. Of course, reading any Wikipedia article has a tendency to make the brain go numb due to all the references, citations, and technical details you have to wade through.
The Two Main Species of Coffee
While I say they’re the two main species, that’s not really correct. They’re just the main species most widely used and thus, more widely distributed.
The most popular of all is the coffea arabica, of which many varieties exist. It originated in Ethiopia many centuries ago and derives its name from Arabia.
The other popular species is coffea robusta. It supposedly has more flavor and is more expensive.
How Coffee is Consumed
When I was young and living in the US, no one ever mentioned anything other than hot, brewed coffee. That’s the way it was served in restaurants, fast-food joints, and at home. The reality is that it’s only one of many ways coffee is consumed.
Here’s a partial list of ways I’ve seen coffee consumed, or consumed by me:
- Brewed and served hot – traditional American coffee
- Brewed and served cold – iced coffee
- As Espresso
- Chocolate-covered coffee beans
- Coffee Cake
- As a candy ingredient
It’s a short list and if I sat here long enough, I’m sure I could think up a few more.
Local Coffee Varieties
While I primarily drink coffee made by Nescafe, there are some other varieties grown where I live, in the Philippines. The coffee used for the Nescafe brand is grown locally and I believe it’s an Arabica.
I do not know which local brands are made from the coffea liberica species, but it would be an interesting experience to sample them. Anyway, the plants are grown in the Batangas and Cavite provinces of the Philippines and I hope to someday get a chance to check out the farms.
[Originally published in October, 2008]