What Do Dogs and Coffee Have in Common?
Arabica & Robusta
You might have heard the terms robusta and arabica when referring to coffee, but what does it mean?
Robusta and arabica are actually just two of over a hundred coffee species! However, just three of these species are cultivated for human consumption: Coffea liberica, Coffea canephora, and Coffea arabica, commonly known as liberica, robusta, and arabica, respectively.
But what do we mean when talking about coffee species? Are they really all that different? Well, here’s a simple trick: Just think about it as if we were talking about rabbits, cats, and dogs. They are all mammals, but they are very different animals.
The production of liberica coffee (rabbit) is very small, while the mass of coffee consumption can be mainly divided between robusta (cat) and arabica (dog) at a gross split of 30/70.
Robusta coffee is mostly used in the soluble-coffee industry, but it is also used to add body and crema to roasted coffee blends.
Robusta is easier to manage at the farm level. It’s cost efficient because it grows at lower altitudes and it is more resistant to drought and diseases. It has a strong flavor and has double the amount of caffeine compared to arabica coffee.
On the other hand, arabicas are more elegant and complex in flavor; and are strongly associated with quality. This is why arabicas are preferred by the roasters with whom we work.
The arabica species offers a wide range of options when it comes to varieties. Some have spontaneously happened in nature and others have been intentionally created for quality and productivity reasons.
Dog Breeds & Coffee Varieties
Continuing our analogy, thinking about coffee varieties is like thinking about dog breeds. We have terriers, poodles, beagles, greyhounds, etc. In coffee we have bourbon, caturra, catuai, mundo novo, gesha, and SL28 among others.
The genetic diversity combined with the particularities of the processing methods bring to our cups a diversity of flavor notes that can be expressed through the roasting profile.
Grooming styles and processing methods
In order to have the seeds ready for roasting, coffee fruits have to be processed. Depending on the techniques used, the result can be quite different… even if you are working with the same raw material.
It would be like having a poodle and grooming with very different styles. It would be the same dog, but it will just look different. Similarly, the coffee processing method can affect the final result of the cup. It would be the same coffee but with particular notes derived from the method processing method.
The most popular methods are wet or washed, honey, and natural or dry. You can appreciate this difference in flavors by trying some of our favorites like Stumptown Coffee Roasters and Heart Coffee Roasters are full of great examples of fully washed coffees. For natural processed, Nossa Familia Coffee Roasters and Coava Coffee have some great seasonal single-origins, and To The Roots Coffee Roasters have some solid honey-processed coffees.
At Belmont, we work with top-notch coffee roasters from Portland who bring the best out of the beans they roast—no matter the variety or processing method. It’s a lot of fun finding which coffees are best for our Portland office clients!
Are you looking for an office coffee service that can bring the coffee shop experience to your break room? Drop a line below and we'll get back to you.
You can follow Stephany on Instagram @la_del_cafe
*Dog, cat, rabbit icons by Christy Presler from the Noun Project.
*Dog Breeds by Jenna Foster from the Noun Project.