One of the most popular beverages in the world is coffee. Many people all over the globe wouldn’t think of starting the day without a cup. Whether it’s a mug of strong black coffee, a cup of espresso, a latte or a macchiatto, the most important ingredient is the same—coffee beans.
Coffee’s taste depends on its most important ingredient. Types of coffee beans include Robusta and Arabica as well as blends of these two beans. Robusta has a slightly acidic and bitter taste, and because of this, these beans are used mainly for instant coffee and espresso. Roasted Robusta beans create a strong, full-bodied coffee with a distinctive, earthy flavour, but usually with more bitterness than Arabica due to their high pyrazine content.
Most of these coffee beans are grown in Vietnam as well as in India, Brazil, and Africa. Another important fact about Robusta is that its plants have a greater crop yield than those of Arabica, and the beans contain more caffeine. The Arabica bean has only 1.5% caffeine compared to 2.7% in the Robusta bean. In addition, Robusta beans have less sugar, about 3%, compared to Arabica.
Arabica plants are indigenous to the forests of Ethiopia’s Southwestern Highlands and can grow even at low temperatures. These beans tend to have a sweeter, softer taste with notes of sugar, fruit, and berries.
Another important element of coffee involves how the beans are roasted. During this process, the chemical and physical properties of green coffee beans are transformed into roasted coffee products. Roasting is what produces the characteristic flavour of coffee.
Unroasted beans contain very similar levels of acids, proteins, sugars, and caffeine, but roasted beans are richer in taste due to the Maillard reaction and other chemical reactions that occur during roasting.
Currently, there is a completely new trend among ready-to-drink beverages—cold-brewed coffee. The cold-water extract process for this kind of coffee requires grinding; ground coffee beans are soaked in cold water and left for a longer period, most commonly 12 hours.
Ambient temperature or chilled water can be used. Following the soaking process, the grounds must be filtered. The result is a coffee concentrate that is often diluted with water or milk; it can be served hot or chilled. This process is different because it imparts slightly different final notes, as the coffee beans are not affected by heat during the extraction process.
Coffee beans contain a number of elements that are more soluble in hot water—such as caffeine and oils, so brewing at a lower temperature takes more time, but the result is lower acidity and lower caffeine content.
Another method, which is less complicated and less time-consuming, is producing coffee beverages using coffee extracts. There are many to choose from, starting with Colombian Arabica and ending with Indonesian Robusta. These extracts come in a liquid or powder form, and this enables the consumer to ensure the consistent taste and quality of the final beverage.
Another positive aspect of this method is that extracts can be decaffeinated, so consumers can drink as many cups of coffee as they want.
Iced ready-to-drink coffee beverages can be presented in lots of different ways. An espresso shot can be added, or the drinks can be packaged in small plastic bottles for convenience. Sweet coffee with dairy milk or even non-dairy milk such as coconut, soya or almond milk is another way to enjoy coffee.
Flavoured coffee with a hint of coconut, caramel, or maple syrup can enhance the taste and develop new customers, even those who previously didn’t enjoy coffee. An even more innovative idea is to create functional drinks based on coffee extracts.
Green coffee bean extract is a well-known ingredient for weight loss. It contains a substance called chlorogenic acid, which is believed to be responsible for the weight loss effects. Green coffee bean extract might be added as an ingredient in a low-calorie, cold-brewed coffee product.
It is always a challenge to present something new to the market. However, in the case of coffee, something old can become something new and unique!
Original article was published in Beverage Industry Blog.