Good to Know: What Are The Different Types of Coffee Beans?

Good to Know: What Are The Different Types of Coffee Beans? - Chef Works


Author: Kit Kilroy  

Today we're going to cover the basics of a sometimes overwhelming question: What are the different types of coffee beans? There's a lot to it, but here we're going to break it down.

Because the most crucial component of any cafe is (without a doubt) the coffee, knowing what's what when it comes to beans is your key to success.

It is the thing that keeps your coffee shop going, the thing customers will want every day, and the thing that can make you a lot of money in the long run. If you do it right.

Make a lousy cup of coffee, and you’ll lose a customer forever. So before you try to skimp on it, take the time to learn everything you can about what makes a quality cup. Especially in Australia, coffee standards are sky-high, so knowing every little detail that makes a difference is essential to selling a brew that people will crave.

While hiring a superstar barista and having a high-quality espresso machine will get you started, it all comes down to the beans. You wouldn’t expect bad fruit to make a fantastic smoothie, and it’s much the same with coffee.
Great beans = great coffee.

But how do you know which beans are great? It’s all about knowledge.

To get a breakdown about everything coffee-bean-related you need to know, keep reading. We’ll break down the different types of coffee beans, including varieties and roasts to give you the essential information for that knockout brew.

Roasting beans

What are the Different Types of Coffee Beans?

Types of Coffee Beans

The two most typically sold types of coffee beans are

  • Arabica: smooth taste, less caffeine
  • Robusta: strong flavour, more caffeine

Though there are other varieties out there, most cafes typically sell either one or both of these types. If you want to think of the difference easily, imagine drinking a flat white from your favourite cafe, versus mixing a spoon of the freeze-dried instant coffee into hot water.

While arabica has become synonymous with high-quality, delicious coffee, robusta can make some excellent espresso coffee as well. If you have high-quality robusta beans, these can make strong, sharp espressos with a fantastic crema. However, keep in mind that robusta will be far more bitter and contain more caffeine.

Varieties of Coffee beans

In addition to understanding the different types of coffees, knowing about the varieties is essential as well. Just like there are countless varieties of wine (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, etc.), coffee varieties differ similarly.

Here are a few of the most popular coffee bean varieties:

  • Typica: one of the most famous varieties, from Ethiopia, the most famous arabica variety
  • Bourbon: second most popular (after Typica) varieties, typically grown in Burundi, high-quality, sweeter taste
  • Gesha: originally from Gesha, Ethiopia but now commonly grown in Panama, tea-like flavour, more expensive
Roasted coffee
Coffee machine

Coffee Bean Roasts

Before brewing, coffee beans must first be roasted. Once roasted, the flavour comes out, and the beans are then ready to be made into the coffee drinks we all know and love. Different roasts create different results in colour, taste and smell. These are the results you can expect from different roasts.

  • Light roast: light-coloured, more acidic tasting, more flavour from the bean, suitable for coffee with unique characteristics or of exceptional quality
  • Medium roast: less acidity, more toasted flavour, darker in colour, the most typical roast
  • Dark roast: darker colour, intense flavour, low acidity, more bitter, good for lower quality beans

In addition to the different roasts, blends can also be made combining two or more different roasts. Depending on the type of bean used and roasts combined, this can make for a unique flavour. Cafes might experiment with different blends for a signature cup of coffee that their customers love.

Now that you know all about the different types of beans, you can start perfecting Australia's favourite coffee orders. With this knowledge in your back pocket, it won't take long for your coffee shop to rise to the next level. 

At Chef Works, we are driven by those who are inspired by all things culinary. Fueled by the belief that every culinary professional deserves the right apparel and tools to enhance the work they do. We understand that the recipe for excellence goes far beyond simple ingredients.

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