Coffee 101: Varieties, Nutrition, Origin & Types of Coffee
Coffee is a potent stimulant that comes from coffee beans, consumed by humans mainly for its effects on alertness, focus, and learning. This is a coffee 101, all-you-need-to-know-about-coffee type of article. Caffeinated drinks, caffeine withdrawal and overdose, side effects, caffeine half-life, the best coffee in the world, and more, enjoy!
- Coffee Plant, Coffee Bean, Coffee Drink
- Origin & History Of Coffee
- Types Of Coffee Beans
- Coffee Color And Antioxidants
- Coffee Beans Roasting Temperature
- Types of Coffee Beverages
- Caffe Americano
- Flat White
- Bulletproof Coffee
- Irish Coffee
- Instant Coffee
- Vienna Coffee
- Nitro Coffee
- Japanese Iced Coffee
- Turkish Coffee
- Rum Coffee
- Coffee Around The World
- Key Points
- Frequently Asked Questions
Coffee Plant, Coffee Bean, Coffee Drink
Where does coffee come from? A coffee shop? Ethiopia or Kenya?
The ground powder you’re mixing in water to make your coffee is made from coffee beans. Coffee beans are part of the Coffea plant, which is a small tree native to tropical Africa and tropical Asia.
The seeds of this plant are what we now know as coffee beans that we use in many beverages. Because of its focus and alertness-promoting properties, caffeine has been added to chocolate, energy drinks, and bars.
Coffee beans are not beans but fruits. There are coffee cherries and coffee berries which have a green color that then switches to multiple shades of brown, due to the roasting process.
Besides the many different varieties of coffee beverages, in order to choose our best coffee, we must first understand the different types of coffee beans, their origin, history, applications, and then the specific benefits and effects of each.
Origin & History Of Coffee
Coffee has an interesting, long history and worldwide importance as one of the most powerful plants that influenced the whole market globally.
Coffee is believed to have originated in Ethiopia, where most people chewed the coffee beans for energy because they didn’t know any other way.
From Ethiopia to Arabia at around 1000 AD, coffee has widely spread in Egypt, Turkey, Persia, and Syria.
There was a genius whose name is not known yet, that started to roast coffee beans and brew them, which makes up the coffee powder that we drink today.
In the 17th century, this plant started spreading throughout Europe, mostly in England, Poland, Austria, and Italy.
Europeans in the 17th century, before coffee had its giant leap, mostly drank wine and beer. This would make them tired, fuzzy, and unfocused, so bringing coffee as alertness-promoting and focus-sustaining drink soon became their go-to.
An interesting history of Brazilian coffee has started in the 17th century, when the king of France, Louis XIV gifted a freshly acquired coffee plant from a Mayor in Amsterdam. The king could predict its importance, so he secured it at the Royal Botanical Garden.
After nine years, Gabriel de Clieu was able to get his hands on coffee, and he took this plant escaping on a ship across the Atlantic, which brought the first seeds of the coffee plant to the island known as Martinique. Then it spread into South America, making Brazil one of the largest producers of coffee.
Nowadays, coffee is spread all over the world and is slowly becoming the ritual of everyone’s morning. Due to its brain-enhancing abilities, it is not a surprise that in America, more than 64% of the population drinks coffee daily, a statistic from Reuters, NCA.
How much caffeine is in a cup of coffee?
In 100 grams of coffee beans, there are 1.2-2.2 grams of caffeine. Depending on the type of roasting, serving size and additives, this will differ. On average, an 8 oz. cup of coffee contains around 90 mg of caffeine.
Am I drinking too much caffeine?
Safety recommendations for healthy adults ranges around 300-400 mg of caffeine, as a well-tolerated dose with minimal or no side effects. Of course, this is a total caffeine intake, not just by drinking coffee. Make sure you also count/monitor the caffeine in colas, sodas, guarana, energy drinks, chocolate, white, green, or black teas, pre-workout supplements, etc.
Pros and Cons of drinking coffee?
The biggest pro of caffeine is its ability to acutely reduce fatigue, and increase mental energy and alertness. Partially this is done by improving blood flow, blocking the adenosine receptors, and stimulating catecholamines. Also, it has a potent antioxidant activity which may aid in longevity, as many studies show that mortality risk is reduced with caffeine consumption.
The cons of drinking coffee are that it promotes very individual responses. Some people who can’t digest caffeine optimally, are led to jittery and shaky energy, or hyperexcitability, followed by an energy crash later on. The next con is that it is acutely addictive, meaning after quitting caffeine consumption we need a few days to recycle back. These days are filled with headaches, fatigue, inability to concentrate, nausea, etc.
What are the side effects of drinking too much coffee?
Too much coffee can disturb your sleep, which will have diminishing returns on both energy levels, and athletic performance. Too much caffeine can actually have the opposite effect and increase feelings of tiredness and fatigue, because of poor sleep.
Withdrawal symptoms include: Dizziness, Nausea, Diarrhea, Heart Palpitations, Headache, Irritability, Withdrawal, Insomnia, Thirstiness, Fever, Chest pain, Hallucinations, and Vomiting.
Types Of Coffee Beans
There are many varieties of coffee beverages, but the coffee itself is made from either one of these two types of beans: Arabica or Robusta
The difference is these two types are present both in taste, caffeine content, and antioxidant status the coffee bean provides.
Arabica is the smoother version of coffee, which has less caffeine and is more expensive.
Robusta is the bitter flavor, the earthy-tasting version that is cheaper and higher in caffeine.
Arabica vs Robusta | Who Wins?
- World coffee production relies more on Arabica, representing about 70% of the world’s production, while Robusta holds the other 30%.
- Arabica is grown on higher altitudes like 600-2200 meters, while Robusta grows from sea levels to around 700-800 meters.
- The caffeine content in Robusta is higher, ranging somewhere around 2.2-2.8%, and Arabica is less caffeinated at 1.2-1.5% caffeine.
- Robusta is also lower in fat content and higher in chlorogenic acid content in comparison to Arabica.
- The taste difference is mainly due to the presence of different compounds that give coffee its flavor.
- Arabica contains Sotolon, Furaneol, and Abhexon which give it a sweet, smooth, caramel-like taste. Sotolon is an organic compound responsible for the aroma of coffee.
- Robusta contains other compounds such as 3,5-dimethyl-2-ethylpyrazine and 4-ethylguaiacol which give coffee its earthy, woody, bitter and spicy taste.
Price-wise, Arabica is almost twice the price of Robusta. So Robusta is the cheaper option but usually, coffees are made from a combination of both Arabica and Robusta, in different ratios.
Coffee Color And Antioxidants
To make coffee we first need coffee powder. To make the coffee powder we need to grind already roasted beans.
Coffee beans are green, as they come off from the fruit seed of the Coffea tree plant. Then the beans are put in a roaster machine for a couple of minutes depending on the desired color.
Roasting the bean will change its chemical and physical properties, as well as taste and antioxidant content.
The more time beans are roasting, the darker and more dehydrated they’ll get. This allows you to get more caffeine in a single tablespoon if comparing in weight to caffeine ratio since green coffee beans contain water.
When it comes to antioxidant content, the logic would be the more you roast the fewer antioxidants it contains. But studies have found that the highest antioxidant content is present in medium-roasted coffee, not the lighter or the darkest shade, but the medium-brown color. (1)
Coffee Beans Roasting Temperature
When roasting the coffee bean, it goes through different stages to become the dark coffee bean we all love:
- Green unroasted 22 °C
- Early yellow stage & Drying phase (165 °C)
- Light roast which can be cinnamon (196 °C) or New England (205 °C) roast
- Medium roast which is American (210 °C) and city (219 °C) roast
- Dark roast or full city (225 °C), Vienna (230 °C), French (240 °C), and Italian (245 °C) roast
The time spent in the roaster machine will determine how dark will the end product of our coffee bean be. The roasting machine is always spinning so that beans do not burn. Usually, the roasting process is around 10 minutes, 15 plus being a dark roast and 8 minutes being the first crack, a light roast.
The lighter or darker shade of brown will be determined by the roasting temperature and duration, as well as its antioxidant content, smell, taste, and acidity.
- Lighter roast: higher acidity and fruity smell
- Medium roast: balanced flavors and acidity, sweet taste
- Dark roast: oily surface with a bitter flavor
Types of Coffee Beverages
Multiple coffee varieties are present nowadays, so much so that it makes it complicated for one to learn the differences between them.
This energy-boosting drink has become a daily ritual for the majority of the earth’s population all around the world.
Whether you like it decaffeinated, low-sugar, or sweet and creamy there are thousands of options to make coffee through combinations of milk, creams, sweeteners, herbs, and spices. This makes coffee a pretty versatile drink that can be suitable for anyone.
Here are some of the most popular coffee beverages found in liquor stores, coffee shops, pastry shops, and even bakeries.
The Italian version of coffee is one of the most popular varieties, known as espresso. Made by high-pressure water steaming through the roasted coffee beans, which gives the highly caffeinated extract liquid that is then poured into a mug. It is a thick creamy golden-colored coffee.
The name comes from American coffee in Italian. It is a slightly lower punch of caffeine since Caffe Americano is putting extra water on top of Italian espresso, drank by U.S soldiers in Italy during the 2nd World War.
Cappuccino is a three-layered combination of espresso with additional steamed milk and a layer of foamy milk on top. This is one of the most popular breakfast alternatives of coffee, usually sweeter with an optional addition of chocolate on top.
Similar to the cappuccino, a flat white is the same three-layered coffee but with less steamed milk (2nd layer). It has espresso on the bottom with a little bit of steamed milk that ends with more foamy milk on top. Flat white and cappuccino can be served hot, iced, and or with the addition of cream.
Latte is a less caffeinated version of coffee beverages, leaning more on the milk side. It is a single shot of coffee combined with steamed milk. There are many popular latte options out there including vanilla, Irish crème, cinnamon, almond, hazelnut, toffee, and peppermint.
Macchiato is a strong coffee with higher caffeine content similar to espresso, just with minimal addition of milk on top. Macchiato can be served in a small or a taller cup with extra milk. Adding foam on top of it is called piccolo latte.
One of the healthiest, brain-enhancing keto-friendly coffees invented by a biohacker named Dave Asprey is the bulletproof coffee. He discovered that fatty coffee improved his cognition when he was on a trip, so he tried combining coconut oil, grass-fed butter, cold-brewed coffee, and MCT oil. This coffee has been used as a meal replacement, meant to get your body in a fat-burning state of ketosis, where your brain takes up ketones as a primal fuel of energy.
Irish coffee can be put in a different league. Irish coffee is cold brewed coffee with the addition of Irish whiskey, sugar, and creamy topping. As an alcoholic and cold-brewed coffee, this is a stronger version of coffee.
Affogato is a sweet Italian coffee made with gelato and espresso. You first put the gelato in a chilled bowl then pour the espresso over it. Vanilla is the most preferred taste of it.
Instant coffees are a powder mixture of the whole drink. They may be just bitter coffee powder or coffee with the addition of sweeteners or milk & cream powders. The good thing about it is its easy-to-make process, due to its high water-dissolving ability.
Vienna Is a pretty strong caffeinated beverage made by combining two espresso shots with whipped cream on top, without the addition of sugar and milk. It is not an amateur drinker option.
This is a special coffee with a creamy texture. It is served in a beer glass, basically a combination of cold brew coffee with the addition of nitrogen, infused into the coffee.
Japanese Iced Coffee
Japanese iced coffee is made by brewing the coffee in hot water and immediately transferring it into a cup full of ice, so it releases the desired flavors.
This form of coffee is made in a Turkish pot called a cezve. You basically boil the water and add the ground coffee powder inside, mixing it until it arises. After you have the liquid you can add some sugar or sweetener, but usually, Turkish coffee is stronger and has a bitter taste.
A combination of coffee and rum may be great for someone looking for chilly relaxation, and autumn vibes. Rum coffee is usually made by mixing cold brew coffee, Coca-Cola, rum, and whip cream on top. It is a tasty alcoholic coffee beverage.
Coffee Around The World
Different varieties of coffee are used in different parts of the world, and many countries have made their favorite, traditional cup of coffee, mostly in combination with milk, sweeteners, herbs, spices, or alcohol.
Here, I put a list of the most Authentic country recipes for coffee beverages. Some like it strong, some like it iced, some like it light, some like it milky, some like it spicy, and some like it alcoholic. Many different ways of preparation, cups, types of coffees, sweeteners, herbs, and rituals. Enjoy.
Starting with the most popular form of coffee beverages of which many other coffee drinks origin is Italian espresso. Espresso is a strong, concentrated, and caffeinated coffee shot made in a machine that makes steaming water surpass the coffee beans at high pressure to produce the liquid.
As the heaviest beer consumers, the Irish are known to invent the Irish coffee, one of the most popular alcoholic versions of coffee. Combining hot coffee, sugar, Irish whiskey and whip cream on top makes the Irish cup.
Spanish serve their coffee in a glass, mixing condensed milk, espresso, and crema. It is a popular three-layered coffee in southern Spain that goes by the name of café bombon.
Steamed milk poured over a shot of espresso is making the most enjoyable coffee in Australia, which looks like a smaller flat white.
Ethiopians have a ritual of roasting the coffee beans in a pan and brewing them into Jebena, a special container used for brewing coffee. Usually, they enjoy their coffee just like elder Europeans, in small ceramic cups.
A thick coffee with a creamy structure is made by mixing egg yolk and sweetened condensed milk and adding coffee liquid to it.
Sweden / Finland
A mixture of froth milk, coffee, and boiled milk is the hottest Indian coffee trend for whom pouring and re-pouring from cup to cup for proper mixing is characteristic.
Cuban coffee is a strong and sweet, espresso-like drink. Concentrated coffee that is sweetened with brown, traditional Cuban sugar.
Known for their cinnamon enriched coffee, café de Olla is a traditional Mexican coffee beverage made with brewed coffee, cinnamon, and kin sugar.
Spicy coffee is one of the go-to’s in Arabia. Adding saffron or cinnamon into the coffee served in dallah, a traditional coffee pot, similar to the Turkish version made in a cezve.
Traditional Turkish coffee is also been consumed throughout Europe. The fine ground powder or coffee beans are mixed in boiling water in the Turkish coffee pot (cezve) until it starts raising or foaming at the top.
Being one of the highest world coffee consumers per capita, Finland has an authentic way of consuming coffee. It goes by the name of Kaffeost, made with cheese pieces in a wooden mug over which hot coffee is poured.
Frappe is one of the most popular beverages in many Greek pastries and cafeterias. In Greece, this coffee is served iced, to combat the hot sunny days on the beach.
Arabica vs. Robusta
Coffee is one of the most potent stimulators for improving alertness, energy, and brain function used in human consumption.
Coffee comes from Coffee beans that are part of the Coffea plant, which is a small tree native to tropical Africa and tropical Asia.
It has been used by warriors, originated in Ethiopia, and slowly spread across the world as one of the most popular and consumed beverages in the world today.
There are two main types of coffee beans, Arabica, and Robusta that can be roasted to light, medium, or dark color.
Different coffee beans and roasting process makes them taste different, from bitter to sweet flavor. Coffee can be served both hot and cold. it can have a smooth thick or thin texture and different creamy additions.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the pros and cons of caffeine?
The biggest pro of caffeine is its ability to acutely reduce fatigue, increase mental energy and alertness. Partially this is done by improving blood flow, blocking the adenosine receptors and stimulating catecholamines. Also, it has a potent antioxidant activity which may aid in longevity, as many studies show that mortality risk is reduced with caffeine consumption.
The cons of drinking coffee is that it promotes very individual response. Some people who can’t digest caffeine optimally, are lead to jittery and shaky energy, or hyperexcitability, followed by an energy crash later on. The next con is that it is acutely addictive, meaning after quitting caffeine consumption we need a few days to recycle back. These days are filled with headaches, fatigue, inability to concentrate, nausea etc.
How much coffee is it healthy to drink on a daily basis?
In 100 grams of coffee beans, there are 1.2-2.2 grams of caffeine. Depending on the type of roasting, serving size and additives, this will differ. On average, an 8 oz. cup of coffee contains around 90 mg of caffeine. Safety recommendation for healthy adults range around 300-400 mg of caffeine, as a well-tolerated dose with minimal or no side-effects. This means with no other caffeinated foods or beverages like guarana, chocolate, energy shots and pre-workouts, 2-3 cups of coffee a day.
What are the benefits of quitting caffeine?
Quitting caffeine on its own won’t provide many benefits. However, for those who chronically consume caffeine the effects are substantially lower. This is where a reset window of a week or two would come in handy, to reset the whole caffeine/adenosine receptors system. This means we get off caffeine until withdrawal symptoms stop, also called “hitting the caffeine reset button”, until our brain is ready to really profit from caffeine again. The point of this is being able to feel caffeine effects again, with a better sensitivity.
Which is the best quality coffee?
When choosing a high-quality coffee product you should look for:
- Certified Organic Coffee
- GMO & Mycotoxin free coffee
- Antioxidants enriched
- Free from chemicals and synthetic additives
- Natural Sweetness & flavor
- Arabica dominance
- Pure, Fresh, Unprocessed
- Traditional origin
- Eco-friendly Harvesting
- USDA certified
- Medium-dark Roast
- Balanced Oils & Acidity
- Earthy & Rich flavors
- Freshly Harvested, Freshly-Roasted
What types of coffee are most common in different countries?
Italy, Italian espresso (high pressure, steaming)
– Ireland, Irish coffee (coffee, sugar, whiskey, whip cream)
– Spain, Café bonbon (crema, condensed milk, espresso)
– Australia, Milk poured shot of espresso
– Ethiopia, Jebena coffee, roasting beans in pan
– Vietnam, creamy coffee, egg yolk, sweetened milk
– South India, froth milk coffee (re-pouring)
– Cuba, strong, sweet espresso (Cuban sugar)
– Mexico café de Olla (kin sugar, cinnamon)
– Arabia, Spicy coffee (cinnamon, saffron)
– Turkey, Turkish coffee (ground powder in boiling water, served in cezve)
– Greece, Frappe (iced coffee, milk, sugar)
– Sweden, Finland – Kaffeost (cheese, wooden mug)
What types of coffee beans are there?
There are two main types of coffee beans, which are Arabica and Robusta. Arabica is smoother version with less caffeine, tastes sweeter and smoother. Robusta on the other hand, it has a higher antioxidant status, tastes bitter, is more expensive and lower in fat content.