May 07, 2024

What is Coffee, Really?

By Kevin Herrell
What is Coffee, Really?

So what exactly is coffee?

This is a fascinating question filled with twists and turns, so let's embark on this journey together! At Vantage Coffee Roasters, “We See Coffee People” is our motto, so we're all about understanding the coffee experience from your perspective. We each have our own unique coffee rituals that make mornings brighter, and we tend to stick to what we know and love. But hey, that's what makes our coffee journey so special! Whether it's your morning pick-me-up or an afternoon delight, 'let's get coffee' means something different to everyone. By exploring coffee through both subjective and objective lenses, we can connect the dots between our daily brews and the incredible journey each cup takes before reaching our lips. Ready to dive in? Let's brew up some knowledge!

Did you know that coffee isn't just a beverage, but it's actually the fruit of a tree or shrub?

When you take a sip of your favorite brew, you're tasting the seeds nestled inside a coffee cherry! With over 120 different species falling under the Coffea genus, coffee is as diverse as it is delicious. The lion's share of coffee production worldwide comes from just two species: Coffea Arabica and Coffea Canephora, affectionately known as Robusta. Arabica takes the lead, contributing about 70% of the global coffee scene, while Robusta holds its own in the remainder. Now, let's talk about varieties! Think of it like comparing apples to... well, coffee! Just as apples come in Granny Smith, Fuji, and Golden Delicious, coffee boasts a myriad of flavors and characteristics across different varieties. Ever heard of Typica or Bourbon? They're just a couple of the many Arabica coffee varieties, each with its own unique taste profile. But it's not just about flavor – factors like yield, disease resistance, and maturation time all come into play for coffee farmers when choosing which variety to cultivate. For those eager to dive deeper into the world of coffee varieties and farming practices, check out this fantastic resource: https://varieties.worldcoffeeresearch.org/.

Now that we've covered some basics about different coffee types, let's zoom in on the key differences between Arabica and Robusta – the dynamic duo of the coffee world.

Arabica coffee represent the sweethearts of the coffee scene: they're sweeter, less bitter, pack less caffeine punch, thrive at higher altitudes, but are a tad more delicate when it comes to diseases. Fun fact: their sweetness is dialed up because of their lower caffeine content (caffeine, after all, has a bitter edge). On the flip side, Robusta are the bold, no-nonsense types: they've got 50-60% more caffeine, a bit less sugar, prefer lower elevations, yield more coffee, and yes, they're a tad more bitter. Plus, their caffeine kick acts as a natural bug repellent, giving them a leg up in the survival game. Personally, I'll take sweet over bitter any day!

Let's bridge that gap! Now that we've got a little science under our belts, how does this knowledge boost our coffee joy?

At Vantage Coffee Roasters and Higher Ground Coffee Co., whether you step into our retail stores or enjoy our coffee through our wholesale partners, rest assured, we're all about Specialty Grade Arabica coffee. But here's the scoop: "specialty coffee" isn't just about the coffee. Nope, it's about you too! From the hardworking farmer to the meticulous miller, the savvy importer, the globe-trotting exporter, the dedicated roaster, and the skillful barista – all the way to you, dear coffee lover – that's what makes it truly special. Every step of the way, from bean to cup, every person involved leaves their mark, creating a beautiful web of connection and mutual service. So, when you sip our coffee, know that it's more than just a brew – it's a shared journey filled with passion and dedication. Here's to hoping our coffee brings you as much joy as we get from serving you!

KMH