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So you need a cup of coffee to get you going in the morning, and you are
probably quite happy to drink whatever brews the cappuccino machines in the
office are dispensing. If it's hot, it smells like coffee and it gives you the
necessary head rush to start your day, that's all you need.So it may astonish
you to realise exactly how many different types and origins of coffee there are
out there. Some people devote their entire careers to coffee tasting to find the
perfect mix of beans to create just the right taste. These professional tasters
are called cuppers and really know their coffee.Centered on the equator, a band
twenty five degrees to the north and south houses the seventy countries where
coffee beans are grown. From South America and the Caribbean, to Africa and the
Middle East, this strip around the centre of the globe provides just the right
conditions for coffee plantations to thrive. Each country, and sometimes each
area within the same country, produces beans with their own special
characteristics to produce distinctive flavours.The two main divisions of coffee
beans are Arabica and Robusta. Robusta is the more potent of the two, with
double the amount of caffeine. The Arabica beans have more taste and a pleasing
fragrance, making them suitable for superior quality blends.The Arabica bean is
split again into two categories. The higher quality Milds, are grown at over
three thousand feet, the perfect altitude for coffee growth. Brazils, not
surprisingly a product of Brazil, are grown in larger quantities, at lower
altitudes, on the many large plantations of the area.When seeking the perfect
coffee, most people choose ready roasted beans, although it is possible to buy
the soft, green beans and roast them yourself. There are a number of categories
of roast, from the light or cinnamon roast, which is strong and acidic, to the
dark or city roast, a less bitter sweeter category, often used for espresso. In
between is the medium or American roast, the standard used for everyday drinking
and extremely popular.Two other varieties of European roast are the full bodied
French roast, and the very dark Italian roast, used in speciality espressos.
Both of these are dark roasts and so the resulting brews are less acidic and
sweeter than your average cup. The longer roasting process allows the sugars in
the bean to caramelize and much of the bitter caffeine to burn away.So next time
you reach for a cup of the strong stuff to wake you up in the morning, take a
minute to find out what goes into your coffee makers. Maybe consider what you
really want in a coffee and spend some time looking for your perfect roast.