Finding a good coffee bean drink can, at times, be overwhelming. With an endless amount of choice, you’re faced with questions such as which should I go for, which has the best flavour, which is the most popular and so on.
In our experience, it is all about trial and error until you find which drink is best for you. But we, of course, are here to help you along the way with great advice about what’s available right now. We have put together a list of the five most popular coffee bean drinks that we know you’re going to love but first a little bit about the coffee beans that are responsible for such delicious tasting coffee drinks.
Types of coffee beans
There are four types of coffee beans, Arabica, Robusta, Liberica and Excelsa.
Arabica coffee beans are the most popular, accounting for 60-70% of all coffee beans produced across the world. The reason for this is down to its delicious flavour, it seems people worldwide enjoy a sweeter taste which is what Arabica provides. Arabica coffee beans enjoy a wetter climate, high above sea level in places such as Brazil, who are the worlds biggest exporters of Arabica coffee beans. Arabica plants require a tremendous amount of attention due to their delicate structure. The species is unfortunately prone to infection which results in great difficulty when it comes to farming in large quantities. Because of this cost of the Arabica coffee bean is expensive within the global marketplace, however, despite this, it remains the most popular due to its sweet flavours and non-acidic taste.
A point to add here is that Arabica coffee beans aren’t to be drank as a cold brew. There is no right or wrong to this, of course, you may prefer it as a cold brew, however it is said that the flavour is lost when brewed cold or blended with milk or cream.
The second popular coffee bean worldwide, after Arabica, is the Robusta coffee bean. Its flavour is the exact opposite to that of the Arabica, it is strong and harsh, with an extremely high level of caffeine. Its high levels of caffeine act as a natural insect repellent which automatically helps the strength of the tree, diminishing a major threat which affects other coffee bean trees. Unlike the Arabica plant, the Robusta can stand in a number of different climates and altitudes.
The Robusta isn’t usually a coffee bean that is a popular site within kitchen cupboards, this is mainly due to its unfavourable flavour. It does feature in those homes who desire a stronger coffee, for those who appreciate or require a coffee with higher caffeinated content. Robusta coffee beans tend to be used more for discount lines such as instant coffee and can be found in dark roasts as a filler.
Robusta’s flavour isn’t all bad however, it can exist as a good, quality coffee bean. There are those that make it to the shelves that are single-origin and are created by small-batch roasters, these are the ones to look out for, they taste amazing. To paint a picture of their deliciousness, these contain hints of chocolate and rum, flavours that go perfectly together.
To round up Robusta, if you’re looking for a coffee that’s going to give you that much-needed caffeine fix first thing in the morning this is the one to go for. Dilute the strong flavour by adding milk or cream.
A coffee bean you won’t find easily. Described as having a woody flavour this coffee bean tree isn’t as regularly grown due to the very specific climate it requires to grow efficiently.
It wasn’t always like this, however; it was a popular coffee bean in the late nineteenth century. At this time the Arabica plant was almost completely wiped out by a plant disease known as coffee rust. This gave Liberica a chance to shine. The Philippines was the first to harvest Liberica and saw its economy rise through the exporting of these coffee beans. As the economy grew, the nation decided to go it alone and declared independence, previously U.S territory. This resulted in the cut off of supplies from the U.S, resulting in the collapse of the Liberica coffee beans appearance in the global marketplace. No other nation was able to step into the shoes of the Philippines, the Liberica was diminished.
Part of the Liberica family, the Excelsa coffee bean is mainly grown in Southeast Asia and represents only a small proportion of the world’s coffee production. The Excelsa has a fruiter flavour compared to Liberica coffee beans and is desired by the world’s biggest coffee enthusiasts due to its ability to contribute to creating unique flavours in both light and dark roast coffees.
Now that we have spoken about the different types of coffee beans and how they contribute to a coffees flavour now we’ll discuss the, in our opinion, best five coffee bean drinks to either order or make at home. First up on the list, the espresso.
Five Best Coffee Bean Drinks
Full-flavoured, the espresso is a concentrated form of coffee that is served in shots. To achieve the perfect espresso at home, you need a quality espresso machine. Without one, it’s going to be difficult to follow the espresso-making process from the beginning. Let us explain, the first part of the espresso-making process is to force pressurised hot water through extremely finely ground coffee beans. This process produces a strong coffee which is topped with crème which settles perfectly on top, need an espresso yet? The crème takes the taste of the espresso to a whole new level creating a richer flavour that remains as a lovely aftertaste that prolongs your espresso experience.
An americano is created by simply mixing water and espresso, so if you have the creation of espresso down to perfection the Americano is going to be easy. Typically, the ratio consists of ½ water, ½ espresso or 1/3 espresso and 2/3 water. The Americano tends to be the more favourable choice in chain shops because it doesn’t have milk. Although some do add milk, no judgement here. A huge benefit to the Americano is that it can be drunk as a cold brew and taste just as good as it does hot. The process is exactly the same, the difference, you guessed it, is adding cold water to the existing espresso instead of piping hot water. Add in a few extra ice cubes for that extra freeze.
It’s Italian, it’s popular, it’s the cappuccino. The cappuccino is a coffee to fall head over heels for, ordered or made at home by many daily the cappuccino is largely espresso-based. The reason the admiration for this coffee is so high could be due to the thick layer of milk microfoam that delicately sits on top (it’s the reason we love it). It is 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk and 1/3 frothed milk, whatever size of cappuccino is your preference rest assured this ratio will remain the same. Mix things up, make things creamy by swapping the milk with double cream, you could also add flavour by using syrups or spices.
The latte, a very close relation to the cappuccino. Similar to the cappuccino it’s the delicious, delicate milk foam that sits on top that makes this coffee so mouth-watering. In fact, the only difference between the cappuccino and the latte is that the latte has a higher steamed milk ratio to espresso. It is made up of one or two espresso shots (1/3 of the coffee), depending on how strong you want your coffee, 2/3 steamed milk and around 1cm of frothed milk on top. The latte is all about the beauty of the drink, it’s layers give it that creamy, enticing look that you won’t be able to resist.
The flat white is all about the coffee flavour. Perfect for those who love a creamy coffee without losing the rich taste of the coffee bean. The flat white consists of 1/3 espresso and 2/3 steamed milk, it’s a simple, dignified coffee that tops the list for your daily caffeinated beverage. It has a small layer of frothed milk on top also but this is looser in texture compared to the latte and cappuccino.
A better understanding of the various coffee drinks and the history behind the beans can increase our love for all things coffee as well as helping you on your way to discovering your favourite coffee bean drink. We’ve listed only five but of course, there are many more, although these five are the most popular you may find you prefer something else along the way. We hope however we’ve given you the best insight and a good place to start, let you’re coffee journey begin, get drinking!