Sunday, September 06, 2020
I love learning, and this morning am sipping a cup of Arabica bean coffee, a Cuban roast. All this after yesterday’s coffee-aisle stint and my job of selling a Kirkland coffee. I read closely all the coffee packagings to understand if mine differed and somehow was better. Most coffees (except for Folgers) contained 100% Arabica beans. Some claimed to be “Colombian” (Arabica beans grown in Colombia). I got curious about roasting processes and especially packages marked “Cuban” and “Sumatran”.
Nobody asked about beans, but we know that a seller of coffee should know something beyond taste. During my lunch, with cellphone and the University of Google, I learned lots. Who knew that centuries ago coffee originated in Arabia? Modern Arabian beans, known as Arabica, are in our modern expensive coffees.
Before America’s introduction to new smooth-tasting coffee varieties, our coffees mostly were from robusta (canephora) beans. Robustas are less costly to grow, can be cultivated at lower elevations, are more resistant to pests and diseases (their higher caffeine content is a natural pesticide). These beans have a stronger, harsher taste than the Arabicas, and today mostly are in Folgers, espresso, and instant coffees.
Arabica beans have a taste that’s sweeter and softer, with tones of sugar, fruit, and berries. Their acidity is higher, and a winey taste suggests excellent acidity. These beans are expensive to cultivate, as they’re sensitive to the environment and produce less per acre than robusta. They’re also more are in demand. Production challenges and consumer demands make them costly.
My hot cup of Arabica Cuban-roast smells good, tastes smooth, and is enjoyable. More of the beans are ground-rough and in the frig creating cold-brew coffee. Yesterday’s customers and I fantasized about a time when Cuban coffees were thick, dark, and accompanied by cigars. This cup of mine doesn’t copy that era but pleasantly hints.
Colombian coffee is a class of its own because the country’s high elevations and climate are perfect for growing Arabica beans. The higher the altitude, the better those beans taste. Colombian coffees are lighter, taste richer, and mildly fruity with a chocolatey flavor. All because of Colombia’s ideal weather conditions.
I’ll look forward to brewing Sumatran coffee. It’s Arabica beans are described as producing a smooth drink with lower acidity, but darker and more intense. Sumatra is in Indonesia, its population historically Arabic and predominantly Muslim. Sumatran coffees might more nearly represent earlier Arabic brews. I’ll be learning.
So much fun while focusing on coffees, to be absorbing more about places and products.
Dear Friends: It’s a horse-travel, the forest, and a coffee-travel, the world. Diana