Types of Organic Coffee

There are two general plant types used for the production of organic coffee, Arabica and Robusta. Robusta, coffea canephora, is the hardier of the two most common types of coffee and organic coffee. Robusta has a higher caffeine content at 2.7% and is more resistant to diseases. As such it is easier to grow organic Robusta coffee because the plant is less likely than Arabica to need treatment for plant diseases and pests. Arabica, coffea Arabica, contains around 1.7% caffeine and is generally considered to produce a better tasting coffee. Its sensitivity to plant pests and diseases can make this high quality coffee difficult when the grower wishes to produce healthy organic coffee. A major producer of Robusta coffee is the country of Vietnam while major Latin American producers such as Brazil, Colombia, and Guatemala lead in production of Arabica coffee. Brazil out produces all nations in both types of coffee. While there are only two major types of plants that produce organic coffee there more types of organic coffee based on other factors.

Geographic Distribution of Coffee Production

Coffee is traditionally grown in the mountains. The plant originated in the highlands of Ethiopia but is now grown throughout the world. Moderately high altitude, good drainage, plentiful rain, and a daily cloud cover are ideal for virtually all types of organic coffee. For example, organic Kona coffee is grown in mountainous parts of the Hawaiian Islands while Panama mountain grown organic coffee comes from mountainous spine of the isthmus of Panama. Colombian organic coffee brands are virtually all Arabica coffee. The Colombian coffee growing district, the Cafetero, is in the Andes Mountains west of Bogota where coffee is grown at altitudes between 3,000 and 7,000 feet. There are newer varieties of coffee that can be grown at lower altitudes, without shade, and produce more volume of coffee. However, these brands typically do not product the best tasting and full bodied types of organic coffee.

What We Do to Organic Coffee

After organic coffee is grown, processed, stored, and shipped to organic coffee roasting companies the story just begins. A major part of the taste of organic coffee comes from the roasting process. In addition, more healthy organic coffee antioxidants are created or modified during roasting. Here is a quick rundown of the roasting processes, by temperature, that lead to varying degrees of caramelization, color change, and aroma.

Cinnamon Roast 195 °C (383 °F)

New England Roast 205 °C (401 °F)

American Roast 210 °C (410 °F)

City Roast 220 °C (428 °F)

Full City Roast 225 °C (437 °F)

Vienna Roast 230 °C (446 °F)

French Roast 240 °C (464 °F)

Italian Roast 245 °C (473 °F)

Spanish Roast 250 °C (482 °F)

The original coffee quality is slowly but surely modified as the roasting temperature is raised. With higher roasting temperature types of organic coffee are increasingly caramelized and may have even a burnt flavor as aroma. Tastes vary and so roasters commonly produce a range of types of organic coffee by roast type to satisfy their discerning customers whether their preference is Robusta or Arabica green coffee beans.

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