(Best Wishes for the New Year. Have a cup of Coffee!)
Coffee is grown in over eighty distinct regions in the tropical areas of the world. Different climate, soil types, elevation and horticultural, picking, processing, and roasting methods contribute to the distinct coffee flavors associated with each region.
There are two major types of coffee beans used for the beverage we know and love: Arabica and Robusta. (A third, Liberian coffee, is quite rare.) The Arabicas are grown at higher elevations, usually over four thousand feet, and are generally more carefully tended than the Robustas. The Arabica berries are often hand picked at the optimum ripeness for each berry. They produce the finer grades of coffees enjoyed by the discerning coffee drinker.
The Robustas have been developed as a hardier tree and can be grown at much lower elevations. They are often machine harvested. They produce a coffee with a harsher and stronger flavor, as well as a higher caffeine content. The Robustas are valuable in blends, and are used in solubles and extracts to provide a strong flavor punch for flavoring food products. They are also much more affordable than the Arabicas.
Recent studies have begun to show that coffee has numerous beneficial health effects. From helping to prevent certain cancers, to supporting liver, kidney, and intestinal health, as well as providing other physical and psychological benefits, coffee can be a healthy addition to your diet. (See Health Benefits of Coffee for a more complete discussion.)
For more information on the characteristics of coffees from different regions, try visiting this website: