An Easy Solution to Coffee Flavor Profiles: Robusta or Arabica

We would love to tell you what coffee flavor profiles are the most popular and profit-driving, but as we all well know, each coffee sipper and java guzzler has his or her own preference and claims for which coffee ranks highest in taste and quality.

A good cup of coffee varies for each person. If it’s ‘good’ does it mean they simply like the flavor – whether bitter, sweet, tart, or nutty? And what exactly is a flavor profile?

Seattle Coffee Gear put it simply: flavor is a combination of two sensory experiences – taste and smell. So if you’re second guessing us when we tell you that there isn’t only one prominent coffee flavor profile, all you need to do is look at this chart to believe us.

Coffee Flavor Wheel

Coffee Flavor Wheel

Now that is an overwhelming number of flavors.

Why are we so hung up on coffee’s numerous flavor profiles? Recent research has us intrigued by one noteworthy statistic: 1 in 4 Americans prefer a regular cup ‘o joe.

What does this mean to you? It means, that amidst the trending flat whites, latte art and vanilla caramel frappuccinos, it is still important to provide a great, honest cup of regular coffee.

It could take a lifetime to explain the intricacies of flavor profiles, but to help you narrow down your choices you can first decide between Arabica and Robusta beans (2 bean varieties) on your pursuit to finding that great, honest cup of coffee.

In Robusta beans, you will find that they produce a somewhat burnt flavor, leaving a bitter taste in your mouth – literally. However, a benefit in this species of bean is that they are “higher-yielding and more resistant to disease than their smoother Arabica counterparts”, as stated in a recent article. It is typical to see these beans used for instant coffee or in the “top secret” blends made by commercial roasters.

If caffeine is all you want, then this type of bean is for you. Robusta beans contain 2.7% more caffeine compared to Arabica beans.

As any coffee connoisseur would know, roasters typically purchase Arabica beans for their preferred taste; a sweetness that isn’t found in the Robusta bean. These beans bring a sweeter taste to your morning cup and are generally higher in quality.

Now that we’ve elected a preferred coffee bean, it feels like we’re getting closer to finding the best coffee for the perfect cup. In reality, the options continue to remain endless. If we were able to identify one type of bean that would produce the perfect cup, then we would be undermining the coffee artisan’s work. [Something about how the variety of coffee makes the market so strong.]

With that said, we’ll just cut to the chase and suggest that a medium roasted Arabica bean will provide you with a great, honest cup of regular coffee. By choosing a medium roast you will still get the bean’s natural flavors that a light roast would give you, while also having balanced flavors. We find that this is a great option because medium roasts are at the stage where some of the beans best flavors come alive – without the burnt taste. We can’t speak for every coffee drinker, however, so trust your gut (and your taste buds).

After all, as a brewer or coffee shop owner, you are the one who knows your customers best.

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