Types of Coffee
Arabica vs. Robusta Coffee
Coffea arabica is the botanical variety of coffee plant which produces the world's greatest coffees. There are sub-types of this species which also produce great coffee. Some good examples are the Central and South American "milds" from Costa Rica, Colombia, Guatemala and from Eastern Africa, like Kenya and Ethiopia or Sumatra Mandheling from the Indonesian archipelago. Arabica coffee is difficult to produce. It is subject to pest and disease damage, grows best in high mountainous areas with volcanic soil and specific weather conditions, making it rare and more expensive than other types. When arabica coffee is produced in an ideal location and weather conditions, is properly tended, processed and roasted, it is unequaled by any other type for great flavor and aroma.
Now, we hasten to add that all arabica coffees are not the same. They too can be low grown, picked immature, improperly processed, roasted and so on. So just saying "this is arabica" does not magically confer upon a coffee the title of "great coffee". Truly great arabica and its sub-types account for a small fraction of all coffee produced and are the basis for all true Specialty Coffee.
Coffee Classics coffee is all Specialty Coffee, all high grade arabica.
Coffea robusta is the most common botanical variety of coffee. Robusta is disease and freeze resistant, produces vast quantities of low cost coffee, grows well at lower altitudes and is the primary coffee in most low cost coffee blends. Robusta, unfortunately, lacks good flavor characteristics. It contains a lot of not so great tasting oil which may cause stomach upset in some users. Robusta is not used in Coffee Classics coffee.
Instant coffee is known as "soluble coffee" in the coffee trade. It accounts for a significant part of the world's coffee consumption because of low price and convenience. Soluble coffee is produced by extracting the soluble solids from roast and ground coffee. This extraction removes as much as 80% of the solids taking with it bitter tasting components. The extraction is then dehydrated leaving the solids. These solids are reduced to powder and the product, when reconstituted to a beverage is in fact 100% coffee but it is a far cry from fresh brewed, properly extracted coffee!