The three factors that affect the taste of coffee the most are species, origin, and roast.
- Species: Arabica and Robusta are the two main varieties of coffee. In general, Arabica is a higher-quality coffee that people generally think tastes better. Robusta is a coffee that’s cheaper to produce, easier to grow, and higher in caffeine and oils. You’ll often see Robusta used in lower-cost coffee (and even instant coffee).
- Origin: The country where coffee is grown can greatly affect the taste of the coffee beans. Even within a single country, variations such as altitude, rainfall, and soil quality will make a difference in the quality and taste of the coffee. See more on your coffee’s country of origin in question 3 below.
- Roast: Two main roasting factors affect the taste of your coffee: Freshness (how recently the beans were roasted) and how dark the roast is. Highly-skilled roasters will choose a roast that brings out the best qualities in each type of beans. See question 4 below for more on the type of roast you should choose.