Everything You Need To Know About Coffee Types (Beans, Roasts, And Drinks)

17 min read AUG 05, 2023

Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the world and has been a popular drink for centuries. Whether you enjoy it as a morning drink or prefer to savor your mug throughout the day, there's a lot more to coffee than meets the eye.

This article explores everything you need to know about coffee types, from different types of beans and roasts to various brewing methods.

What Are The Types Of Coffee Beans?

Coffee beans vary in flavor, texture, and caffeine content, with Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsa among the most popular types.


Arabica is the most popular type of coffee bean in the world, making up approximately 60-70% of global production. Originating from Coffea arabica trees found near Ethiopia's southwestern highlands and around Yemen, Arabica beans have a delicately sweet and light flavor profile with a pleasant aroma.

Its subtle acidity makes it ideal for espresso, cappuccinos, lattes, and other gourmet specialties. Its relatively low caffeine content at 1.5%, compared to Robusta's 2.7%, further adds to its popularity as the chosen standard among many baristas and cafe owners alike who prefer softer coffees such as Macchiatos or Cortados over stronger brews like Flat Whites or Caramel Machiattos.


Robusta is a species of coffee bean widely popular in the world market due to its affordability and strong taste. It contains more caffeine than Arabica, resulting in a bolder cup with around 2.7% less sugar content, giving it an earthy flavor.

Popularly used as an espresso blend, Robusta is stronger-tasting and higher in acidity than Arabica beans. In terms of economics, it accounts for approximately 30% of global production, making it the second most important variety after Arabica.


Liberica coffee beans, while not as well-known as the other varieties of Arabica and Robusta, are becoming increasingly popular in specialty coffee shops worldwide.

These rare beans have a unique flavor profile with notes of fruitfulness that are freshly expressed when brewed compared to their Arabica and Robusta counterparts. They also boast an impressive size larger than other coffee bean types.


Excelsa coffee beans are considered one of the four main types of coffee produced worldwide, the other three being Arabica, Robusta, and Liberica. Compared to its more widely known counterparts, Excelsas are often harder to find and less recognized for their unique flavor qualities.

These coffee beans hail from Ethiopia and Vietnam, where they have been traditionally enjoyed by those in the know for generations. Grown at high altitudes under various conditions, all Excelsa coffees contain some combination of tartness, fruitiness, sweetness, and smokiness in their cup profile, with each producer adding subtle, nuanced complexity.

What Are The Types Of Coffee Roasts?

Different coffee roasts can drastically affect the flavor of your brew.

Light Roast

Light roast coffee is known for its delicate and complex flavor. It leaves hints of sweetness that linger long after the cup has been drained, making it a great option for enthusiasts looking to highlight a coffee's unique characteristics.

Light roasting brings out subtle notes of chocolate, fruits, and nuts in various coffees when roasted correctly. Lightly roasted coffee beans are heated at an internal temperature of 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit for the shortest time possible, resulting in lighter coloration than darker roasts.

As these beans are heated less than others on the roasting scale, they generally also have lower caffeine content than other dark roasts, meaning you can enjoy more cups without getting jittery or having trouble sleeping! Brewing this type of bean often requires specialty brewing methods like pour-over, allowing light roast fans to taste every detail and nuance their particular blend offers up with each sip.

Medium Roast

Medium roast coffee is a balanced and flavorful brew, falling right between light and dark roast. It has a semi-oily surface, rich consistency, and a bittersweet flavor profile, making it popular with various drinkers.

The roasting process, which creates a medium roast, is essential: the beans are roasted at the perfect balance point to ensure that acidity and brightness blend perfectly with intense flavors.

Popular brands of medium roast coffee use Arabica beans for their slightly bolder yet sweet taste; many people enjoy these coffees not only black but also crafted into cappuccinos or other specialty drinks.

Medium-Dark Roast

Medium-dark roast coffee is popular for those who prefer a bold flavor and a full body. This roast type falls between medium and dark on the roasting scale, featuring a rich, dark color with some oil on the surface and a slight bittersweet aftertaste.

It also has unique characteristics that stand out from other types. It features subtle notes of sweetness due to the caramelization of sugars during roasting. The caffeine content is slightly lower than lighter roasts since it starts off with higher-density beans that contract when roasted at high temperatures, resulting in less caffeine per bean overall. This lovely roast type isn't just visually pleasing; it tastes great too! Its bold flavor profile brings out smooth notes of chocolate and nuts without being overbearing or bitter.

Dark Roast

Dark roast coffee is a popular type of bean roasting that produces extremely flavorful and intense coffee. It is created by extending the roasting process's length, resulting in almost black beans with an oily texture.

The flavor notes associated with dark roast can range from smoky to sweet, depending on the coffee beans' origin. Dark roasted coffee usually has less acidity than lighter versions as some of its fruitier notes will be "burned off" during this highly focused roasting method.

The unique flavor profile makes it an ideal choice for espresso-based specialty drinks such as cappuccinos and lattes because its added ingredients provide richness without diminishing its bold flavors.

What Are The Types Of Brewed Coffee?

Different brewing methods, such as drip, French press, and espresso, can be used to make coffee drinks with various flavors, textures, and caffeine levels.
Drip Coffee

Drip coffee is one of the most popular coffee brewing methods, especially for home brewers, given its simplicity and relative ease. This method involves pouring hot water over ground coffee beans in an appropriate filter. Ground beans act as the infuser, allowing for flavorful extraction via brief contact time according to taste preference.

One can make various types of drip coffees based on different grind sizes from coarse grounds or even espresso-specific grinds because this process doesn't require pressurized water like other specialty cups such as cappuccino and latte.

Pour Over Coffee

Pour-over coffee is a classic brewing method that produces a smooth and flavorful cup of coffee. This manual brewing process requires barely any equipment, just a pour-over brewer, hot water, ground coffee beans, filter paper, and careful attention to detail.

The unique aspect of pouring over coffee compared to other brewing methods like drip machines or French presses comes from its use of filters for separation; either fine cloth fabrics or single-serve paper filters are commonly used in producing this type of brew.

Paper filter cartridges provide:

  • An effective trap against oils and sediments.
  • Resulting in a light body with clean flavors often described as mellow and delicate sweetness without too much bitterness, unlike some espresso-based drinks such as Cafe Americano, where more oils pass through.
  • Resulting in longer-lasting robust flavors yet higher levels of acidity aftertaste.


Espresso is a type of brewed coffee made by forcing hot steam through finely-ground coffee beans. The process requires specific and controlled pressure, extraction time, and equipment to create the final product.

Due to its brewing method, espresso is known for its intense flavor profile compared to regular drip coffee.

Espresso has two basic ingredients: ground roasted beans and water. There are typically two types of roasts used for espresso: light roasts and dark roasts, depending on one's personal preference for the desired taste in the cup.

For an optimal shot of espresso, it's important to grind beans just before extracting - this ensures that the oils present in the freshly ground beans enter into your drink which helps develop richer flavors "in the cup."

Cold Brew

Cold brew is a unique brewing method that produces an entirely different type of coffee than traditional hot brewed coffee. Rather than heating water to extract the caffeine from ground beans, cold brew relies on time and a steeping process to draw out the flavor profile.

Cold brew uses dark roasted beans with low acidity levels for their smoother and less bitter taste. The mixture of grounds and water is left at room temperature or at cool temperatures for 8-24 hours for maximum extraction, resulting in a concentrated yet mild beverage.

The distinct taste differs from hot brewed coffee, which brings out brighter flavors due to the short steep used for quick brewing.

What Are The Types Of Coffee Drinks?

From the classic espresso to creamy lattes and sweet cappuccinos, a variety of coffee drinks are available for everyone's taste.


Cappuccino is a wonderfully creamy and classic coffee drink originating from Italy. It is made with one part espresso, one part steamed milk, and topped with a layer of foamy, milky goodness.

This results in a creamy yet strong-flavored beverage that is perfect for any morning or afternoon drink! The ideal ratio for cappuccino making is one shot of espresso to 2 ounces of steamed milk and 1-ounce of foam. Still, as this can vary depending on where you are or who's making your cup, it's not uncommon to find variations that deviate from the traditional recipe.


Espresso is a type of coffee that is made using an espresso machine, brewed at 9 bars of pressure with an extraction time ranging from about 20 to 30 seconds. It typically contains more caffeine than other types of coffee, and its flavor has notes of sweet balance to any bitter flavors due to the blend of different beans used in making it.

Espresso comes from pushing hot water or steam through finely-grounded and tightly-packed coffee beans creating a concentrated beverage with a thick cream-like texture on top.

For baristas to make the best espresso possible, they need to learn the basics, such as having the right grind size and dose, recognizing when the brew has become over-extracted or under-extracted, mastering milk frothing techniques, and understanding how to drink temperature changes affect taste profiles.


An Americano is a type of coffee drink consisting of two shots of espresso diluted with hot water. This Italian-style beverage has gained immense popularity in recent years due to its full-bodied, robust flavor and the fact that it can be made easily at home or ordered from your local barista.

While an Americano may seem similar to regular brewed coffee, subtle differences in taste and brewing technique make this caffeinated option unique. An Americano is often confused with everyday drip coffee, though the distinction lies in how they are brewed.

Combining freshly ground espresso beans with hot water yields an Americano more intense than most black coffees (with hints of light bitterness).

Moreover, the history behind an Americano goes back over 100 years ago, past World War II, when Americans living in Italy during that time requested weaker versions of the then heavily concentrated espresso served throughout Italy and Southern Europe, hence giving birth to the name "Americano" for this new longer lasting form of true caffeine booster.


Introduced in Spain, the Cortado is a classic coffee drink with equal parts espresso and steamed milk. What sets it apart from other coffee drinks like cappuccino or latte is its lower milk-to-espresso ratio of 1 to 1.

It's important not only which type of beans you use but also how they're prepared for brewing. Using freshly roasted and ground beans ensures the perfect balance of flavors and body in your Cortado.

An essential step before pouring the espresso into your mug is to ensure it's evenly extracted. Otherwise, you can run into issues with bitterness or sourness.

Due to its simple ingredients list—espresso and steamed milk—the preparation process doesn't involve complex skills like making intricate designs like with Macchiato or Latte Art, so everyone, regardless of their knowledge level, can enjoy this classic Spanish beverage!

Red Eye

Red Eye is one of the latest coffee-drink inventions, and it incorporates a single shot of espresso added to brewed coffee. It likely originated in the United States and is largely unknown.

The flavor of Red Eye can be a bit peculiar - some find that it adds an extra layer of complexity to their regular cup, while others might not always enjoy its extremely caffeinated twist.

Red Eye ties in closely with other variations such as Black Eye (double shot) or Dead Eye (triple shot). Ultimately, when people are looking for a boost without sacrificing flavor, they often turn to these types of drinks, which offer up even more potent cups than your typical drip coffee.


A latte is a warm and comforting coffee drink that will bring joy with every sip. It's made using a rich espresso shot combined with steamed milk and topped with a delicate layer of foamed milk, making it incredibly flavorful and satisfying.

To make the perfect latte, you only need quality espresso beans freshly ground for optimal flavor, plenty of fresh dairy or non-dairy milk depending on your preference, an electric frother (or just a steam wand) for texturing your choice of liquid, plus some sweetener if desired.

It's easy to confuse cappuccino and latte at first glance due to their similar appearance; however, cappuccinos have equal parts of espresso, steamed milk, and foam, whereas lattes have more milk than foam compared to cappuccino which typically has an even balance between these three elements.


The macchiato is an Italian espresso-based beverage with a single or double shot of espresso topped off with a small amount of steamed milk and foam. The word "macchiato" means "marked" or "stained," referring to the layer of foamed or steamed milk that adorns the black coffee.

These drinks tend to have a bolder flavor than cappuccinos and lattes, as each drink has less milk and more espresso.

Originally from Italy, these specialty coffees are now enjoyed worldwide thanks to their versatility - both in terms of ingredients and preparation methods.

Flat White

A flat white is a type of coffee drink that originated from New Zealand and Australia. It is an espresso-based beverage made with two shots of espresso and steamed milk, which produces a velvety smooth crema topping.

Compared to cappuccino, the defining difference between a flat white and other similar coffees is that it has less foam or no foam and no chocolate powder added on top.

The preparation of this specialty coffee requires precise techniques done by baristas who are familiar with properly making this kind of drink. Vietnamese coffee beans are often used when making this beverage, giving it its unique flavor profile that many enthusiasts enjoy.

In terms of taste, flat whites have strong bitter notes characterized by their undertones mixed with a creamy texture due to the high-quality microfoam created through steaming milk for the drink.

Cafe Au Lait

Cafe au Lait is a classic French and Spanish coffee beverage that combines equal parts of brewed espresso or dark roast coffee with steamed milk for a delicious combination.

Traditionally made with freshly grounded and boiled dark-roast Arabica beans, this one-of-a-kind experience has gained massive appreciation from coffee lovers around the world.

Cafe au lait's balance between aromatic, robust flavor and creamy texture can be achieved by achieving the right ratio between coffee and milk; typically, locals would go for 1:1, but some cafes may opt for slightly different measurements better suit their customer's preferences.

For instance, using only half an ounce of espresso, paired up with 5 oz of foamy steamed milk, provides cafe con leche with more complexity in taste while still keeping its essence a creamy yet smooth sensation.

Irish Coffee

Irish coffee is a classic coffee beverage originating in Ireland and enjoyed worldwide. This warming concoction is typically composed of freshly brewed black coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar, and cream.

The drink was created in 1942 by Joe Sheridan at the Foynes Flying Boat Base after a passenger complained about being cold during their flight to Canada. The original version used heavy cream, which has since been replaced with lighter-tasting whipped cream or lightly aerated burning sugar syrup for additional flavor notes.

The preparation method for Irish Coffee starts off with freshly brewing strong black coffee before adding in the other ingredients: two measures of whiskey (sometimes substituted for brandy or Baileys), one teaspoon of brown sugar, and finally, the crowning achievement—cream.

Simple yet effective, this luscious combination is then gently stirred together before being poured into an old-fashioned mug or glass topped off with freshly whipped cream made from either milk or heavy cream, depending on preference.

Turkish Coffee

Turkish coffee is an old traditional method of preparing coffee drinks that date back centuries. It involves taking very finely ground coffee beans, adding them to a cezve (a special type of pot), and pouring in hot water.

These days Turkish coffee can be found around the world, but it has its origins in Turkey and the Levantine part of North Africa, where it's made with delicately roasted Arabica beans for a smooth, rich flavor perfect for slow sipping.

The process of making Turkish coffee requires great care: if not done properly, you won't get the full delight of what this wonderful drink has to offer! The grind used in Turkish coffee is finer than any other regular cup due to how necessary flavor extraction is when only boiling water combined with the grounds is added without filtering.

Italian Coffee

Italians take their coffee seriously. In fact, Italian coffee culture is one of the most enduring aspects of the traditional Italian lifestyle. It has developed its own set of rules and etiquette when it comes to ordering and drinking coffee.

From espresso to macchiato, numerous varieties of Italian coffees offer different flavor profiles depending on the types of beans used and how they are roasted.

The history behind Italy's passion for the perfect cup can be traced back centuries ago, with many believing that the country was responsible for introducing Europe to brewed coffee in 1645 with the publication of a book about creating tools for "Excellency Wines & Beverages."

In modern-day Italy, however, espresso is king - thanks largely in part due to Marino Vece's invention in 1901, The Original Moka Express, which allowed people across domestic settings to make espresso at home quickly yet still attain high levels or quality from a basic machine setup.


Coffee is an aromatic and flavorful beverage with a wide range of varieties to choose from. From Arabica, Liberica, and Robusta to Excelsa beans, each type has its own unique flavor profile.

When it comes to roasting, the degree of roast can drastically change the taste and aroma of your coffee beans; whether you prefer light roasts for more acidic flavors or dark roasts for richer, smokier tastes—the choice is yours! Different brewing methods, such as drip coffee makers, French presses, and espresso machines, also enhance various aspects of the beverage's flavor.

Finally, don't forget about popular coffee drinks like cappuccinos, lattes, and Americanos, which use alternative barista techniques to craft new concoctions beyond a typical coffee.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Difference Between Different Types Of Coffee Beans?

Different types of coffee beans have distinct flavor profiles and characteristics. Arabica beans are considered the highest-quality type of bean, producing a sweet, full-bodied cup with notes of sugar, fruit, and berries.

Robusta beans boast a bolder, earthier taste with high levels of caffeine that create an intense "kick" in your brewed beverage. Liberica is known for its heavy body and smoky flavor profile; this bean variety is not grown as commonly today but can still be found in some regions around the world.

How Should I Store My Coffee Beans?

Storing your coffee beans in an airtight and sealed container is the most important step to prevent them from losing their freshness. Coffee beans can become easily damaged if exposed to heat sources such as ovens, so it's important to keep them away from any area that produces high levels of heat.

In addition, temperature variation can seriously affect flavor, so you should ensure that your storage area is kept at a stable temperature. Moreover, using an airtight bag or container with a one-way valve for storing untouched coffee beans for up to two weeks or gifting them out is recommended.

What Is The Most Popular Coffee Roast?

Many coffee enthusiasts believe that the medium roast is the most popular type of coffee. The reason for this is that it offers a perfect balance between flavor, aroma, and acidity.

Medium roasted beans exhibit smooth aromas with notes of cocoa or nuttiness while also producing an acidity level that's low enough to not overpower your cup of coffee yet strong enough to provide flavor complexity and subtlety.

Is Dark Roast Coffee Stronger Than Light Roast?

Contrary to popular belief, coffee beans' strength and caffeine content are affected by factors other than simply the roast level. Light roasts tend to have a higher caffeine content than dark due to their higher density.

Denser beans retain more moisture and, therefore, solubles such as caffeine that impart flavor. On the other hand, darker roasts are less dense, containing fewer solubles overall, resulting in a stronger flavor but lower levels of caffeine.

Can I Mix Different Types Of Beans In My Coffee?

Absolutely! Mixing different types of coffee beans can help create the perfect blend for your morning cup. It's important to consider the origin of the beans, different levels of roast, and extraction methods in order to find the right balance.

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Rhonda Blickensderfer

I absolutely love this coffee. I went from a typical “ donut house” coffee k-cups to your light roast beans with motivation to find very cool pour over equipment . I am able to enjoy more than 1 cup per day and even at night without consequences!
So excited to further explore and become a coffee snob. To start my morning with this coffee is a great way to wake up !