All About Beans

    AA

    Capitalized letters are grade indicators usually describing the size of the bean. In Peru, for example, AAA is the largest bean; In India, A is the largest.

    Arabica

    The earliest cultivated and most widely grown species of the coffee tree. It produces approximately 70 to 75% percent of the world's coffee and is viewed as superior to "Robusta" beans. Arabica coffee grows best between 2,000 and 6,000 feet above sea level, in warm climates along the equator. The predominant producing regions are Central America, South America and eastern Africa. Arabica’s characteristics include a balanced aroma, sweet and acidic taste. It also has a higher price because of increased production costs." Coffee Arabica" is the species name assigned to the coffee tree by European botanist Linnaeus while categorizing the flora of the Arabian peninsula.

    Black Beans

    Dead coffee beans that have dropped from the trees before harvesting. Used as the basic unit for counting imperfections in grading coffee on the New York Coffee Exchange. Has a detrimental effect on coffee taste.

    Blend

    A mixture of coffee beans from more than one country of origin. Designed to create a specific flavor and aroma profile.

    Central Hard Bean

    High altitude coffee beans grown in Central America. Extremely high quality

    Centrals

    Generic term for beans grown in Central America

    Cherry

    Common name for the fruit of the coffee tree. Each cherry contains two regular coffee beans, or one peaberry. Chaff Chaff is paper-like stuff that appears though the roasting process. These little brown flakes are fragments of the innermost skin (the silverskin) of the coffee fruit that still cling to the beans after processing has been completed. Roasting causes these bits of skin to lift off the bean.

    Narino Supremo

    Highest quality and largest bean from Colombia.

    Peaberry

    A small, round bean formed when only one seed, rather than the usual two, develops at the heart of the coffee fruit. Frequently, peaberries are separated and sold as a distinct grade of coffee.

    Quakers

    Defective coffee beans that remain light colored and fail to roast properly.