Getting to grip with coffee: a guide on types of coffee

by Guest Contributor

22 June, 2018

by Gavin Dow, MD of Coffee Central

It seems overwhelming sometimes when trying to get your head around all the types of coffee. Many people get confused on the difference between a Latte and a flat white - let alone the individual flavours of each bean! Gavin Dow, MD of Coffee Central is here to help, talking us through the different types, flavours and best coffee globally; including what to look out for as a beginner.

1. Understanding the location

The first trick to understanding coffee us to know is where your coffee has come from. The same way that people pay attention to the grapes that go into their wine, the geographical region that your coffee has originated is very important in the flavour! Firstly, be aware of the ‘coffee belt’ that runs around the world between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, where the majority of coffee is grown. Then, understand there are three main regions: Asia Pacific, Africa and Arabia and Latin America. Once you get to grips which of these three regions your coffee has come for, you’re off to a good start.

2. Get the flavours right

Secondly, each region’s coffee has a very distinctive characteristics. The coffee spectrum runs from being very full bodied to lighter flavours. Asia pacific has deep aromas of herbs and spices and typically produces very full bodied coffees. Africa and Arabia is the oldest coffee region in the world, and are medium bodied and often more fruity and floral. Lastly, but not least, latin American coffee has less body than the rest and is lighter and more acidic.

3. Brewing is important

One you understand the flavours of the beans itself, the next step is getting to grips with what kind of brew is most suitable. Depending on how you brew your beans has a huge effect on the flavour and style of coffee. The traditional methods of making coffee are Espresso and French press, but many more exist out there. Percolators are becoming increasingly popular, producing a rich and strong flavour.

4. The right style of coffee

Finally, it’s just as important to know the style that you want to consume your coffee. This is the part that most people have some idea about, how much milk and sugar they prefer. However, a lot of people are guilty to sticking to what they know, and don’t dare order anything other than their normal ‘flat white’ for example. However, there’s a whole world of new and exciting coffee styles out there, and knowing the different methods and components of a Cappuccino to Macchiato will help you explore the many variants of coffee available.