The Complete Guide to Coffee Beans: Types, Roasts, and Brewing Methods

Photograph of Maraba Hand Roasted Coffee Beans recipe – check licence history first

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world. It’s a daily ritual for many people and an essential part of their morning routine. But not all coffee is created equal. Coffee beans vary in taste, aroma, and strength depending on where they’re grown, how they’re roasted, and how they’re brewed. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at coffee beans – their types, roasts, and brewing methods – to help you understand what makes a great cup of coffee.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Types of Coffee Beans
    1. Arabica
    2. Robusta
  3. Coffee Roasts
    1. Light Roast
    2. Medium Roast
    3. Dark Roast
  4. Brewing Methods
    1. Drip Coffee
    2. French Press
    3. Espresso
    4. Cold Brew
  5. Conclusion
  6. FAQs


Coffee beans are the seeds of the coffee plant, and they’re what we use to make coffee. There are two main types of coffee beans – Arabica and Robusta – and they’re grown in different parts of the world. The taste and aroma of coffee beans are influenced by various factors, including the type of bean, the soil, climate, altitude, and processing method. Roasting coffee beans is also an essential step in the coffee-making process that affects the final taste of the coffee. Finally, there are several ways to brew coffee, each with its unique characteristics.

Types of Coffee Beans

There are two primary types of coffee beans – Arabica and Robusta.


Arabica coffee beans are the most popular type of coffee beans, accounting for about 60% of the world’s coffee production. They’re grown in higher altitudes in areas such as Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Arabica coffee beans have a mild, delicate flavor, and a lower caffeine content than Robusta beans. They’re also more expensive than Robusta beans due to their lower yield and higher demand.


Robusta coffee beans are grown in lower altitudes and are more robust and bitter than Arabica beans. They’re often used in blends to provide a stronger flavor and a higher caffeine content. Robusta beans are also cheaper than Arabica beans due to their higher yield and lower demand.

Coffee Roasts

Coffee beans are roasted to bring out their flavor and aroma. Roasting coffee beans involves heating them at high temperatures, causing chemical reactions that affect the bean’s flavor and color. There are three main coffee roasts – light roast, medium roast, and dark roast.

Light Roast

Light roast coffee beans are roasted for the shortest amount of time and have a light brown color. They’re also known as “Cinnamon Roast” or “New England Roast.” Light roast coffee has a light, floral flavor with a higher acidity level and a mild aroma.

Medium Roast

Medium roast coffee beans are roasted for a slightly longer time than light roast beans, resulting in a medium brown color. They’re also known as “American Roast” or “City Roast.” Medium roast coffee has a balanced flavour with a moderate acidity level and a slightly sweet aroma.

Dark Roast

Dark roast coffee beans are roasted for the longest amount of time and have a dark brown color. They’re also known as “French Roast” or “Italian Roast.” Dark roast coffee has a bold, smoky flavour with a lower acidity level and a strong aroma.

Brewing Methods

There are several ways to brew coffee, each with its unique characteristics.

Drip Coffee

Drip coffee is one of the most popular brewing methods in the world. It involves pouring hot water over ground coffee beans placed in a filter, which drips the coffee into a carafe or cup. Drip coffee machines come in various sizes and styles, from single-serve machines to large commercial brewers. Drip coffee is generally mild and smooth, with a clean taste.

French Press

The French press, also known as a press pot or plunger pot, is a simple and affordable brewing method. It involves steeping coarse ground coffee in hot water and then using a plunger to separate the coffee from the grounds. French press coffee has a full-bodied, rich flavour with a slight sediment at the bottom of the cup.


Espresso is a concentrated coffee beverage made by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee beans under high pressure. Espresso machines come in various types, from manual to semi-automatic and fully automatic. Espresso is the base for many popular coffee drinks, such as cappuccino, latte, and Americano. Espresso has a strong, bold flavour and a thick, creamy texture.

Cold Brew

Cold brew coffee is a trendy brewing method that involves steeping coarse ground coffee in cold water for several hours, resulting in a smooth, mellow coffee concentrate. Cold brew coffee is usually served over ice, and it’s a popular choice in the summer months. Cold brew coffee has a lower acidity level and a sweeter, nuttier flavour than hot brewed coffee.


In conclusion, coffee beans are the heart and soul of every cup of coffee. Understanding the types of coffee beans, roasts, and brewing methods can help you create the perfect cup of coffee that suits your taste preferences. Whether you prefer a mild and smooth drip coffee or a bold and creamy espresso, there’s a coffee bean, roast, and brewing method that’s right for you. So, explore the world of coffee beans, experiment with different roasts and brewing methods, and discover your perfect cup of coffee.


  1. What is the difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee beans? Arabica and Robusta are two of the most common coffee bean species. Arabica beans are known for their mild, sweet flavour and acidity, while Robusta beans have a stronger, more bitter taste and higher caffeine content. Arabica beans are more expensive than Robusta beans, and they are often used in speciality coffee blends.
  2. Which coffee roast is the strongest? The strength of a coffee roast depends on the amount of time the beans are roasted. Generally, darker roasts like French and Italian roasts have a stronger flavour and higher caffeine content than lighter roasts like American or City roasts.
  3. Can you make espresso with a drip coffee machine? While a drip coffee machine is not designed for making espresso, some machines can produce a concentrated coffee that is similar to espresso. However, the result is not as creamy and thick as traditional espresso.
  4. What is the best way to store coffee beans? To keep coffee beans fresh, store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from light and moisture. Avoid storing them in the fridge or freezer, as the moisture can affect the flavour and aroma of the coffee.
  5. How long does cold brew coffee last in the refrigerator? Cold brew coffee can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator if stored in an airtight container. However, the flavour may start to deteriorate after a few days, so it’s best to consume it within a week of brewing.