Arabica vs Robusta

Coffee beans have been divided into two main types - Arabica and Robusta. They are different species of the same plant family.

  • Arabica:
    • beans of a Coffea arabica plant
    • higher quality, superior in taste (smoother, sweeter), contains less caffeine;
    • more than 60 per cent of world coffee production
    • originated in Ethiopia
    • grows best in higher elevations (typically between 3,000 and 6,000 feet, hot days and cool nights slow down the growth of coffee cherries.)
    • varieties: Typica, Bourbon
  • Robusta:
    • beans of the Coffea canephora plant
    • lower quality, high caffeine content and bitter profile (burnt rubber). Stronger, harsher and bitter.
    • widely used in espresso blends because it is known to produce a better crema
    • about twice the size of Arabica and it grows well at higher humidity.
    • thrives at lower elevations
    • more resistant to diseases, drought and pests
    • produces more coffee cherries and is cheaper
    • used primarily in instant coffee, espresso, and as a filler in certain blends of ground coffee.

There can be a wide difference in flavour and quality due to growing conditions and terroir.

Starbucks only buys 100 percent arabica coffee beans


  • Blue Mountain: only flourish at high altitudes
  • Kona. Arabica. Grown only in Kona, a district of Big Island in Hawaii.
  • Mundo Novo
  • Yellow Bourbon.
  • Bourbon: Sweet, complex, and delicate, Bourbon is the pinot noir of coffee. The plants are fragile and don’t produce as much cherry as some other varieties. It has nothing to do with the alcohollic beverage. Related: SL28, TEKISIK, SL34, VILLA SARCHI, CATURRA, COLOMBIA, CASTILLO, CATIMOR, MARACATU, CATUAI
  • Villalobos: an offshoot of the Typica family, which is delicate, floral, at times even citrusy. This variety was brought to Indonesia in the late 1600s by Dutch traders. Nuances and high, fine acidity. Strong flavors of stone fruit like apricot, peach, and plum. Related: JEMBER, PACAMARA
  • Ethiopian Heirloom: the wildflower varieties, descended from the natural coffee forests of southwestern Ethiopia. Each village has its own variety, handed down over centuries and shaped by the soil, elevation, and weather. Related: TYPICA, GESHA
  • Gesha / Geisha: originated in the Gori Gesha forest, Ethiopia, now Panamanian Geisha the most famous. Complex and otherworldly, with a delicate, black-tea body and zest of bergamot. Gesha is picky—it will only grow when, where, and how it wants, and in tiny microclimates. Grow in Indonesia or the Americas.

Largest coffee producers

  1. Brazil
  2. Vietnam
  3. Colombia


Vietnam is the largest producer and exporter of robusta coffee, which is known to be of low quality, the cultivation process in the country makes this increase.

Second to rice, coffee is Vietnam’s largest exported commodity and accounts for over 18% of global coffee exports.

Coffee was first introduced to Vietnam in 1857 by the French, influencing Vietnamese coffee to be made typically as a dark or French roast.

Coffee is typically grown in the temperate Central Highlands of the country, using basalt (volcanic) soil, which is perfect for growing coffee, cacao (which explains the mocha notes in the coffee) and pepper.

Vietnamese-style coffee

Specialty Coffee

Specialty coffee: coffee that is graded 80 points or above on a 100 point scale by a certified coffee taster (SCAA) or by a licensed Q Grader(CQI).

Typically grown at high altitudes, with much care and attention. Defects can be Primary (e.g. black beans, sour beans) or Secondary (e.g. broken beans). For a coffee to qualify as "speciality", it must have zero Primary defects and less than five Secondary defects.

Coffee Brands

Brewing Method

  • Pour Over: coffee : water = 1 : 16
  • Drip
  • French Press
  • Expresso
  • Cold Brew
  • Siphon Brewing

Roast Level

The Specialty Coffee Association of America uses a tool called the ‘Agtron Gourmet Scale’ to categorize coffee roasts on a scale of 25 (darkest) to 95 (lightest).

  • Blond / Light roast
  • Medium roast
  • Dark roast
  • French roast: ultra-dark, smoky flavor
  • Italian roast: even darker than French roast

Both French and Italian roasts got their names because of regional preferences. They refer to the color of the beans, not the type of the beans. Many different kinds of beans can be roasted to the French / Italian roast level.

  • French roast: Back at the start of the 19th century, French roast was popular throughout France and also much of Europe. French roasts tend to fall somewhere between 28 and 35.
  • Italian roast: Tastes in coffee tend to run dark and intense in Italy. That preferred dark roast got the nickname of Italian roast, and it has stuck. Espresso is the coffee brewing method of choice in Italy. Using a dark roast to make espresso is ideal to get a balanced shot of espresso, and thus popular in Italy.

French roast beans can lose freshness faster than lighter roasts. Because the oils on French roast beans can start to turn rancid more rapidly than beans with the oils still locked inside. The roasting process carbonizes some of the fibers in the coffee beans, which lead to that seared-over-charcoal flavor that enhances the bitterness for many people.

The temperature is high enough with a typical French roast that it brings the oils to the surface of the bean, giving a roasted, smoky flavor to the coffee itself.

Italian roast coffees are super dark, and tend to be even oilier than French roasts!

First Crack and Second Crack

  • "First crack" in coffee roasting refers to the sound when coffee beans “crack” at a temperature of approximately 196 degrees Celsius (385 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • "second crack" at approximately 224 degrees C (435 degrees F), which is the stage required to produce French roast coffee. "second crack" signifying that the coffee beans’ internal structure is beginning to collapse. This corresponds to an internal temperature of at least 240 C (464 F).


The word espresso refers to a way to make coffee, not a roasting process. An espresso can be made with lightly roasted coffee, though the higher acidity may not be everyone’s preference. That’s why dark roasts are often preferred for espresso-based products. As a coffee is roasted darker, the acidity lowers. That lowered acidity makes it easier to pull a balanced shot.

Darker roasts are also generally sweeter since the sugars in the coffee beans have had time to caramelize more. That makes for a sweeter shot.


  • Grinder
  • Brewer
  • Carafe
  • Filter
  • Scoop
  • Kettle
  • Scale
  • Airpot
  • Air tight container for coffe beans
  • French Press


  • Washed / Wet (Wet-Hulled),
  • Semi-washed / Semi-pulped,
  • Natural / Dry

The two most common processing methods: washed and natural. In a natural processed coffee, you will taste more of the process (fruit drying!), while in a washed coffee you will taste more of the bean.

Inside each coffee cherry is a bean that needs to be turned into a stable product that can be stored, shipped, and then roasted. For this to happen, the organic matter surrounding the bean needs to be removed and the bean has to be dried to an 11 percent moisture content level.

  • washed: that organic matter is stripped off of the bean within days of the coffee cherry being plucked from the tree. The beans are then washed (this removes any remaining sticky mucilage from the bean) before being dried.will not have the heavier fruit flavour, but will have a cleaner mouthfeel, with brighter, with higher acidity and more of a “coffee” taste.
  • natural: the whole coffee cherry is dried first before the fruit surrounding the bean is removed. This means that the coffee bean is in contact with the fruit of the coffee cherry throughout the drying process. This contact time enables a transfer of organic compounds between the different levels of the coffee cherry – the practical effect is that the bean absorbs and takes on some of the taste characteristics of the fruit. will taste fruitier and have a heavier body as the drying coffee bean absorbed some of the sugars from the surrounding fruit.

Coffee Shop Tycoon

Beans in the game:

  • Very Low Quality: Catimor
  • Low Quality: Costa Rica 95, IAPAR 59, Lempira
  • Good Quality: Blend, Catuai, Caturra, Mundo Novo, Pacas, Pache, Ruiru 11, SL14, Sumatra Lintong, Sumatra, Arusha, Ethiopian Heirlooms, Sulawesi
  • Very Good Quality: Bourbon, Java, Maragogipe, Typica, Hawaiian Kona, Yellow Bourbon, Mandheling, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Blue Mountain
  • Exceptional Quality: Gesha, Pacamara, SL28, SL34, Peaberry, Moka Peaberry

Latte vs Flat White

Both drinks have the same amount of espresso in them. Latte is served with steamed milk with an added layer of foamed milk(around 5mm) sitting on top. The Flat White, in contrast, is topped by a very thin, ‘flat’ (hence the name) layer of steamed milk, and nothing else.


Grind Size

  • Coarse: Cold Brew, French Press, Percolator, Cupping
  • Medium Coarse: Chemex, Drip (Flat filters), Vacuume Pots
  • Medium: Expresso Moka Pots, Drip (Cone Filters)
  • Medium Fine: Expresso Machines, Aeropress, Siphon Brewers, V60, Bon mac
  • Extra Fine: Ibrik, Turkish Grind

Coffee begins to lose about 40% of its aroma and essential oils within 15 min of grinding.

Burr Grinders vs Blade Grinders

  • Burr grinders: use two revolving abrasive surfaces to grind up coffee; more expensive than a blade grinder; 2 types:
    • Conical burr grinders: use a cone-shaped center burr with an outer serrated burr; however don’t produce evenly ground coffee
    • Flat burr grinders: two donut-shaped burrs that face one another with very sharp edges; beans to stay between the burrs until they are perfectly (and symmetrically) ground up; louder than conical burrs
  • Blade grinders: use a propeller-like blade, similar to a blender; more affordable than burr grinders; consistent grind size is much harder to achieve



Singapore and West Malaysia

  • Kopi: Coffee with sugar and condensed milk
  • Kopi-O: Coffee with sugar
  • Kopi-O-Kosong: Coffee without sugar and evaporated milk
  • Kopi-C: Coffee with sugar and evaporated milk
  • Kopi-Peng: Iced coffee with sugar and condensed milk
  • Kopi-Siew-Dai: Coffee with less sugar and condensed milk
  • Kopi-Siew-Siew-Dai: Coffee with little sugar and condensed milk
  • Kopi-Ga-Dai: Coffee with extra sugar and condensed milk
  • Kopi-Gao: Coffee with sugar, condensed milk and extra thick concentrated coffee
  • Kopi-Di-Lo: Coffee with no dilution
  • Kopi-Poh: Coffee with extra dilution

Turkish Coffee

Prepared in a cezve using very finely ground coffee beans without filtering. (The coffee grounds are left in the coffee when served.)

Vietnamese coffee

Vietnamese coffee is stronger, bolder and thicker than normal drip coffee. Often served over ice and with condensed milk.

Phin: the traditional Vietnamese coffee filter.