Coffee comes from two main species because they are the most commercially viable. These are arabica and robusta. They are grown between the topics of Cancer and Capricorn and this region includes the Pacific, the Americas, Africa and Arabia.
Coffee beans from both species go for processing and they are then turned into the different types of coffee that you can buy today. Sometimes they are blended together to create the desired characteristics in the final product.
There are many different way to buy coffee for home use now and you need to buy the products that are best suited to your situation.
If you want full control over your coffee, you will want to buy green beans to roast yourself. The roasting process is what gives coffee a lot of its flavours. This takes a lot of time compared to other ways of getting yourself a coffee but it allows you to make the perfect cup according to your taste and allows you to control every stage of the process.
For those with less time or inclination to roast their own coffee, you can buy your beans ready roasted. There are lots of different roasts, from light to dark and they all have different flavour characteristics so read up on what is likely to be the best flavours for you and try a few out. You will still need to grind the beans before you make your coffee and this is best done as close to when you are going to brew as possible.
Ready-ground coffee can be bought in vacuum sealed bags to save you having to do it yourself. Loose ground coffee is compatible with many coffee makers, and using this type of coffee means that you can still measure out the exact amount you want to use, to get the precise taste you are after.
These days ground coffee is also available in capsules. These keep the grounds fresh for around 9 months and they are quick and easy to use, but also more expensive than using loose grounds. Some systems like Tassimo are available from supermarkets whereas other such as Nespresso lock you into buying mail order or from select stores. These capsules all need compatible machines.
Instant coffee is often scorned by coffee buffs but some are really tasty and they are very convenient for situations such as camping where making other types of coffee isn’t so easy. Don’t overlook it.
Decaffeinated versions of all of the above coffee products are available for those that want to reduce their caffeine intake. They have had a large proportion of the caffeine removed but they are not actually caffeine free.
Coffee essence is another useful coffee product. It can be used for giving a coffee flavour to cold milk or for cooking. It is the essence of rich brewed coffee that has been concentrated to give an intense coffee flavour.
You will probably end up with several different coffee products in your house for different applications. When buying any coffee though, you should also think about where it has come from and what conditions the workers farmed and processed it in. This is why it is a good idea to look out for the Fairtrade symbol so that you know your coffee has been ethically sourced.