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Coffee Roasts 101

In order to minimize the confusion on your face when a barista asks “What roast would you prefer?”, we’ve decided to break down the basics for you. Learn about the four kinds of coffee beans and where they grow, then find your favorite roast. Go forth and conquer, coffee fiends.

Beans, Beans, The Magical Fruit

There are four different varieties of coffee beans, all grown in the equatorial Coffee Belt. Each type of bean varies in acidity, taste, and appearance. You’ve probably tried the first two kinds, but the other two are pretty rare unless you’re a coffee connoisseur.


Arabica beans are what you’ll find at most coffee shops around the globe. These beans are considered the highest quality because the trees they grow on are delicate and susceptible to disease. Arabica beans make up 60% of the world’s coffee consumption and are primarily grown in Latin America.


Robusta beans are the second most common coffee bean variety. They’re called Robusta for a reason - these beans contain twice the amount of caffeine as Arabica beans! Grown mainly in the Eastern Hemisphere, this variety of coffee bean has a bitter flavor that works great as espresso.


Floral in aroma, Liberica beans are grown only in the Philippines. These babies are hard to find in Western countries today thanks to an American/Filipino trade war (we’re not kidding). Liberica beans are unique because they offer a smoky flavor uncommon in other coffee bean varieties.


Technically Excelsa beans are a type of Liberica bean. They’re similar in appearance, but couldn’t be farther apart in flavor! Coffee made from Excelsa beans is fruity and floral instead of bold and smoky, but you’ve probably never tried it before - these beans only make up 7% of the world’s coffee consumption.

Roast It Real Good

Now you know the different kinds of beans - but let’s be honest, that’s not something you need to know to order at a coffee shop. The most important choice (besides hot or iced, of course) is what type of roast you prefer. Here’s a cheat sheet.

  • Light Roasts have the most caffeine and most acidity. These beans are citrusy and fragrant.
  • Medium Roasts are mild and balanced with more body than a light roast. This is the most common coffee roast in America...traditional, but delicious.
  • Medium-Dark Roasts are rich with a full flavor and bittersweet aftertaste.
  • Dark Roasts are commonly used for espressos, thanks to their bitter flavor.

Edible Coffee

Not sure where to start? If you’re too intimidated to try each roast (or if you’re really freaking hungry), try an Eat Your Coffee Caffeinated Snack Bar. Each natural energy bar is made from whole ingredients like dates, oats, nut butters, and coffee. The best part? One low-calorie bar = 80 mg caffeine, the equivalent to one cup of coffee. 


Want to try some?



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