(Coffea arabica & Coffea canephora or robusta)
Coffee has two main varieties or species, Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora or more popularly known as Robusta. Arabica (Coffea arabica) was originally cultivated in the Arabian Peninsula, hence its name. While Robusta (Coffea canephora) is grown in many regions where Arabica would not grow but Robusta has less flavor and contains more caffeine than the Arabica. However, Robusta contains more antioxidants than Arabica coffee. Today, coffee is the second largest traded commodity in the world, second only to oil and the largest exporter of coffee is Brazil. Most espressos blends use good quality Robusta beans because it produces more foamy heads and are cheaper than Arabica coffee beans. Aside from two main varieties of coffee (Arabica and Robusta), there are lesser grown and exotic varieties of coffee e.g. Liberica (where the Philippine Barako comes from) and Exelsa.
A specie of coffee grown on one region will have distinct characteristics from the same specie grown on another region. This is due to the the climate, soil and the processing of the beans. Coffee characteristics is defined by it's flavour (e.g. citrus-like, earthy), body, acidity and caffeine content. As a rule, the higher the altitude the coffee is grown, the higher the quality.
Health Benefits of Drinking Coffee
There are many conflicting and inconclusive studies on the health benefits of drinking coffee. Initial studies are encouraging and show that drinking coffee indeed have some health benefits. Here are the result of some recent research findings:
Type 2 Diabetes - Of all the studies conducted on the benefits of coffee, the most consistent is the lowered risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes or “adult-onset” diabetes among coffee drinkers. Studies show that the more coffee is consumed the lower the risk. Men who drank 6 cups or more a day cut their diabetes risk in half while women who drank the...