Different types of Coffee

Coffee falls into the stomach … ideas begin to move, things remembered arrive at full gallop … the shafts of wit start up like sharp-shooters, similes’ arise, the paper is covered with ink … – Honoré de Balzac

Coffee Beans

Coffee Beans (Image source: morgueFile.com)

Coffee lovers the world over can vouch for the magical effect a cup of coffee has on their physical, and psychological well being and how the heady aroma of a cup of coffee, which ‘smells like freshly ground heaven’, can help you in a myriad ways. The drink most sought after, either while preparing for an exam, the coffee break in the office, coffee taken to help relax your nerves and finally drinking coffee to feel good, makes the humble coffee bean a widely sought after commodity. Irrespective of certain health issues connected to coffee consumption, scientists have suggested that a cup of coffee may in fact help you stay healthy! Coffee contains antioxidants which help prevent the oxygen radicals produced in our body which are responsible for damaging the DNA. Coffee also has a positive effect on brain health as caffeine present in coffee helps to speed up the activity in the neurons. It also helps to lower levels of insulin and estrogen and lowers the risk of diabetes and heart diseases. So go ahead and have your cuppa without having the guilt attached to it!


History of Coffee
Coffee Tree

Coffee berries growing on the bush. The seeds inside, when roasted, become coffee beans. (Image source: sxc.hu)

Coffee (Coffea rubiaceas) is obtained from the seed of the plant which grows best in volcanic soil in Tropical and Subtropical climates around the world. Best grown at an altitude of around 5,000 feet above sea level, this plant grows approximately to a height of 15 feet. Having its roots in Africa, coffee is now produced almost throughout the world with Brazil and Colombia being the highest exporters of coffee. There are three main varieties of the coffee bean, also known as cherry; the Coffea Arabica, Coffea Robusta and Coffea Liberica with the Coffea Arabica being the most popularly consumed. Unlike tea, drinking coffee is fairly new to the inhabitants of our earth and was ‘invented’ only in the fifteenth century and confined to Arabia till the sixteenth century. The story goes that the coffee plant was discovered in the province of Kaffa, located in the Horn of Africa, when a local shepherd saw some goats consuming the cherries of the coffee plant upon which they became more alert and energetic.


Different types of coffee

Coffee is prepared and consumed in a variety of ways the world over and as a result of globalization there are different types of coffee beverages available in the coffee houses today, which most of are totally unaware of. We keep hearing of Cappuccino, Espresso, latte and Frappe, but most us have no idea how they taste. I have attempted to describe briefly the different types of coffee available.


Indian Filter Coffee:
Also known as South Indian Filter coffee or Kaapi, this type of coffee is most popular in the southern states of India including Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.South Indian Filter Coffee It is brewed from dark roasted coffee beans (70% – 80%) and Chicory (20% – 30%) added to milk and sugar.  Coffee beans are grown mainly on the slopes of the Malabar hills, Nilgris, Kodaikanal and Yercaud. ‘The one yard coffee’ where men in wayside coffee shops throw coffee high in the air between two glasses is a fascinating sight to watch and the taste and the aroma of this coffee is an experience to remember.


Instant Coffee or Soluble Coffee: This is one of the most convenient methods to make coffee and hence is the most popular in most homes. Available in most supermarkets as granules or soluble powder, the taste and aroma of instant coffee however, often gets compromised.

 Instant Coffee

Cold Coffee: Another favorite amongst coffee lovers, cold coffee is served, as the name suggests, iced with coffee, milk, sugar, grated ice, topped with a dollop of fresh cream.


Espresso: Espresso is traditionally pure coffee served without milk and most recipes revolve around single or double shots of Espresso.


Cappuccino: This coffee has become very familiar in India these days and one of the most preferred types of coffee for most coffee lovers. Prepared with espresso, hot milk and steamed milk foam, Cappuccino is traditionally served in a porcelain cup and the thick layer of foam on the top helps to keep the coffee hot for a longer period of time.


Affogato: This coffee based beverage or dessert is made by topping a drink or dessert with a shot of espresso.


Café au lait: A French coffee beverage which is served with a dash of scalded milk, usually in the ratio of 1:1.


Caffe Latte: This is made by mixing Espresso and milk in the ratio of 2:1 with a little foam added at the top. This is a familiar blend of coffee available at most restaurants.


Caffè MochaCafé Mocha: Similar to Caffe Latte, this coffee is made using one third espresso and two third steamed milk along with a portion of chocolate. In the US it is also referred to as  Cappuccino with chocolate.


Greek Frappe Coffee: The word Frappe in French means shaken and /or chilled and is a popular drink served that originated in Greece and is now served in many other countries. It is made from spray dried instant coffee covered by a layer of foam and served chilled.


Mocha Coffee: One of the most preferred types of coffee, it tastes great and is very easy to prepare. To one cup of hot brewed coffee add one tablespoon sugar, two tablespoons milk and a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder. Different types of flavoring can also be added like strawberry and raspberry.


Liqueur Coffee: Not yet very popular in India this type of coffee is brewed by adding any variety of liqueurs to it like whiskey, brandy, rum or even vodka. Usually served in a clear, pre-heated liqueur glass, this brew is made by first adding 25 ml of liqueur of choice along with a teaspoon of raw cane sugar. Strong fresh filter coffee is then carefully poured above this and a spoonful of fresh and slightly whipped cream is skillfully added on top so as to make it float. This tri layered coffee drink provides for a great visual as well as taste effect.

 Liqueur coffee

Coffee Facts
  • The largest insurance market in the world, Lloyd’s of London, began life as a coffeehouse. It was started in 1688 by Edward Lloyd, who prepared lists of the ships that his customers had insured.
  • Both the New York Stock Exchange and the Bank of New York started in coffeehouses in what is today known as Wall Street.
  • The Boston Tea Party Of 1773 was planned in a coffee house, the Green Dragon.
  • In 1730 the British introduced coffee to Jamaica, where today the most famous and expensive coffee in the world is grown in the Blue Mountains.


Coffee has become very popular in India during the last few years and has become the favorite drink of not only traditional drinkers but also the young and trendy generation. The youth of today are not averse to spending time chilling out at the various coffee houses which have sprung up at most of the nooks and corners of big and small cities.

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