Which Coffee Bean Is Best for You? A Guide Coffee Types and Your Palate

Which Coffee Bean Is Best for You? A Guide Coffee Types

Not everyone enjoys the same coffee flavors. Whether your a dark roast or a light roast kind of person, here’s a guide explaining the different coffee types.

In a fast-paced nation like the United States, it should be no surprise that 63% of Americans drink coffee daily, making coffee the country’s favorite beverage. 

But coffee offers more than a boost in energy, which is why there’s such a wide variety of coffee types.

For coffee connoisseurs, a cup of coffee made with the best coffee beans, roasted to perfection, and then artfully brewed, can be as enjoyable as drinking a fine wine.

They appreciate everything from the coffee’s aroma, texture, and complex flavors to its “body,” or how it feels in the mouth.

Understanding the various factors that affect the flavor and overall experience for the customer is key.

A Tale of Two Beans

In the United States, two beans dominate the coffee scene. Which one you choose depends on your taste and how you plan on drinking it.


You can’t go to a coffee shop without seeing this word written on a chalkboard menu. That’s because it’s the more popular of the two beans, accounting for at least 70% of coffee bean sales worldwide.

Ethiopia, the birthplace of the arabica bean, has many well-known regions for growing arabica beans, such as Yigacheffe and Harrar.

Sweeter than robusta due to its “fruity” flavor, it also has a more complex taste profile and is higher in nutrients due to being grown at a higher altitude. This makes arabica the best choice for people who want to drink it black.


Grown in hotter climates, such as Brazil and Vietnam, robusta’s higher caffeine content also serves as an insect repellent. This gives the beans a higher yield, resulting in lower costs. Robusta beans are usually grown at lower altitudes than the arabica beans.

This bean has a more bitter flavor, but it also has more caffeine. Perfect for people who want a quick jolt of caffeine, the robusta bean is most likely to make its appearance in espressos and instant coffees.

Although Americans tend to prefer sweet and salty tastes, the bitter, earthy, taste of robusta is appreciated in other countries. 

Vietnam is one of the largest producers of this bean, which is suited to Vietnamese-style coffee. Served over ice with sweetened condensed milk added to it, Vietnamese coffee offers an interesting contrast of sweet and bitter flavors.

Although considered “cheap” coffee by some, you can find high-quality, single-origin coffee made with robusta beans. Some people have even detected notes of chocolate in robusta beans.

Sometimes, the two beans are blended together. For example, a dark roast might contain mostly arabica beans with some robusta mixed in to create a more affordable coffee.

The Most Popular Coffee Types

Determining a coffee drinker’s type depends on a variety of factors. The type of drink, and the desired acidity, flavor, and caffeine levels all play a role.

For some coffee drinkers, even nutritional factors may affect their coffee choice. For example, organic coffee is growing in popularity.

Types of Roasts

Prior to roasting, coffee beans are green with a sponge-like texture. Roasting is what gives coffee its recognizable taste and aroma. There are four main types of roasts, which play a role in the taste and acidity level.


Light brown in color, these beans are slightly higher in caffeine. Light roasting is best for milder coffee varieties.

Medium and Medium Dark

These are the preferred roasts in the United States. As you might expect, the medium roast is darker in color than the light roast and has a stronger flavor. The medium-dark roast yields an even richer color and a bittersweet aftertaste.


The most bitter of the four, some of the more common dark roast varieties include Viennese, French, and Italian.

It may seem counterintuitive, but the darker the roast, the lower the acidity. This is perfect for the coffee drinker who lists high acidity as a concern.

Types of Drinks

The types of coffee that customers prefer depends on factors like taste and the amount of caffeine they desire at the time. Listed below are some of the most popular types.


Those who prefer black coffee often consider themselves to be “true” coffee drinkers. Drinking coffee black allows them to taste the complex flavors of the coffee without anything added.

While the arabica bean works best for coffee served black, the medium roast is probably the best bet if serving drip coffee to a high volume of customers.


Made with arabica beans and served in small cups, the espresso is for those who love strong, bitter coffee.

While you can technically make espresso with any roast, darker roasts seem to be the most preferred way to roast espresso beans.

In addition to being consumed black, as mentioned above, espresso is the foundation of many popular coffee drinks today, such as the ones listed below.


This water-diluted espresso is aptly named as a result of the American preference for less bitter coffee.

This is a good option for someone who wants the caffeine of espresso and enjoys a bitter flavor, but finds the bitterness of a regular espresso to be just a bit too much.


Rather than using water, the macchiato uses milk to cut the bitterness of the espresso. The name macchiato means “marked,” which makes sense because it is marked with a small amount of foamed milk on top.


Made with espresso and frothed milk that forms a foam on top, the cappuccino is named after the Capuchin friars of Italy, who wore coffee-colored robes. It is typically less bitter than a macchiato due to the higher amount of milk.

A close cousin of the cappuccino is the cortado. Originating in Spain, this drink is half espresso and half steamed milk.


Meaning “milk” in Italian, a latte has more milk than a cappuccino, but less foam. Although both are popular, they have very different flavors and textures.

The latte is more likely to have things added to it, such as pumpkin spice flavor in the fall or peppermint and chocolate in the winter.

The smooth, creamy texture of this drink combined with its versatility made it the most popular coffee drink in America in 2018.


This latte with chocolate added to it in some form is a year-round favorite. Even people who don’t like coffee can enjoy flavored lattes, such as the mocha.

Purchasing Coffee Beans

Everything affects the coffee experience for the customer, from the type of beans to how they are roasted, brewed, and served.

Although there are a wide variety of coffee types, using the highest-quality coffee beans is the most important step to brewing a cup of coffee your customers will remember.

Newsletter Signup

Contact Info

110 West A Street #110
San Diego – CA – 92101

Monday – Friday
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

    Your Samples
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Live Inventory