Coffee beans come from the seed of a fruit that grows in subtropical climates. The seeds are removed from the fruit and then roasted and packaged before being sold to coffee shops and stores around the world.
Coffee Bean Varieties
The two most common coffee species are Robusta and Arabica. Arabica plants grow at high altitudes and produce coffee beans with less caffeine and a smoother flavor. Robusta plants grow at lower altitudes and have beans with harsher flavors. These beans also have a higher caffeine content. Many coffee companies use both varieties of beans in their blended coffees.
The roasting process also affects the final product. The longer the coffee beans roast, the stronger the flavor of the final brew. For example, "regular roast" beans are medium-roasted for a basic coffee. Darker beans that are heavily roasted are called an Italian roast, and are used for espresso. Companies like Green Mountain sometimes mix lightly roasted beans with heavily roasted beans for their coffee blends, such as Green Mountain Coffee Harvard Blend.
To add more variety to their product lines, some companies develop specially flavored coffee blends by pairing certain roasts with non-traditional flavors like blueberry, vanilla, or almond. These flavored blends are offered seasonally. For example, Green Mountain's Fair Trade Pumpkin Spice flavored coffee, with its intermingled coffee, pumpkin, and cinnamon flavors, is popular as a dessert coffee around the holidays.
CoffeeForLess is an online coffee center offering a wide variety of flavored coffees in addition to more traditional blends. Many gourmet brands are represented at the store from Tully's Coffees and Lacas Coffee to Green Mountain Coffee and Starbucks.