My name is Mike Jones, and I’m a barista at Third Rail Coffee right by Washington Square Park in New York City. I’m going to teach you some basic coffee-making skills.
Where do coffee beans come from? They are grown mostly in tropical climate at a higher altitude, at least that’s where the quality beans are going to be coming from. There are three main growing regions. This is Africa, Central/South America, and Indonesia. Some of the biggest coffee producing countries are Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, Sumatra. There are two main species of the coffee plant in general, and there’s arabica and robusta. And any specialty coffee is going to be arabica. There are some robustas that are in recent years of a higher quality, but still you won’t really see that at any reputable coffee show. The arabica is higher growing, lower yield, more susceptible to disease, and therefore a little bit more tricky to process. So depending on where a coffee is grown, it can taste vastly different. Even if it’s the same kind of coffee. Within the 2 main species, arabica and robusta, there are countless varietals, very similar to wine. So different kinds of trees, different strains. They’re named things like bourbon, catuai, caturra, there’s just an endless amount of names. It ranges from the altitude to what the weather was like that year, the humidity to what country it’s grown in. It all tastes different. You can have a Bourbon varietal for instance that’s grown in El Salvador or grown in Kenya and it will just taste completely different. And I think that’s one of the really interesting things about coffee, is just the endless range of flavors that you can discover. And some of them are just not repeatable at all, it just depends on that one harvest, that one climate, that one varietal. And that’s what makes it sort of a temporary exciting special thing.a