Every type of coffee has its own unique flavour, so every time you taste a different kind, rate it on a scale from sweet to acidic. The latter is not necessarily a bitter taste, but a lively or tart flavour.
Most speciality shops sell only arabica coffees. As a general rule, arabica beans produce a tastier cup of coffee than the more common and less expensive robusta beans. Arabica beans evoke a stronger taste, and surprisingly, contain less caffeine than robusta beans. Cappuccino and espresso are usually made from arabica.
Taste testing is a fun way to learn just what types of coffee please your palate. Many coffee speciality stores have several brands made up for you to sample, or you can start by buying two or three types and trying them at home. Here’s a quick guide to different flavours and their common brands:
Mild, sweet coffee: Hawaiian Kona or Jamaican Blue Mountain
Medium strength, acidic coffee: Guatemala Antigua, Costa Rican Tarrazu, or Tanzanian Peaberry
Medium strength, sweet coffee: Colombia Supremo
Strong, acidic coffee: Viennese
Strong, sweet coffee: Kenya AA or Sumatra Mandheling
Very strong, acidic coffee: French Roast or Puerto Rican Blend