Coffee is big business. So to make sure a product stands out on a crowded shelf, java manufacturers have created a new wave of label claims, such as “shade grown” and “100% Arabica Beans.” Some of these promises are meaningful, but plenty are meaningless and will only waste your money. To spot the difference and firmly establish yourself as a coffee connoisseur, click ahead for The Truth About Coffee.

 

The Claim: "100% Arabica Beans"

 

Coffee beans come in two main varieties: arabica and robusta. Of the two, arabica beans deliver the most complex flavors, but because they’re more difficult to grow—i.e. more expensive—commercial roasters such as Folgers often fill out their blends with cheap robusta beans. That makes for a cup with big body but low acid, which means it’s heavy in the mouth but not particularly interesting to the tongue. Small-scale craft roasters don’t generally bother putting this information on the bag, but that’s fine considering most of them wouldn’t dare to pollute their coffee with robustas. But when you’re shopping the commercial blends in the supermarket, you should seek this claim.

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