Coffee, like a fine wine, depends on blend

COFFEE is an amazing thing, it generally grows between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer, in what may be considered a small band of high humidity, perhaps even rugged terrain.

It's generally split into two categories, arabica and robusta. Arabica likes high altitude and is more sensitive to pests, whereas robusta is hardier, will grow in low lying areas and is used for instant coffee.

In reality this is no more than a rule of thumb because, for example, coffee is grown around Byron Bay, well below the Capricorn, and we don't have a lot of the pests so the coffee is more stable.

We don't have high mountains, yet the arabica grown is stable and naturally lower in caffeine, allowing for more delicate floral tones to emerge.

Robusta doesn't have to be used only in instant brews, it has its own characteristics and can enhance the arabica blend immeasurably in small amounts.

Adverts pushing arabica coffee, like there are no other options that could be good enough amuse me.

It's like going back to the 1980s when only chardonnay and shiraz would be consumed in certain circles.

Forget the other varieties that weren't in vogue, but have since gone on to great things. There are over 120 varieties of arabica, so to say you only use arabica is like saying I only wear leather shoes.

So why do we go into a cafe and expect the same flavour profile as every other cafe?

I recently ordered two bags of single origin coffee, one arrived from Ethiopia and has cherries, glace fruit and earthy tones the other from Venezuela and has cocoa, toasted nuts and citrus notes.

With such variation, how can you expect coffee to taste the same?

It's like having a traditional Scotch blend, say Johnnie Walker, and expecting it to taste like a Chivas Regal.

Drink safe, drink coffee.

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