Coffee Explained

Statistics show coffee is the most popular drink worldwide. Just in the UK alone, the British Coffee Association estimates that 98 million cups of coffee are consumed every day! No wonder our population of coffee enthusiasts seek to try out different types of coffees, beans and roasts to enjoy a fantastic coffee.

Within this article all about coffee, we explain factors that affect our coffee flavour, from the type of coffee bean and species of coffee plant they come from to the type of roast that affects coffee flavour. This article also fully explains what the most popular coffees to drink are, how they are made and if you are local or visiting Cambridge, what is the best coffee shop in Cambridge to indulge your coffee taste buds in.

Coffee shop in Cambridge - The Sage of Cambridge

2 factors that affect coffee flavour

Types of coffee beans & species of coffee plant

One factor that affects coffee flavour is the difference in coffee beans, which has a highly significant impact on the taste of the coffee. There are more than a hundred varieties of coffee beans, such as Excelsa, Robusta, Liberica and Arabica, but the two most popular coffee beans served worldwide are the Arabica and Robusta.

The Arabica coffee was the earliest coffee species to be cultivated and is one of the most popular types of species of coffee bean drank today. Arabica coffee accounts for 60% of coffee production across the globe. There are several varieties of this coffee plant, but there are two dominant varieties of the Arabica: Typica and Bourbon. They largely grow in South America and are mainly used in high-end coffee drinks, due to their flavoursome taste always creating the best-tasting coffees.

The Arabica coffee bean can be identified by its flat dome and oval shape. The coffee beans of the Arabica coffee plant own the flavour of a smooth, sweet and delicate coffee taste, that many of us as coffee connoisseurs prefer.

The Robusta coffee is known for the caffeine kick a lot of us expect from a cup of coffee. This is due to the Robusta coffee bean having almost twice the amount of caffeine than the Arabica. This species of coffee plant is mainly cultivated in Indonesia and Vietnam, and predominantly derived from the Coffea Canephora plant. The Robusta coffee bean is smaller and more circular in size compared to the Arabica. The Robusta makes up about 25% of the world’s coffee production and is generally cheaper than the Arabica. The flavour of the coffee beans of the Robusta plant is described as an earthy, grainy, bitter and acidic taste, with a hint of chocolate and nutty tones.

The Arabica is typically much more expensive than the Robusta, due to the durability of the plants they are derived from. The Robusta can survive all year long, unlike the Arabika which is quite fragile. So if the price of your coffee is a priority, you know which to choose and why there is a variation in cost. If you are looking for a great-tasting coffee Arabica coffee is your best choice, but if you need a caffeine kick choose a coffee made with Robusta beans. If you would like a blend of both coffee beans, you can find coffee blends that mix the Arabica and Robusta together to give the perks of both coffee beans.

Type of roast

The second factor that affects coffee flavour is the type of roast. It takes years of training to become a professional at coffee roasting. There is only a matter of seconds between having a perfectly roasted coffee to a not-so-good batch. There are 4 standard categories of roasts: light, medium, medium-dark and dark roasts. To debunk a myth, the darker and stronger flavour of a dark roast does not correlate with a higher concentration of caffeine. The truth is that light and dark roasts have similar concentrations of caffeine, with only a very small variation.

Light roasts are light brown in colour and have a milder coffee taste and acidity hint to it, due to the short amount of time they were roasted. Roasting the coffee bean for this duration is not enough time for the oil inside the bean to break through to the surface. Medium roasts are brown in colour and have a stronger flavour with a balanced aroma and hint of acidity. Medium-dark roasts have a darker brown colour, as some oil has seeped through to the surface, resulting in a bittersweet aftertaste. The dark roasts are the darkest in colour and are of a shiny black colour. They have an oily surface and have a significant amount of bitterness in taste.

All of these coffee roasts produce great coffee depending on everyone’s individual coffee taste preference.

Types of popular coffee drinks

There are a vast amount of different coffee drinks, but here is how the top 6 popular coffee drinks are made.


Espresso Single: 1 shot of espresso

  • Highly concentrated coffee
  • Also known as short black

Espresso Double: 2 shots of espresso

  • Also known as doppio which is the Italian word for double
  • Highly concentrated and strong coffee

Espresso Macchiato Single: 1 shot of espresso topped with a dollop of heated foamed milk

  • Concentrated coffee
  • Also served in a small 2-4 oz cup

Espresso Macchiato Double: 2 shots of espresso topped with a dollop of heated foamed milk

  • Highly concentrated strong coffee
  • Served in a 3-4 oz cup


1 shot of espresso with 2 oz of steamed milk and on occasion a layer of foamed milk

  • Piccolo translates into ‘small’ in Italian
  • Typically served in a 3-4 oz glass


1-2 shots of espresso + 2 oz. of steamed milk + 2 oz. of foamed milk + sprinkling of chocolate powder which is optional

  • Served in a 6-8 oz cappuccino mug
  • Creamy coffee drink, popular at breakfast time
  • Due to the thick foam layer, the cappuccino is associated with indulgence and comfort


1 shot of espresso + 8-10 oz of steamed milk + 1cm of foam

  • Latte is considered an introductory coffee drink for new coffee users, due to the acidity and bitterness of the coffee taste being hidden by the amount of milk
  • Typically different flavouring syrups are added to the drink for those with sweeter tooth

Flat White

2 shots of espresso and 4 oz of steamed milk

  • Served in a 6 oz glass Tumbler
  • Originates from New Zealand and Australia
  • Similar to a cappuccino but lacks the foam layer and chocolate powder


1 shot of espresso and 3oz of hot water


  • Popular breakfast drink
  • Served in a 5-6 oz glass coffee mug
Cambridge cafe-The Sage of Cambridge

The Sage of Cambridge

To enjoy any one of these coffees above, The Sage of Cambridge is a cosy and friendly coffee shop in Cambridge, that takes pride in serving their speciality coffees. The Sage of Cambridge is inspired by the heritage of the Fellows of Cambridge, depicting this with artwork dedicated to the Fellows, all in a luxurious inviting coffee shop. Each one of the coffees is created using the Resolute from Origin Coffee, which can be enjoyed with different notes such as nectarine, honey and white chocolate. For decaffeinated coffees, The Sage of Cambridge uses Atlas Decaf which uses an all-natural Sugarcane process and can be enjoyed with notes of apple, chocolate, and caramel. The Sage also offers a unique Matcha latte that is hard to find across coffee shops in Cambridge. Whether you are in Cambridge for a visit, work, or a local, this coffee shop in Cambridge is always open for you to pop in to enjoy a fantastic coffee or try out the Matcha latte to enlighten your taste buds. At The Sage of Cambridge, every coffee can be enjoyed with fresh baked goods like pastries and cakes. Other drink options are also available like classic tea and healthy juice.

This luxury cafe in Cambridge also serves delicious breakfast and lunch menus, including dishes like smashed avocado, pancakes and paninis. The Sage of Cambridge is open every day from 8 am until 4 pm, perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch and tea time. If you enjoyed the coffee so much, you can purchase a bag of Resolute from Origin Coffee to take home to enjoy the great coffee in the comfort of your own home. The Sage of Cambridge is an excellent coffee shop in Cambridge and a great place to start your day at.

Cafe in Cambridge - The Sage of Cambridge

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Cork & Canvas May

What’s on at The Sage of Cambridge

Look through the monthly events we are currently hosting and be a part of the ones that suit you! From Cork and Canvas, Wine tasting, Kids Crafts and many more unique events across our café, restaurant and hotel.