Know Your Beans: A Field Guide to Coffee


Extracting the finest details on coffee from our experts.

[Photos: Liz Clayton]

Even if you're just a casual coffee lover, you've got a basic bean-spotter's vocabulary down, I'm sure. "Dark roast" is going to look darker than "light roast", and things called "Italian", "French" or "Viennese" may be distractingly dark and shiny.

But have you ever explored the layers beyond—or even before—everyday roasted coffee? We offer this first in a series of pictorial field guides to help expand your visual vocabulary, one bean at a time.

Pacamara-sized thanks to Roast Queen Anne Cooper of Dallis Bros. Coffee in New York City for providing most of the samples in this piece!

About the author: Liz Clayton drinks, photographs and writes about coffee and tea all over the world, though she pretends to live in Brooklyn, New York. She is currently compiling photographs of the best coffee in the world to be published by Presspop later this year.