Posted in Kafevend Blog
As you are no doubt well aware, and especially if you've been reading the daily blog for a while, the vast majority of commercially available coffee comes from just two species: arabica and robusta. The extensive choice available at your local supermarket or coffee shop is simply a result of the number of varieties of arabica out there. Nevertheless, there are many other species of coffee being cultivated and today we're going to take a look at coffea benghalensis, or Bengal Coffee.
The beans themselves are larger than most, yet despite their size this is not by any means a hardy plant. The roots of the coffea benghalensis tree are thick and burrow readily into the ground, rendering it impossible to grow in a standard greenhouse. Commercial farmers have therefore cultivated it in natural floored greenhouses, but the cost and effort involved mean that benghalensis is a commercial risk and consequently relatively unknown.
The oil that is produced as a by product of the roasting process has antiseptic properties, so in the remote areas of Africa in which benghalensis is grown, it's used for medicinal purposes as well as for making the more traditional drink. While it differs starkly to robusta in terms of its hardiness, its taste profile has much in common; those who have tried it cite a very strong, bitter and earthy flavour. A further similarity is the high level of caffeine it contains. If you do manage to find some Bengal coffee to try, it's unlikely to have been blended with other varieties simply on account of the costs of producing it, so at least you'll have a very definite idea of its taste!