Is there a method exist to understand the type of the beans in a blend?

More specifically, I will be glad if I can find a quantitative way

  • to determine the origins of the beans in a blend
  • or if this is not possible, to determine whether the beans are from Africa or America (or Robusta)
  • if possible, with relatively easy gadgets that I can find at every house. No gas chromatography, FT-IR, etc.

Apart from that, any other suggestions?

1 Answer 1


The short answer is no. Short of genetic testing, it is near impossible to determine the origin of beans.

You may be able to make an educated guess at the whether or not Robusta beans are in the blend based the shapes of the beans and caffeine content. But that would require a trained eye as as there is a great amount of variation in beans and it might be possible to mix up robusta, natural peaberrys, etc. Robusta will raise the caffeine content, but depending on the blended amount, it may be hard to detect.

  • For the Robusta / Arabica part, see also this answer about the differences between those two types
    – hoc_age
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 12:36
  • I still would not trust anyone not deeply in the trade to be able to reliably pick them out. Even then, it wouldn't tell you the origin of the robusta. Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 14:32
  • I was afraid of that. It's trying to smell a flower in a perfume. Technically, even if you have the fingerprint of a special kind of bean from a FTIR, you can search for the same fingerprint in the blend. Still, you may miss them and of course the preparation method is changing the FTIR reads.
    – MTSan
    Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 7:12

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