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When we drink coffee, a typical question is, "Regular or decaf?" But when we talk about coffee beans, a better question is, "Robusta or arabica?" That's because robusta and arabica are the two most common types of coffee beans roasted in the United States and around the world.

The history of the coffee bean begins in the ninth century, when it was first discovered in Ethiopia, and later made its way across the Red Sea to be cultivated as an agricultural crop in Yemen.

Arabica beans are grown at high elevations. They produce coffees with more palatable tastes and less caffeine than robusta beans, which are grown at lower elevations and tend to bring a more astringent flavor with the extra caffeine punch.

Sites like Coffee Beans 101 and CoffeeSage provide a good mix of news and basic knowledge about coffee beans and related products.

The Internet provides coffee lovers a chance to try more than big-roaster brands like Starbucks and Maxwell House. Specialty roasted coffee beans from fair-trade roasters like Larry's Beans and regional boutique roasters like Cashua Coffee are available for purchase online.

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