roasted coffee beans

All About Coffee Beans

A guide to the four most common types of coffee beans: Arabica, Robust, Liberica and Excelsa.

Coffee beans are a vital part of the coffee brewing process, but this is obvious considering that is what coffee is made from. For some of us, coffee is an essential part of our morning or daily routine, but how much do we actually know about the beans that create our drinks? Keep reading to learn a bit about the different types!

The four most common types of coffee beans are: Arabica, Robusta (sometimes called Canephora), Liberica and Excelsa. Arabica and Robusta are the two most popular types of beans due to how common they are.

Arabica Coffee Beans

These coffee beans make up about 60% of the coffee in the world, and it is thought to be the first cultivated coffee bean. Arabica coffee originated from the highlands of Ethiopia, this type of coffee bean grows best at high altitudes and this is because the beans are very fragile. The ideal point for growing them is between two and six thousand feet above sea level, and in the wild these plants can grow up to 40 feet tall.

Arabica Coffee Beans
Coffee Arabica actually has a low amount of caffeine compared to other beans, and surprisingly this is to our benefit. Each bean contains around 1.5 or 2 percent caffeine per volume at most. These beans will produce a brew that will give you the perfect morning lift and leave you feeling rejuvenated, rather than making you feel jittery and uncomfortable (we all know the feeling). It also creates the perfect amount of acidity and gives a nice smooth taste.

 

Robusta Coffee Beans

Canephora coffee beans, more commonly known as Robusta, make up about 40% of the world's coffee. It originated in central and western sub-Saharan Africa. Robusta coffee comes from the Canephora plant which is why some people know them as Canephora coffee beans. These beans grow at a low altitude, from sea level up to about 600 metres.

Robusta Coffee Beans

Compared to Arabica it is a more sturdy and rich, and is very highly immune to diseases and pests which often harm crops. This is due to its high caffeine content, it has about 2.7 percent caffeine per volume, which is a large bit more than Arabica. The high caffeine levels work as natural pesticides protecting the crop.

Robusta beans produce a grainy tasting coffee which has a bitterness to it. Espressos are the preferred way to enjoy Robusta coffee beans as they create a thicker crema than arabica beans, an even with it's high caffeine content it still has a smooth taste to it. Once the coffee is brewed correctly you can enjoy a delicious coffee drink to your liking.

 

Liberica Coffee Beans

Liberica is one of the rarest coffee beans around, accounting for 1.5 percent or less of coffee grown commercially. It was first grown in western and central Africa, and then was first commercially grown in the Philippines. The majority of our Liberica coffee beans come from South Asia. Due to how rare it is, Liberica is much more pricey than arabica and Robusta coffee beans. The beans are also significantly larger than arabica and Robusta beans.

Liberica Coffee Beans

The Liberica coffee bean tree is larger than the coffee Arabica tree and more sturdy. Liberica coffee has a very unique taste of some sweet citrus and bitter chocolate flavours, and has very low acidity. Now, it would be difficult to enjoy a cup of coffee brewed from low quality Liberica beans, it would taste somewhat woody, earthy and harsh. But if you do manage to get your hands on high quality Liberica beans you will be in for a treat.

 

Excelsa Coffee Beans

The Excelsa coffee beans account for about 7 percent of the words commercially grown coffee beans. The Excelsa coffee beans was classified as a member of the Liberica family in 2006, but these two beans are in fact very different. It was re-classified because it grows at similar altitudes to Liberica an has the same shape as the Liberica beans. Excelsa coffee beans are cultivated in Southeast Asia today but it was discovered in Central Africa.

As it is now a member of the Liberica familly, many producers sell Liberica coffee beans under the label 'Excelsa'. This has allowed farmers to lose incentive to produce high quality Excelsa beans as they do not need to. This has led to a decrease in the quality of Excelsa coffee beans which is a shame. 

Excelsa Coffee Beans
Excelsa coffee beans are said to produce a fruity, woody and berry like taste, as the roast gets darker you can begin to taste some hints of chocolate and cream. It's quite rare to find authentic Excelsa coffee beans since they   became classified as part of the Liberica family and many are saying that it is not suitable for widespread cultivation so we may not hear much more about it.

 

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