A Tasting Adventure: Exploring the 4 Coffee Bean Varieties
Coffee enthusiasts frequently enjoy a cup of their favorite brew first thing in the morning without giving much thought to the origin and qualities of the coffee beans used. Understanding the many coffee bean varieties, on the other hand, can increase your appreciation for the beverage and assist you in selecting the best beans for your preferred flavor profile. We will look at the four basic types of coffee beans in this article: Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsa. Each variety has its own distinct set of traits, flavor profiles, and growing circumstances. So, let us explore the world of coffee beans!
How Many Coffee Bean Varieties Are There?
You’re not alone if you’ve ever wondered how many coffee bean varieties different there are. Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsa are the four essential coffee bean varieties. The taste, popularity, and growing requirements of these beans vary, making each variety distinct and intriguing.
Arabica Coffee Beans
Arabica beans account for over 60% of global coffee output and so dominate global coffee consumption. These beans are thought to be the earliest coffee beans ever drank, having originated thousands of years ago in the Ethiopian highlands. Arabica gets its name from its prominence in 7th-century Arabia (modern-day Yemen).
Arabica beans are well-known for their outstanding flavor and are favoured by many upmarket coffee companies. Arabica beans require shade, plenty of water, and high altitudes to thrive. Arabica plants require a minimum elevation of roughly 2,000 feet because they are more sensitive to crop diseases. These plants are tiny, reaching a height of 8 to 15 feet. Arabica beans have a smooth, rich flavor that varies depending on the production region, from earthy Indonesian to fragrant Ethiopian.
Robusta Coffee Beans
Robusta beans are the second most commonly grown coffee beans and are primarily cultivated in Africa and Indonesia. They have gained popularity in Vietnam and are often included in coffee blends. Robusta beans are larger and rounder compared to other types of coffee beans. The plants themselves grow taller, reaching heights between 15 and 20 feet.
Robusta beans are known for their resilience, as they can grow at lower elevations and are more resistant to crop diseases. However, they are often perceived as more bitter and have a higher caffeine content than Arabica beans. While specialty coffee enthusiasts may have a preference for Arabica, exploring Robusta beans can offer a unique coffee experience.
Liberica Coffee Beans
Liberica, named after Liberia in central and western Africa, is a coffee bean variety highly regarded for its pungent flowery scent and robust, smoky flavor. Liberica beans are typically larger and have an irregular shape, resembling Robusta beans in size and appearance due to their origin from larger coffee plants.
The Liberica plant thrives in hot and muggy weather and grows well at low elevations. Currently, Liberica beans account for approximately 2% of the world’s coffee production and are primarily grown in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. However, it is relatively rare to find Liberica beans in North America. Liberica coffee has a divisive reputation among coffee enthusiasts due to its wildly inconsistent flavor. Some love its nutty, woody flavor with a subtle aftertaste, while others find it less appealing.
Excelsa Coffee Beans
Excelsa beans were previously categorized as a distinct coffee species but have now been recognized as a variation of Liberica. These elongated oval-shaped beans are predominantly grown in Southeast Asia and can be found on large coffee plants reaching heights of up to 30 feet.
Excelsa beans offer a unique taste profile that blends dark roast flavors with characteristics of light roasts, such as acidic notes and fruity flavors. They have a distinct depth of flavor, lower fragrance, and caffeine content.
Choosing the Right Coffee Bean Varieties
Several variables must be considered while selecting the best coffee bean for your daily cup. Choose 100% Arabica beans if you want the best flavor and don’t mind paying a bit more. Many upmarket coffee brands utilize these beans because they have a smooth and rich flavor.
Consider Robusta or a blend of Arabica and Robusta if you’re on a budget or prefer a higher caffeine level. However, be warned that the drink may be bitterer than usual. Liberica or Excelsa beans can be fantastic selections for individuals looking for a distinctive and rare experience. Keep in mind that discovering these beans may necessitate a more thorough search.
Conclusion: Exploring the 4 Coffee Bean Varieties
Understanding the different types of coffee beans allows coffee enthusiasts to expand their knowledge and appreciate the diverse flavors and characteristics each variety offers. Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsa beans each have their unique attributes, taste profiles, and growing requirements. Whether you prefer the smoothness of Arabica, the resilience of Robusta, the robustness of Liberica, or the distinctiveness of Excelsa, there is a coffee bean variety to suit every palate. So, explore and savor the world of coffee beans, and choose the one that entices your taste buds.