What Are the 4 Different Types of Coffee Beans?

A lot goes into making the perfect cup of coffee. The right amount of water, the brewing time, and the brewing method, all have to be carefully selected to make the best coffee. However, the importance of choosing the right coffee beans should never be undermined. No matter how careful you are with the preparation, using substandard coffee beans is a recipe for disaster. Different types of coffee beans taste different, are used in different recipes, and are made using different brewing methods.

There are 4 different types of coffee beans

Different Types of Coffee Beans

Arabica Coffee Beans

The first type of coffee beans we will be discussing today is Arabica. Arabica coffee or Arabian coffee comes from the plant of the same name, which belongs to the Rubiaceae family of coffee plants. Arabica coffee makes up for the majority of the world’s coffee production and is considered to be the best coffee in the world. These beans make up for 60% of the coffee cultivation, and while the beans are called Arabica, or Arabian, they are grown in nations all across the world.

Arabica coffee beans are said to be the first coffee to be harvested and can be traced back to Ethiopia. The beans were first harvested in the 12th century, and the earliest cultivation is said to be in Yemen.

Today, Ethiopia is the biggest producer of Arabica coffee beans in the world. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, it will go on to increase its production to 457’200 MT in 2021/2022.

Arabica coffee is considered the best type of coffee in the world.

The Arabica coffee plant bloom to give white flowers that are 12-16mm in diameter. These flowers grow in clusters and form fruits in the form of drupes. These drupes contain two seeds inside, and these seeds are what we call coffee beans. These drupes are 11-16mm in diameter and are bright red when they are immature. Once these drupes mature, they turn purple. Drupes from the Arabica coffee plant are also called cherries.

The quality of the coffee beans produced from the plant depends on the time that the cherry is picked. Berries that are picked before they are ripe, and berries that are left to get overripe, both produce coffee beans of inferior quality. To ensure only the perfectly ripe berries are plucked, they are chosen by hand. This takes a lot of time and labor, which is why excellent quality Arabica coffee beans can be pricey.

There is a reason why Arabica coffee is so famous, and why so many brands advertise their coffee as 100% pure Arabica coffee. The coffee is so popular amongst people because it’s smooth, strong, and yet surprisingly has no bitterness to it. You get the caffeine hit you crave, without having to bear the bitter aftertaste that some cheaper varieties of coffee leave behind.

Arabica coffee is very expensive because of its smooth taste

Robusta Coffee Beans

Robusta coffee, or coffee canephora, originates in Africa, from the Western Sahara Desert. This like Arabica coffee also belongs to the Rubiaceae family of flowering plants. The plant, coffee canephora, produces the remaining 43% of the world’s coffee after coffee Arabica. It has two varieties, robusta, and nganda.

Robusta is the second most famous variety out of all the different types of coffee beans. It is the biggest competitor of Arabica coffee beans, however, cannot compete with them directly. This is because Robusta beans have a bitter taste to them, and taste a little woody. The acidity of the beans is also lower, and Arabica beans are a lot fruitier.

The Robusta plant goes up to 10 meters tall and has a shallow root system. The biggest drawback about the production of Robusta coffee beans is that the plant flowers irregularly. Additionally, when it does produce berries, it can take them about 9-11 months for the oval-shaped berries to ripen.

Robusta coffee is bitter and has a high caffeine content

However, the production of Robusta coffee beans is also beneficial. Robusta coffee beans contain more caffeine, and antioxidants than Arabica coffee beans, and because they are less fruity, they also contain less sugar. This makes Robusta coffee better than Arabica coffee for people that are conscious about weight gain.

While Robusta coffee is considered inferior to Arabica coffee, it has its importance, an example of which can be seen in Italy. People in Italy love Robusta for its strong taste, and earthy flavor. It is most notably used in espresso to give it more strength, and a finer finish. Most coffee producers also mix Robusta with Arabica, as Robusta is cheaper.

While the coffee originates from Africa, it is grown in Indonesia, Vietnam, and Brazil to name some of the biggest producers of the coffee. It is also grown in Latin America, and some parts of Asia too.

Robusta beans are the second best coffee beans in the world

Liberica Coffee Beans

After Robusta and Arabica, Liberica coffee makes up the remaining 1% of the world’s coffee supply. Liberica, another member of the Rubiaceae coffee family, is native to Africa, both the central and the western region. The cultivation of the plant is done in Indonesia, Malaysia, Andaman, Seychelles, and the Philippines.

The Liberica coffee plant is taller than both Robusta, and Arabica plants. It can reach up to 20m or 66 ft. high and creates fruits the size of berries like the Arabica plant. However, unlike the other types of coffee beans, Liberica beans are asymmetrical. They are shorter on one side than the other, which gives the beans a different look at the end.

The origins of coffee Liberica lie in the Philippines, and it was first grown in the city of Lipa. The plant was grown there for the beans because they fetched a good price when sold.  The coffee beans once again increased in value when the other species of coffee plants were affected by the coffee rust. Liberica proved to be resistant, which made people rush to buy the beans at increased prices.

Liberica coffee beans are grown in the Philippines

Liberica coffee beans aren’t popular in the world but are still cultivated in the Philippines, and Malaysia, and some parts of the Amazon Rain Forest. In Malaysia, Liberica makes up 95% of the coffee market. In the European parts of the world, coffee receives no credit.

While people prefer Arabica for the smooth taste, and Robusta for the strong profile, Liberica has its fans too. The coffee contains nutty, smoky, and floral flavors, with hints of dark chocolate in it. This hint of dark chocolate makes the coffee unique amongst the other coffee choices. In contrast, some people feel Liberica beans taste metallic and bitter.

The beans are mixed with other varieties to give the brew a hint of chocolate flavor. Mixing Liberica beans with other coffees also gives their flavor more depth.

Excelsa Coffee Beans

Excelsa is the rarest type of coffee in the world and is grown in Chad, West Africa. Since the uncertain weather conditions of chad don’t allow for a lot of production of Excelsa coffee, it is extremely expensive. The coffee beans are tough to source too.

Excelsa beans are very rare and expensive

Excelsa belongs to the Liberica family of coffee beans, and is one of the top coffee beans.  While the plant is grown in tough conditions and can survive without a lot of water, the lack of suitable conditions doesn’t affect the plant’s growth. The Excelsa coffee plant can rise to 16 m tall and is the tallest species of the coffee plant after the Liberica plants. The flowers of the Excelsa plant need to be pollinated to be developed into a fruit, which means the beans need about 10-12 months to be ready to pick.

Excelsa coffee is said to taste tart, fruity and dark. On its own, it provides a warming, smooth brew. When brewed with other varieties of coffee, Excelsa coffee excites the middle and back palate, giving the coffee more depth.

All You Need to Know About the 4 Different Types of Coffee
Name of CoffeeHeight of PlantTaste of the CoffeeWhere It Is GrownHow It Is UsedBrands That Sell the Coffee
Arabica2.4-4.5 meters-Smooth

 

-Strong

-But there is no bitterness

-Indonesia

 

-Brazil

-Latin America

-Africa

-Ethiopia

Gourmet coffees

 

 

-La Colombe Corsica Blend.

 

-Stumptown Coffee Roasters -Hair Bender Whole Bean Coffee.

-Death Wish Coffee Co

-Peet’s Coffee

-Equal Exchange Organic Whole Bean Coffee.

Robusta10 meter tall-Strong taste

 

-Bitter

-Earthy flavor

-Hint of woodiness

-Africa

 

-Indonesia

-Brazil

-India

-Papa New

-Guinea

-Latin America

Instant coffee

 

Espresso

Filler in addition to other coffees

-Biohazard Ground Coffee

 

-Cannonball Coffee

-Bach Vietnamese Coffee

-Death Wish Organic Coffee

-Caffe Borbone

Liberica20 meter tall-Nutty

 

-Smoky

-Floral

-Hint of dark chocolaty taste

-Metallic

-Bitter

-Philippines

 

-Indonesia

-Malaysia

Used as a blending coffee to be added to other brews-Artisans coffee

 

-Huan Tuah Malaysian Coffee

-Chest brew

-A lot of local brands sell Liberica coffee

Excelsa16 meter tall-Tart

 

-Fruity

-Dark

-West African country Chad.Is brewed by itself and enjoyedThis is rare and is supplied by shippers. Excelsa coffee is not sold commercially.

Conclusion

It can hard to decide the perfect type of coffee for your cup. A good variety of coffee provides extraordinary flavor, and you need to choose the coffee according to your palate. If you need something with a hint of dark chocolate, you should go for Excelsa, if you want something strong and earthy, Robusta is the way to go.  If something strong, but without bitterness is your choice, go with Arabia. However, the right brewing method also contributes to the perfect cup of coffee. You can read more about the different brewing methods here-What Are the Most Popular Coffee Brewing Methods?

Bilal Ahmad

Bilal Ahmad

A coffee enthusiast on his way to exploring more about coffee while helping others solve all their Coffee Queries!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.