Coffee has been one of those universal drinks that has had the ability to bring people together for centuries. Coffee is powerful in so many ways as it has been able to offer a good energy boost for those in need of it and have become a symbol of a society that is constantly developing socially. Since the time coffee beans were found and made, people from hundreds of years ago until now have had the opportunity to use coffee as an enigmatic drinking experience that provides high energy and gives one the ability to socialize and learn from the world around them. It is often crazy to imagine that delicious and creamy drinks we enjoy come from tiny little beans. All that caffeine and flavor powered and packed in a single tiny little coffee bean, makes one realize how potent and important coffee really is to us, offering a more appreciative understanding of coffee. Today though we take the spotlight off of the coffee drink itself and turn our attention towards the little beans that are the forefront behind the concept of coffee to begin with. It is so easy for people to praise the actual coffee drink, but we often spend so much time on the way coffee can be made and enjoyed that we can naturally forget all about the little beans that make the coffee drink what it is today. So, cheers to the little ones, this article is for you, we promise you were never forgotten!
Types of Coffee Beans
Today we will focus on on a little information regarding each type of coffee bean that circulates the world currently. For all those avid coffee drinkers (or perhaps people who have not had such a positive coffee experience), here is the lowdown on what to expect from each coffee bean out there and which coffee beans to look for when trying to understand what type of coffee flavor that you enjoy going for. The four different types of coffee beans we will focus on today are coffee arabica, coffee robusta, coffee liberica, and coffee exceisa (aka coffee liberica var. dewevrei). These are the four coffee beans that are known to be cultivated and circulated around the world and it is these coffee beans that we will direct our attention to for today!
The first coffee bean we will focus on is known as coffee arabica. Coffee arabica can also be known as “the coffee shrub of Arabia”, “mountain coffee”, or “arabica coffee. This type of coffee bean is actually the most popular coffee bean of all the coffee beans cultivated and sold worldwide, making this coffee bean the dominator of the coffee market. Coffee arabica is originally from Ethiopia and this specific coffee bean is known to grow in conditions where it is humid and the soil is known to be deep and crumbly. This type of coffee bean is also known to be a bit of a diva, considering that it needs to grow in near perfect conditions with the right weather and soil. One of the reasons that may contribute to why coffee arabica is a lot more popular around the coffee market than robusta could be related to the fact that coffee arabica beans are thought to have a much better taste than any of the other coffee beans out there. Many people who have tried the taste of coffee made from the arabica beans report that the coffee tastes sweeter, softer, and contain tons of sugar, fruit, floral scents, and berries. This is not the case for coffee robusta beans and for that reason coffee arabica frequents coffee shops and markets way more than any other coffee bean in existence. They have a higher acidity similar to wine and for that reason produce a sort of wine taste that many people find enjoyable to drink. One drawback of the coffee arabica bean is the fact that they are a lot harder to grow and cultivate compared to the other coffee beans, which additionally makes them more expensive. There are a variety of places that produce the coffee arabica bean such as countries in Latin America like Brazil and Colombia. These places are the most predominant places where the arabica coffee bean is cultivated, but other countries and continents can grow them as well like Africa and Papua New Guinea.
Coffee robusta is the second most common coffee bean produced in the world after coffee arabica. This coffee bean originates from the plant known as the Coffee canephora, which is known to produce beans that are low in acidity and high in bitterness. This coffee bean is known to be used more for instant coffees, espressos, and as a filler for ground up coffee blends. The coffee robusta is not a diva, like the arabica bean is, when it comes to cultivation. This type of coffee bean can actually grow in places of low altitude which coffee arabica beans fail to do and can also produce twice as much caffeine as the arabica bean is. They produce their fruit a lot quicker, are less vulnerable to the threat of pests and weather conditions and offer more yield per crop. In this way, coffee robusta could seem like the better option for coffee beans because it is a lot less of a headache to cultivate and for this reason is a lot cheaper to grow and sell. Yet the problem behind why coffee robusta is not as prominent as the coffee arabica bean is due to the fact that the flavor and quality is a lot more inferior. Not many people would enjoy the taste of the coffee robusta bean and this is due to the fact that many people report it as being very strong, harsh, having a sort of grain-like overtone, and carrying an aftertaste that is reminiscent of peanuts. It appears that not many avid coffee drinkers would really enjoy this, yet despite this drawback to the coffee robusta, this does not mean that it is not a favorable coffee bean to grow. It actually does better than coffee arabica when it comes to creating strong and harsh types of coffees like espresso. The bitter taste offers a deep flavor and the texture of the coffee bean allows the espresso to create a really nice crema (the foam that typically generates on top of freshly made espresso). For this reason, coffee robusta definitely has its perks and it isn’t too difficult to understand why it would be the second most popular coffee bean to cultivate and sell around the world. Places that are common for growing the coffee robusta bean include the Eastern Hemisphere of the world, mostly countries like Africa, Indonesia, India, and Brazil.
The origins of the coffee bean liberica are very similar to its name. This is a Liberian coffee that comes from a species of flowering plant in the Rubiaceae family. This coffee bean is not produced very much around the world. In fact, the coffee liberia, only accounts for 2% of the world’s coffee consumption. Liberica has actually run into the problem of near extinction and for that reason has become a very rare commodity in terms of coffee bean production. It is known to have a very dense flavor that is not typically suited for most people’s palate and for that reason in the Philippines, this coffee bean is known as the “Manly Coffee.” Although the coffee bean is not very popular in certain parts of the world such as Europe, North America, South America, etc. there is an extremely dedicated following to this coffee bean in countries like the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Part of the reason why this could be the case is possibly due to the fact that around the end of the 19th century, many of the arabica trees in Indonesia died out due to a coffee rust disease. This is the case for other countries like Malaysia and Philippines who were actually very popular cultivators of the arabica bean around the 19th century as well, but the coffee rust disease killed out a majority of the arabica trees. The flavor of this coffee bean is known to be very different in comparison to the big two coffee beans (aka arabica and robusta). The coffee liberica plant contains huge coffee berries that are smoky, nutty, and contains notes of dark chocolate when the bean is roasted and brewed. If you like strong coffee with a hint of dark chocolate then coffee liberica may be the coffee bean that you have been anticipating.
Coffee Excelsa or Coffee Liberica var. Dewevrei
The last coffee bean types we will talk about is the coffee bean known as the coffee excelsa. This coffee bean is a bit on the controversial side, mainly because it was re-classified as a member of the Liberica family, but a lot of people view these two coffee beans as completely different and worthy of distinction as two separate types of coffee. The main reason for their reclassification is due to the fact that this coffee bean grows on large 20-30 feet trees like the Liberica coffee bean. They both grow at very similar altitudes and possess very similar almond-like shapes. This particular coffee bean is a little more widespread than the coffee liberica bean, accounting for a 7% of the world’s coffee circulation, but definitely nowhere near popular to the arabica and robusta coffee bean. The flavor of coffee excelsa is observed as having a tart and fruity body similar to what you would taste when drinking a standard light roast coffee. Yet at the same time there is also a hint of dark roast notes within the coffee that leads this type of coffee bean somewhere in the middle of light and dark notes. The majority of coffee excelsa beans are produced for the purpose of being used for coffee blends. They tend to give coffee blends a more extra boost of flavor and complexity that leaves a lot of coffee drinkers satisfied with the taste. The exelsa coffee bean is most enjoyed by front-palate people. If you are extremely confused by what I just said then basically what this means is that the coffee is better suited for people who like to use their back-palate a lot more. People who are more in tune with the back-palate of their mouth are attracted to coffees that are more in depth and have a certain weight that can hit the taste buds in the back. Front-palate people enjoy coffee that is more bright, aromatic, and lighter in body and for this reason would be more drawn to the taste of excelsa than robusta or liberica. The excelsa coffee beans are mainly known to grow in the Southeast region of Asia.
Hopefully this article worked to make you more aware of the various types of coffee flavors that you encounter when drinking or purchasing coffee. If you find that you don’t like certain flavors of coffee from a certain store or brand then this could be a sign to you that maybe the coffee bean is where your problem is at and not more so the coffee itself. Know yourself and what kind of flavors you seek out when enjoying a good cup of joe and from there research to understand what kind of flavors work best with your preference. Since you are now aware of the fact that coffee can actually come in many different natural flavors, you can now further understand the diversity of coffee which also makes it more unique and hopefully appealing to you (for those of you who aren’t too crazy about coffee but want to understand what all the fuss is about!). Want bold, dark coffee? Rich, smooth, and light? Looking for huge caffeine punch? Or are you just looking for a sweet cup of coffee to sip on when out with friends? No matter your reason for wanting to consume or seek out coffee, with the diversity of coffee and the complexity with which it can be made, there is no doubt that soon enough you will find the right cup of joe that complements your taste and preferences perfectly!