4 Types of Coffee Beans: Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, Excelsa [Origin, Taste & Availability]

types of coffee beans and taste
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The most common species of coffee beans are mainly four types: Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsa. Basically, Arabica and Robusta are the two main types, reigning proudly in today’s commercial circulation; However, Arabica is still now, the most favored coffee throughout the world.

When compared to Robusta (the second most consumed coffee bean), Arabica wins consumer’s attention in case of its more delicate flavors and sweeter aromas. In the term of caffeine in the coffee bean, Arabica also has less amount of caffeine than Robusta along with other species.

Generally, these types of coffee plants are grown and cultivated in The Coffee Belt (the best growing coffee areas- Central and South America, Africa and the Middle East, and Southeast Asia). The different growing conditions of The Coffee Belt have a varying impact on the quality and flavor of coffee beans. There also can be some differences in taste between similar species coming from various tracts, even from different farms in the same country. It is because the climate and the growing conditions have a far effect on the taste profile of Coffee beans.

Geographically, Coffee plants thrive in high altitudes, dry season, and require lots of rain. Therefore, they are, mostly, grown in subtropical areas of Africa and Asia where coffee trees receive that climate most favorable for them to be farmed in a healthy way and on a large number.

Arabica Coffee Bean (coffea arabica)

arabica coffee bean -types and taste

coffea arabica: slightly larger,oval shaped

The origin of Arabica Coffee is the highlands of present Ethiopia (formerly the kingdom of Kefa). It was then consumed by the Oromo tribe as a stimulant. But coffee arabica was named after this species and has got its popularity in Yemen and lower Arab. Now Arabica is regarded as the most consumed coffee bean ( about or above 60%) throughout the world.

Typically, Arabica trees thrive in higher altitudes, where they can get steady rainfall and lots of shades. This shrub has a small stature of about 6” that makes both pruning and harvesting simpler. However, it also needs great care, as Arabica trees are easily susceptible to disease. The entire crop might be affected by a single diseased plant. And this potential risk is one of the reasons that makes this species costlier in the market.

This top-notch arabica coffee is so palatable; It has a subtle, softer, and sweeter flavor. When roasted, there is a note of perfumey smell with a fruity, sugary tone in the berries. Compared to Robusta, Arabica tends to have more acidity, less caffeine, and smoother taste. However, the distinctive flavor of Arabica coffee might change when it is brewed cold or with crema. 

Arabica is the finest quality of the coffee bean. The growing conditions of the plant and the amazing flavor of this coffee species makes it more expensive than all other coffee species. Coffee shops typically use arabica bean blends to serve the consumers with the best quality flavorful coffee. 100% Arabica roasted whole bean can be bought here.

Robusta Coffee Bean (coffea canephora)

robusta coffee bean

coffea canephora: smaller in size with round shape

Robusta is the second most-produced coffee bean in the world. Robusta plants are naturally immune to the disease. It is double the amount of caffeine that makes itself very protective, and it can also grow in low or high altitudes. However, high-quality Robusta beans come from the plants cultivated in the hot climate and receive irregular rainfall. Robusta coffees are mainly grown in Africa and Indonesia.

Robusta has a delicate, sharp taste, often bitter and harsher, so adding cream or sugar does not alter the taste. It contains high caffeine and less sugar and thus making it perfect for espresso. There can also be found high-quality Robusta that has low caffeine and a slight note of chocolate flavor. By the way, It is good to buy pure single-origin Robusta coffee. Because of the popularity of Robusta, many times, lead the farmers to produce sub-standard coffee, in the hope of more profit. If you found your coffee tasted like burnt rubber, you might have experienced inferior quality. Robusta beans are also sold with Arabica as espresso blend to give the coffee a rich, deep flavor. A great sample of high-quality espresso blend can be Lavazza’s Gran Espresso.

Liberica Coffee Bean

liberica coffee bean

Liberica Coffee: Larger in size with almoned shaped

Liberica is a distinct species in world coffee consumption. This coffee is now cultivated mainly in Philippine, Indonesia, and Malaysia. In 1890 Coffee Rust, this was replaced by Arabica in the U.S. Though it got a place in the world coffee for a time, Arabica, at last, won the crown till now.

Liberica berries are larger than the other two dominant coffee species. This type of coffee has an exceptional taste profile. Liberica is said to have a woody, nutty flavor, with a smoky note in its full body with a floral, fruity aroma. It might be unpleasant to the palate, but it is still amazing to some folks for its bold, dark flavor.

Excelsa Coffee Bean

excelsa coffee bean

Excelsa Coffee: average size with mostly almond shaped

Excelsa coffee plant is now considered to be the species of the Liberica family. Though, there is a far difference between them. These types are primarily like Liberia beans- mostly almond-like shaped but have an average size, some of them get larger scale though. Excelsa plants are mainly found in Southeast Asia, and the beans are mostly used as blending coffee.

Excelsa has a unique taste profile, somewhat mysterious; it has a flavor of both light roast and dark roast coffee—feels like tart, fruity, and somehow dark. It is the distinct flavor that persuades coffee enthusiasts to seek and try this drink from around the world.

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4 Types of Coffee Beans & Taste: Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, Excelsa
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4 Types of Coffee Beans & Taste: Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, Excelsa
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The most common species of coffee beans are mainly four types: Arabica, Robusta, Liberica and Excelsa. Basically, Arabica and Robusta are the two main types reigning proudly in today’s commercial circulation
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