Types of Coffee Beans

If you consider yourself a coffee fanatic, you may already know that there are different types of coffee beans. However, you may actually be wondering what those types are. In this guide, we will help you learn more about the different types of coffee beans. Learning about them will not just help you appreciate coffee but also understand certain factors that affect their taste, including the blends, acidity levels, and the roasting spectrum.

Generally speaking, there are four primary types of coffee beans, with all of them hailing from what is referred to as the Coffee Belt. This location is along the equator, mainly because coffee thrives in a hot climate. Note that the conditions of growing may vary depending on the beans since some love more rain or altitude than other varieties.

Here Are 4 Types of Coffee Beans Used Widely

arabica coffee beans

1. Arabica

When talking about coffee beans, we always here the term Arabica. As a matter of fact, it is the most popular type of coffee beans, contributing to about 60% of coffee consumption worldwide. Roasted coffee that is made out of Arabica beans are oftentimes considered as of higher quality. It is expected, though, that they are usually pricier. 

Arabica coffee bean blends are typically served at coffee shops. They generally have less caffeine and more acidity than Robusta beans. These types of beans are grown through various locations in the Coffee Belt, primarily in parts of Latin America. 

The flavors may also vary greatly, depending on the actual location in which they are grown within the three regions of the Coffee Belt. Arabica coffee beans are also considered as the mocoffeest delicate out of these four varieties. This is because they are influenced easily to its growing environment, and are likely prone to diseases. As such, they need to be grown with the utmost care. 

When Arabica coffee plants are cultivated in climates where they are not naturally grown, the effort to grow them is doubled to ensure that they are healthy. Since they are the most popular types of coffee beans, Arabica is typically grown in huge quantities, regarded as a monoculture. 

High quality Arabica coffee beans often have a bright body, with a good amount of acidity. They also offer a multi-layered combination of aromas and flavors. This type of coffee is sampled best on the front part of the palate, where salinity and sweetness are highly apparent.

2. Robusta

Robusta coffee beans are considered as second popular after Arabica. They are considered a staple in the homes of most Americans. They are readily available in grocery stores and supermarkets. In terms of caffeine presence, Robusta beans have twice as much than Arabica beans. In terms of appearance, they look like little balls rather than the usual almond shape of most coffee beans.

Robusta coffee beans also tend to be more bitter and harsher because of the impact of roasting on the beans. They are, however, ideal for making delicious espresso shots, thanks to their deep flavor. These beans also hold up better with sugar and cream, unlike that of Arabica coffee beans with which the flavors have the tendency to change.

This type of coffee beans is only grown in the Eastern Hemisphere. As such, they are only present in two out of the three regions of the Coffee Belt. They are primarily grown in Africa and Indonesia. They are also easier to grow compared to Arabica beans since they can do well at both high and low altitudes. 

3. Excelsa Coffee Beans

In terms of uniqueness, Excelsa coffee beans are considered as unique because they are not used quite widely. In fact, they only contribute 7% to the consumption of coffee worldwide. They are usually grown in Southeast Asia. The flavor that they produce is more fruity and tart. They are also categorized as a genus of another type of coffee beans – Liberica.

Despite the fact that Excelsa has been classified recently as a genus of Liberica, they are very different. In fact, some believe that they are of different species. The reason why it was tagged as a genus of Liberica was that the plants could grow on huge 20 to 30 feet trees, just like Liberica, and also at similar altitudes. Even the shape of the beans is also similar, with almond appearance. 

These coffee beans are usually used in blends so as to give the coffee a boost of complexity and flavor. As such, it is best sampled at the back and middle palate. It is also said to have a fruity and tart body, flavors that exactly represent a light roast. At the same time, they have roasty and dark notes. Thanks to this mysterious appeal, coffee fanatics from different parts of the world love it so much. 

4. Liberica Coffee

Liberica Coffee is one that is specific to the Philippines. They have a fruity and floral aroma, producing coffee with a smoky, woody flavor with a full body. The reason why Liberica beans were imported from the Philippines to the U.S. was the lack of Arabica beans back in 1890. Eventually, the U.S. stopped the trade until the Philippines claimed their independence. 

It is quite challenging to secure Liberica coffee these days, but it did play a huge role in the history of the coffee world. In terms of appearance, Liberica coffee beans are bigger than others, usually asymmetrical in shape. They are also quite unique as they are the only type of coffee bean with a unique aroma, offering a combination of fruity and floral notes, with a body that is full of a smoky taste—people who have tried Liberica coffee report that it is not like other coffee that they have enjoyed.

Roasting Spectrum and Blend

Most sellers offer different coffee blends depending on varieties. They usually include light roasts, medium and dark roasts. The actual length of time in which beans are roasted has a bearing on the difference in caffeine level, acidity level, and the amount of body that it produces. At times, the overall intensity of the flavor is also affected. 

A blend, on the other hand, refers to a bag of coffee with beans coming from two or more regions. The percentage of every type may change the flavor of the overall blend. For instance, you may get a blend that is made out of beans coming from Brazil and Mexico. The coffee produced would be different, with a 60%-40% or an 80%-20% blend. It is recommended, therefore, to get a single-origin coffee in order to enjoy a unique cultural coffee taste. 

Bottom Line

When it comes to choosing which type of coffee beans is best for you, there are no hard and fast rules to follow. As a general tip, however, where your coffee beans come from may determine the base flavors that you can expect. Knowing about the Coffee Belt also allows you to learn about the primary regions for growing coffee. Regions in Latin America produces coffee with nutty and chocolate tones, mostly Arabica coffee beans. Floral and fruity notes can also be pointed to the Arabia and Africa regions. On the other hand, spiced, herbal, or earthy notes of coffee beans are grown in the region of the Asia Pacific. 

You can discover your own preference for the type of flavors that you want to experience in your cup of coffee. This can also include determining the level of roast that you prefer. Most coffee beans brands are selling coffee to highlight the origins of their beans. Therefore, it is often best to check out the information on the bag first, or on their website. 

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