Exploring the Different Types of Coffee Beans


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Coffee is part of our universal human culture and is present in all corners of the globe. It is welcome in every social situation, from Sunday brunches to afternoon get-togethers. Not surprisingly, there are plenty of variations in the coffee world. Coffee professionals may offer different varieties to you, but you may not realize how drastically different they are! If you take a quick glimpse at the differences between each type of coffee bean, it can open up a whole new world of coffee delights.

This article will help you learn more about the different coffee beans by discussing four types you will likely encounter: robusta, arabica, liberica, and excelsa. Let's take a closer look at these four main types of coffee beans and their different flavor profiles.

In a rush? Here's an easy way to remember each:
Robusta — available everywhere, low price, bitter taste, extra caffeine content
Arabica — most popular type, hefty price tag, smooth taste with no bitterness
Liberica — rare outside of Southeast Asia, inconsistent flavor — either smoky or charred
Excelsa — fruity flavor, light aroma, low caffeine content, found in Asia

Now, on to the details!

Robusta Coffee Beans: Available Worldwide
Let's start with the most common coffee bean available: robusta. Robusta is readily available to the public in supermarkets, grocery stores, and coffee shops. These hardy coffee beans are known for their powerful aroma, bitter taste, and high caffeine content. When someone mentions they're having some coffee in the morning, they are most likely having a cup of robusta bean coffee. Robusta is often blended with other coffee beans to reduce the price and create a distinguished flavor profile.

Organic Coffee

The robusta coffee plant was first seen in sub-Saharan Africa. It's a resilient coffee species that enjoys heat, resists diseases, and grows at lower altitudes than other species. Due to their innate solidity, these plants require little overall maintenance and less care, making them a very inexpensive investment for coffee specialists. There are plenty of robusta coffee growers in the Indonesian and African regions.

Arabica Coffee Beans: Top-Notch Gourmet Coffee
Arabica coffee beans are synonymous with the term gourmet coffee. These delicious roasts tout a full, smooth flavor without a hint of bitterness, making arabica the most popular coffee bean on the planet. Premium arabica comes with a heftier price tag, so be prepared to shell out a pretty penny for that savory taste. Look for 100% arabica coffee content for the most delectable experience money can buy. Access a bolder taste profile with a lower price tag in blended versions.

The arabica coffee plant was first found in Ethiopia. It is a rather dainty species that requires more water, excess shade, higher altitudes, and increased protection from diseases than other coffee species. Since it needs special care and attention, it typically costs more to compensate for the extra energy expended to produce it.

Liberica Coffee Beans: A Favorite in the Philippines
Liberica coffee beans can have a unique smoky flavor or a charred taste, depending on their mood. Indeed, the liberica species is rather fickle in the taste department, making it less popular than other coffee varieties. Still, it is rather popular in the Philippines, where it's known as kapeng barako, or "macho stud." Barako coffee drinkers enjoy it black with a dose of sugar or sweetener but with no cream or milk. There is plenty of liberica to go around in the Philippines, but its availability dwindles elsewhere in the world.

The first encounter with liberica coffee plants was in central and western Africa, particularly in the country of Liberia, from which it received its name. The plant is quite large, with equivalently large cherries to boot. Liberica growers find it easy to grow these plants, which tolerate low altitudes, love heat, and adore humidity. There are plenty of liberica farms in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

Excelsa Coffee Beans: An Exclusively Asian Delight
Excelsa coffee is the lightest of the coffee selections here, presenting a unique flavor profile consisting of rich, fruity tastes with a hint of sourness. It offers a lower dose of caffeine per cup and sports a lighter aroma, making it best for those wishing to ease into the early mornings. Excelsa can be consumed on its own for a delectably rich experience or combined with other coffee beans to produce more unique flavors. Excelsa coffee beans are popular in Asia but may take more to track down in alternative geographical locations.

The excelsa coffee plant is considered a cousin of the liberica coffee plant. It does well at medium altitudes and in hot weather and humid environments. Many excelsa growers find it easy to operate in the tropical regions of Asia, making the flavorful coffee beans easy to find in those areas.

A Coffee Bean for Everybody

There's more than one type of coffee bean available, each with its own distinct flavor offering. Most people are already familiar with robusta, the most common coffee bean available at almost every supermarket on the planet. The general population will find this bold, bitter coffee is perfect for starting the day off. Coffee enthusiasts, however, may gravitate toward other coffee beans with less of a bitter kick.

Coffee lovers who have been lucky enough to experience the broad range of coffee offerings will know about the differing flavor profiles, preparation styles, regional availability, and tasteful seasonings to make each cup worthy of praise. Indeed, there is plenty of variety when it comes to coffee.