If you are an avid coffee drinker, then you have probably wondered just how many kinds of coffee beans there are. Well, coffee beans can be categorized into 4 types currently in commercial circulation. We describe each type below.
Arabica coffee beans make up at least 60 percent of the total world coffee consumption. The roasts made from the Arabica beans are often pricier and considered of higher quality. Most coffee shops will usually serve Arabica bean blends.
Arabica beans are grown through the Coffee Belt, however, it is mostly grown and harvested in Latin America. Depending on where it is grown in the 3 Coffee Belt regions, Arabica coffee beans can have a vastly different flavor. Overall, these coffee beans have less caffeine and more acidity than the Robusta-type beans.
These coffee beans are the 2nd most used in the world. Robusta coffee beans are what Americans are used to brewing at home and what is usually bought in supermarkets. Supermarkets also can also offer a blend of both Arabica and Robusta beans.
What makes Robusta different from Arabica is that it contains twice the caffeine but look like small balls rather than the typical almond-shaped beans that we tend to think of.
Robusta also tends to be more bitter and harsher due to the effect of the roasting, However, they are great for making espresso shots thanks to their deep flavor. This kind of bean holds up better when you add sugar and cream, unlike the Arabica coffee beans that change in flavor.
This type of coffee bean is only grown in the Eastern Hemisphere, thus, only appears in 2 of the 3 regions in the Coffee Belt. Robusta is primarily grown in Indonesia and Africa and are easier to grow than the Arabica since they can thrive at high and low altitudes.
Only grows in the Philippines, Liberica beans have fruity, floral aroma however produces coffee that has full body and smoky, woody flavor.
A quick look at history:
In 1890, the US experienced a shortage of Arabica beans, thus, importing Liberica beans from the Philippines. Then, a fight exploded between the Philippines and the Us over the country declaring independence, causing the US to cut supplies off.
Then in 1995, the Liberica once again made an appearance with conservationists salvaged the last remaining plants by transplanting them in the growing regions of the Philippines. Sadly, Arabica once again reigned the most popular coffee varietal by the time Liberica was ready for harvest. The absence of this coffee bean variety can still be felt today since it becomes harder to come by pure Liberica coffee.
Liberica coffee beans are larger than the rest of the coffee bean types and are often asymmetrical— it is the only coffee bean in the world with an irregular shape. Those who have tasted Liberica coffee said that it’s unlike any coffee they’ve ever tasted.
The last type of coffee bean is not used widely, representing only 7 percent of the world’s coffee consumption. Excelsa is grown in Southeast Asia and is considered as a genus of the Liberica beans.
It’s largely used in blends to give the coffee an extra boost in complexity and flavor, better affecting the back and middle palate. It is said to have a fruity and tart body— which flavors are reminiscent of a light roast and yet somehow has roasty and dark notes.
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