You may have seen bags of coffee marked ‘Arabica beans’ at your local grocery or coffee shop. You may learn about the growth conditions, climate, and cost of brewing your favorite cup of coffee. Arabica is one of the most widely used coffee beans, accounting for approximately 60% of global production. But there are other beans you may not be familiar with. This educational essay will help you learn about coffee beans and how to pick the best coffee.
Coffee is classified as Coffea arabica and Coffea robusta. These coffees are also known as Arabica and Robusta. The other two are Liberica and Excelsa, which are only found in Southeast Asia. Liberica and Excelsa make up around 1% of all coffee produced.
Arabica (Coffea arabica)
Arabica coffee beans are claimed to be one of the first coffee beans ever ingested by mankind! These beans are difficult to grow because they require high temperatures and lots of shade. They are also exceedingly disease-prone, which necessitates extra attention and labor. All of this adds up to one of the most costly coffee beans.
What is Arabica’s flavor?
Quality Arabica beans have a vibrant body, a pleasing acidity, and a multi-faceted intricacy of flavours and smells.
Arabica’s robust flavor are noticeable when tasted front palate. These beans have a smooth, rich flavor with minimal bitterness. Pour-over/drip coffee is best served hot.
The quality of arabica decreases when served cold or with creamer. Always ‘black’ with thick foam on top.
Rubusta (Coffea canephora)
Robusta is the world’s second most popular coffee variety. Primarily in Africa and Indonesia now.
The Robusta beans are easily distinguished from other coffee beans by their bigger and rounder appearance. Robusta is resistant to most diseases and exceptionally hardy. Many heights with variable rainfall can support them. These features make the Robusta a cost-effective and easy-to-grow alternative.
Robusta has twice the caffeine as Arabica (2.9 mg/bean). These plants are ‘robust’ because they utilise caffeine as a natural disease defense.
What is Robusta like?
Top notch Robusta has a smooth texture, minimal acidity, and a chocolatey flavor. With a nasty charcoal aftertaste. This is a great coffee for those who like their coffee sweetened.
Liberica (Coffea liberica)
Liberica beans are native to Liberia in Central and Western Africa. A fungal disease called ‘coffee rust’ decimated most of the region’s Arabica plants, leading to the rise of these beans. Now grown in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. But this bean is rare in Europe.
In contrast to Arabica and Robusta, Liberica beans thrive in hot, humid conditions at low altitudes. Their size distinguishes them from other varieties, as well as their asymmetrical shape.
What is Liberica’s flavor?
People who have tried Liberica coffee have strong feelings about it. These beans are delicious and fragrant with smoky undertones. Nutty and woody flavors are loved by some, while others equate it to burnt charcoal!
Did you know? They were considered a distinct coffee species. Scientists recently reclassified them as a Liberica variety.
Excelsa beans are oval-shaped and nearly exclusively grown in Southeast Asia. This type of plant grows to be huge coffee bushes at medium elevations.
What is Excelsa’s flavor?
The Excelsa coffee beans have a tart and fruity body, with mild roast flavor and dark roast overtones. This property of Excelsa beans entices coffee drinkers.
This bean’s rich flavor affects the middle and back palates. They have a milder scent and caffeine.
What coffee varieties exist?
A 9th century Ethiopian goat herder named Kaldi watched his goats dancing excitedly after chewing on coffee bush cherries, according to folklore. He ate some cherries and got a new sense of ‘euphoria.’
In any case, Arabica contains several varietals that are either natural mutations or man-made hybrids.
What are varietals? Think of coffee beans like apples. Apples include Fuji, Pink Lady, Granny Smith, and others. Apple types are similar to coffee kinds. Typica, Bourbon, and Caturra are the most frequent. The Geisha is a highly sought-after variety. It’s sweet, clear, and full of bright flavors like dark berries, mangoes, and peaches. It would take another essay to cover all the coffee kinds, but here are a handful to start.
It is commonly believed that Typica is the mother variety that gave rise to all other coffee kinds by natural mutation or crossbreeding. The Dutch introduced this Ethiopian species to other areas. The beans are sweet and nuanced, although they are a low-yielding cultivar.
This cultivar is named after Bourbon Island, now Reunion Island. It is an Ethiopian Arabica early mutation. Excellent acidity and balance make this cultivar stand out.
Scott Laboratories developed SL28 in the 1930s. SL28 grew from botanists experimenting with Bourbon and Tyica alterations. This Kenyan native has limited producing properties. This variety’s tasting profile is powerful lemony acidity with sweetness and harmony.
Maragogype (marra-go-jee-pay) is a common Typica mutant. In fact, when roasted, it seems twice as big as a Bourbon. But it’s a low yielder. Maragogype adds richness and body to any coffee blend.
Caturra is a natural and man-made mutation of Bourbon and Typica. Brazil was the first to discover it. A recent discovery in Central America, it produces more than Bourbon. This small tree yields easy-to-harvest coffee beans with excellent acidity.
The Mundo Novo is a Red Bourbon/Sumatra Typica combination. This cultivar is widely grown in Brazil, accounting for up to 40% of all Arabica. It also has better disease resistance than Bourbon, yielding 30-40% more than Bourbon. Due to their great output, the cherries lack ideal sweetness.
Choosing the best coffee beans
After reading the coffee types, you may wonder which is your favorite. We created a simple guide to assist you choose your favorite brand of coffees and blends.
Do you appreciate a smooth, slightly acidic Arabica coffee? Or a chocolatey, smoky Robusta? Eventually, you’ll want to switch to blended coffee for a more subtle flavour profile.
Coffee beans have 800 flavour nuances that human senses can detect (compared to 400 in wine). Distinct roasting procedures extract different flavour qualities from fresh coffee beans. It’s a bit like tasting wine to pick your favorite coffee.
The degree of roasting affects the taste of coffee. So it’s one of the most vital aspects to consider before buying.
Lightly roasted coffee with fruity flavors. Dark roast coffee, on the other hand, has a deeper, smokier flavor.
How much caffeine do you want?
The longer you roast coffee, the less caffeine it contains. So lighter roasts have more caffeine than darker roasts. If you want to maximise your caffeine intake, we suggest a light or medium roast.
Check the roast date
That coffee has no expiration date? But it’s perishable and loses flavour and freshness with time. So, verify the roast date on your coffee bag. Fresh roasted coffee is best. If the coffee was roasted over 3 weeks ago, you won’t get many flavours. Don’t buy beans from a local grocer who isn’t aware of the “Roasted-on” date.
We don’t want to overload you with information to consider while selecting your ideal coffee. Try new flavors and coffee varieties until you find your favorite (s).
Find the greatest coffee beans
Look for a local coffee roaster first. The best coffee comes from people who love it, and your local coffee roaster is one of them. Buying from them ensures you get fresh roasted ingredients. It’s never been easier to get fresh coffee thanks to the pandemic.
Avoid supermarket coffee as it is typically not freshly roasted. Each brand had a ‘expiry date.’ Remember that coffee doesn’t expire, but it does lose its wonderful scent and flavor over time. Stick to your local coffee roasters for the tastiest and freshest coffee. Try their ‘flavor of the month’ to keep discovering new coffee blends.