Coffee is an essential part of a lot people’s morning routine and is getting to be more popuar as drinks evolve with changes in lifestyle choices and new ones are invented. Understanding different types of coffee beans will help you knowing why your it tastes the way it does.
Here’s a really useful video that gives you a quick overview of the two most dominant coffee beans – Arabica and Robusta.
Arabica & Robusta dominate the market
Getting coffee isn’t just about the coffee itself, it’s all about the types of coffee beans you drink and how you transform the bean to the coffee.
The aromas and taste are all part of enjoying your cuppa.
4 Main Types of Coffee Beans
There many types of coffee in the world that people drink, but the 4 most common ones are the Arabica, Robusta, Liberian and Excelsa coffee beans. All of these types of coffee beans have different aromas, tastes and levels of richness. The most common types are the Arabica and the Robusta.
Arabica Coffee Bean
The Arabica makes up more than 70 percent of coffee all around the world and it is the most common form of coffee. It’s also sometimes called the Arabian or Mountain coffee and are considered higher quality than others as it’s seen as more aromatic and flavoursome and is milder. It also requires a good amount of pressure from a machine or from heat to extract the intense flavours.
This species was originally indigenous to the forests of Ethiopia and is believed to be the first species of coffee that was cultivated. Wild plants can grow up to 12 meters tall. Growing conditions directly affect the quality of the beans and is now found worldwide, including South Americas (Costa Rica, Guatemala, Colombia, Brazil) and Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia, Sumatra and Sulawesi).
Compared to the Robusta, the Arabica coffee bean has less caffience content (1.5% vs 2.7%) hence giving it a more milder taste.
Arabica coffee beans are more versatile and can be used in all types of drinks hence why they are by far the most popular.
Robusta Coffee Bean
The Robusta coffee beans is less common and mainly used for instant coffee and espresso’s due to more intense flavours containing twice as much caffeine than Arabica.
Robusta has a more bitter taste and is harsher because it doesn’t have as many lipids and sugar content in the bean. Robusta is also a lot easier to harvest since the climate for it is a lot more forgiving.
Liberica Coffee Bean
The Liberica bean is the third most popular bean in the world, it has its own characteristics and taste. It grows in the Philippines, Brazil, Columbia, among many other locations.
The bean is usually larger and has an asymmetrical shape which resembles a teardrop shape. It has a bitter taste which hits your taste buds at first and hints of spice, the general taste is a bit smoky. It can definitely seem like a whole different coffee if you are used to the Robusta or the Arabica.
The cost of Liberica is a bit more because it is considered an endangered species of coffee beans, but the taste is more aromatic and richer due to the fruitiness of the beans.
Excelsa Coffee Bean
Though some experts think that the Excelsa bean is a type of the Liberica, the Excelsa is a lot different in taste. It mostly tastes like a ripened fruit. It is usually blended with the Robusta and the Arabica to give it more taste and character.
The general feeling of the Excelsa bean is mostly light and fruity but still has notes of dark rich coffee. The Liberica and Excelsa can both have positive effects on our immune system.
Other Coffee Beans
There are a lot more types of coffee that can sometimes not even taste like coffee we are used to such as Brazilian coffee, wild coffee, Catuai, Columbiana, and the Timor hybrid.
All of these types of coffee have their own distinct flavours and most companies have only stock a small percentage of them. However, as customers get braver and willing to experiment with different varieties then more are being stocked.
How Roasting defines the type of coffee beans
While most people get caught up in the types of coffee beans, the roasting is actually just as important. For people that like to get a hint of coffee to taste, light roast is usually the go-to. The light roast is also something that allows the finest flavors to come out.
The medium roast is the most common type where it’s not too dark, but it still does offer a bit of kick to the coffee. The good thing about this type of roast is the fact that you can get a nice dark chocolate flavor in the coffee with a bit of aftertaste.
The dark roast is very robust and strong. Usually, low or medium quality roast are dark roasted so that the roast can overpower the taste of the coffee bean. This can give a thick rich taste of the coffee that tastes bitter. The bitterness itself is what dark roast fans are seeking because it gives them the spice of the coffee.
The Best Ways to Drink your Coffee Beans
The best way to brew it is to first buy your own beans in the store. While packaged coffee does have its own benefits since it offers a lot of convenience, it does not truly give you the flavor of the coffee.
It’s best to buy the beans and roast them yourself. In addition to that, you should opt for whatever bean you like or can afford, the Robusta is much stronger since it has a higher caffeine content, but it’s cheaper.
The Arabica has a delicate taste and aroma, but it’s more expensive, the Liberica and Excelsa are more fruity and light, but they can be harder to find.
Whichever method you choose to brew your coffee with whether it be in the French press, the coffee pot, the coffee machine, the areo press, or any other method, the secret is in the beans and the quality of how you care for them. They need to be well roasted to the desired strength, and the beans need to be on their ripe season.
Coffee beans are really what identify the coffee drink and give it its own flavor and character. There are four main types of coffee beans with Arabica being the most common one because of its distinct flavor and Robusta being a very strong one. All of the types of beans have their own traits that make their coffee really unique and enjoyable.
To find out more about the different coffee regions then take a look at this guide here.