Coffee, a brewed drink that can be either cold or hot, has been enjoyed for centuries. It is usually prepared from roasted coffee beans, the seeds of berries from certain Coffea species. Unroasted green coffee, a stable and raw product, is produced from seeds that are separated from the coffee fruit.
Coffee has been around since the 9th century as a drink to keep someone awake. Coffee lovers would know that selecting the right coffee bean types is essential to achieve that full flavor and aroma in a cup of coffee.
The word “coffee” comes from the Arabic term for “wine of the bean.” Meanwhile, cappuccino has been derived from the clothing of the Capuchin monks as their looks are similar.
When it comes to the world’s trading of commodities, coffee comes after crude oil. Coffee’s global consumption is around 2.25 billion cups of coffee per day. Known as The Bean Belt, it is the best type of climate where you can grow good quality coffee beans.
Popular places that grow the best types of coffee beans are Brazil, Sumatra, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Guatemala, Columbia, and Ethiopia.
What Are The Best Types of Coffee Beans
Let us now discover the characteristics and how the different types of coffee beans would look like.
Robusta Coffee Beans
The beans of the Coffea canephora (coffea caniphora) plant are native to Africa. The robusta coffee beans are one of the most famous coffee beans due to its notoriously bitter taste.
That means you can get a full-bodied coffee flavor if you use a robusta coffee bean for your espresso, and as a filler in certain blends of ground coffee. It is also used in creating instant coffee.
Due to its bitter taste, Robusta coffee is best paired with cream and sugar. Iced robusta coffee might also sound ideal for those who would love to indulge their palate in iced coffee drinks.
It is usually easy to grow the Robusta coffee trees and they are actually the second most commonly cultivated types of coffee beans. The trees are usually immune to diseases, making it a great producer of coffee fruits.
When compared to other types of coffee beans, like the famous Arabica, Robusta coffee beans contain around twice the caffeine content. Robusta beans also have more of the chlorogene antioxidants responsible for many of coffee’s health benefits.
Arabica Coffee Beans
Arabica beans or coffee arabica, also called the Arabian coffee, came from the species of flowering plant in the coffee and madder family Rubiaceae. This is the most dominant cultivation of coffee beans these days, at around 60% of global production, and it is said that the Arabica beans are the first species of coffee to have been cultivated.
The Arabica trees are usually small and would grow about six feet in height at maximum. The reason why it is one of the most dominant coffee bean types would be due to the fact that they are easy to take care of.
The arabica beans have originated in the southwestern highlands of Ethiopia. Arabica coffee that is made from the Arabica beans is one of the most commonly served coffee in popular coffee shops, like Starbucks.
Liberica Coffee Beans
Libera beans are native to Liberia in West Africa. The liberica coffee plant produces those larger, irregular-shaped cherries compared to Arabica plants. The fruits also possess a floral and fruity aroma.
But once it is made into coffee, the liberica beans have a full-bodied, woody taste. During the late 1800s era, a disease eradicated the world’s coffee production at about over 90% and a liberica coffee bean has been used to produce the coffee during that time. In the 1990s, many countries saw the appearance of the liberica coffee beans.
Excelsa Coffee Beans
The excelsa coffee plants grow best in areas with altitudes of between 1,000 and 1,300 m.a.s.l (above sea level). Unlike the Arabica plants and Robusta plants, excelsa coffee is an arboreal (tree-like) plant, rather than a shrub.
This coffee plant is now grown primarily in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam and the Philippines. The excelsa plant also sports large leaves and its flowers bloom multiple times throughout the harvest season.
Excelsa coffee beans are actually asymmetrical, with a nice almond shape. It is usually used in blends to give a cup of coffee that dash and more full-flavor.
Bourbon beans are sub-species under the Arabica varietal. This is one way of introducing the higher quality of beans from Arabica trees. It is said that this variety has been developed by French monks.
The coffee bean from the bourbon produces that fruity flavor with a sweet caramel undertone. Just like the main types of coffee, this subspecies has a full flavor profile. The Bourbon trees are susceptible to diseases, but they still produce larger sizes of beans compared to the other coffee plants.
Looking for a hybrid type of coffee? Then the Catuai Beans might be the answer. This is the product of combining two types of coffee, which are the Mundo Novo and Red Caturra.
Catuai beans came from the small sturdy plant, which was developed in Brazil by the Instituto Agronômico de Campinas (IAC). This coffee plant is able to produce both yellow and red fruits.
When it comes to the flavor profile, this coffee bean has a slightly acidic taste, but it also has undertones of sweetness to it.
This coffee variety is actually developed and created in a laboratory. It is also a hybrid from the family tree of Caturra, the highly-rated Bourbon natural mutation from Brazil. But these days, you can find this type of coffee in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and India.
The Catimor beans give that unpleasant taste, sometimes sour, when unprocessed. However, when the right roasting procedure has been initiated, the flavors could be improved.
Jamaican Blue Mountain Beans
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee was introduced to Jamaica in 1728. It is also one of the tastiest coffee beans that can be found in Jamaica. Jamaican blue mountain beans are mainly used for brewed coffee.
This coffee bean has that mildly acidic, light and balanced flavor. This is why you will be noticing it being used as the flavour base of Tia Maria coffee liqueur.
Many coffee drinkers would love to taste a cup of coffee from the geisha beans. The Geisha plant produces beans that are award-winning due to its silky taste and an explosion of flavors in the mouth.
Geisha is actually a variety under the Arabica, which is said to originate from the Gesha forest in Ethiopia. Right now, geisha coffee is actually the most expensive coffee in the world.
What Type of Coffee Will You Choose
When choosing the right coffee for you, it all boils down to your preference. There are few that might stand out due to their excellent characteristics.
Arabica coffee from Arabica beans often provide that delicate flavor and low acidity of coffee that you’ll find at most coffee shops. If you love to get that easy-drinking everyday brew, then go for an Arabica bean.
If it is your passion to grow your own coffee plant, check out the Robusta plant to produce that Robusta beans for your coffee. The reason is that Robusta would thrive in harsh climates with less water, so you don’t need to worry that much. Though Robusta beans might have that more acidic and bitter flavor.
One factor that could affect the taste and quality of the beans produced from coffee plants would be the soil on which coffee has been grown. Rich soil could be the key to get that nice tasting coffee.
Varieties found in Central America would have smooth, fruity, subtly nutty, bright and acidic, but not sour coffee fruits. Those in South America will have that slight sweetness, mellow, hints of caramel and honey (especially Colombian coffee).
The beans from Asia and Southeast Asia would have that low acidic profile with woody and earthy flavors. Those grown in Africa have hints of wine, berry, fruity, and floral taste. Ethiopia’s trademark is its strong blueberry flavor.
Having said that, I hope that you have now the idea on which beans you would consider getting for your coffee blends or drip coffee maker.