Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world. Whether you have it in the morning to boost energy, to relax after a long day of work, or simply while conversing with friends at a café, coffee attracts us with its amazing aroma, fragrance, and taste.
Coffee beans are grown in around seventy countries today. But there are only four main types of coffee beans. These include Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsa. The interesting thing is that they all have different origins, taste profiles, and properties. Let’s dive further into their characteristics and understand what sets them apart.
Arabica Coffee Beans
Arabica coffee is one of the most popular coffee types in the world. It comes from the beans of a plant called Coffee Arabica.
Origin of Arabica Coffee Beans
The origin of Arabica coffee dates back to the 7th century. It was discovered in the highlands of the Kingdom of Kefa, now known as Ethiopia. During the 15th century, the Coffee arabica trees were brought to Yemen which is where they got the name Arabica. They continue to grow here as well as in other countries including Brazil (one of the top producers of Arabica coffee).
Characteristics of Arabica Coffee Beans
Robusta Coffee Beans
Robusta coffee is made from the beans of the Coffea canephora plant. They are the second most popular coffee bean type. Robusta beans are relatively more rounded and larger than other beans.
Origin of Robusta Beans
The origin of the Robusta beans can be traced back to the 1800s in Africa. It was discovered in the sub-Saharan regions in the central and western parts of the country. Some of these include Uganda and the Belgian Congo which is now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Characteristics of Robusta Coffee Beans
Liberica Coffee Beans
Liberica is one of the rarest coffee beans in the world. The Liberica cherries come from a much larger plant than Robusta and Arabica. They tend to be larger and irregular in shape. Their size and appearance are somewhat closer to that of Robusta beans.
Origin of Liberica Coffee Beans
Liberica coffee beans were initially discovered in 1864 in Liberia, West Africa, hence the name. When the global leaf rust pandemic destroyed the majority of the Arabica coffee crops, Liberica beans were farmed as replacements owing to their resistance to the disease. This increased their popularity by leaps and bounds.
Characteristics of Liberica Coffee Beans
Excelsa Coffee Beans
Excelsa is the fourth major type of coffee bean. Earlier it was a separate coffee species but recently scientists have reclassified it as a variant of Liberica. There may be similarities as far as their shape and growing conditions are concerned, but their flavor profiles are totally different.
Origin of Excelsa Coffee Beans
Just like Liberica, Excelsa coffee beans were first discovered in Central Africa in 1903. They were known as dewevreié or Coffea dewevreié back then. Today they mostly grow in Southeast Asia and contribute only 7% to the world’s coffee circulation.