Coffee beans are the seeds of the coffee plant. They have a huge impact on the taste and smell of the brewed cup. There are so many varieties of coffee beans available! It can be tricky to pick the right one for your cup.
Let's look at the different types of coffee beans and their features:
Different Types of Coffee Beans
Coffee beans come in many varieties, each with its own flavour. Grown around the world, two main types are Arabica and Robusta. Plus, there are ‘orphan' varieties like Liberica, Excelsa, Arusha, and Bourbon.
Arabica Beans offer richer and more complex flavours. They're used in espresso and brewed coffees, and have higher acidity. Acetic acid gives a sweeter taste. Caffeine levels are lower than Robusta.
Robusta Beans have a harsher flavour. They're cheaper and easier to grow, and have more caffeine (twice as much as Arabica). Taste is slightly bitter, with an earthy aftertaste. Grown in low-altitude equator regions, such as Africa and Southeast Asia.
Other Varieties have unique flavours. Nutty and woody notes from combining cherries with sweet aromas, and fruity hints. Found in Cambodia, Sumatra, Haiti, Jamaica, Ethiopia, Yemen, and Kenya. To find your favourite type, it's down to personal preference!
Arabica Coffee Beans
Arabica beans are deemed top-notch. They provide a sugarier, tastier and more intricate taste compared to other beans. They are mild and fragrant. Plus, they make espresso drinks smoother and less intense. It's approximated that Arabica beans constitute 75-80% of all coffee made for sale.
Let's dive deeper into their attributes:
Origin, Flavor, and Characteristics
Arabica coffee beans are a popular type of bean used in specialty coffees. They account for 75% of the world's production and have a sweeter, milder taste than robusta beans.
They have an elongated, kidney shape with a sharp point on the bottom and come in colors such as green, yellow and red. When harvested, they are pale creamy white to pale greenish-yellow with no oil on the surface.
Arabica beans are believed to have originated in Ethiopia, before being exported to Yemen in the Ottoman Empire. Now, around 80% of Arabica production comes from Brazil.
Arabica beans have a light body cup due to their low caffeine content and natural sweetness. Their flavor profile can have notes of chocolate, citrus or berry depending on origin and roast level. There is less bitterness than Robusta, making it one of the best types of coffee.
Arabica beans also have a slower development rate, allowing for full maturation. This results in higher-quality traits such as intense aroma, fuller taste, buttery texture, and low acidity. There are fewer deficiencies found in Arabica beans than in Robustas, like bitter tones or harsh flavors.
Robusta Coffee Beans
Robusta beans, from the Coffea canephora plant, are bold and full-bodied. With more caffeine than Arabica beans, they are ideal for espresso drinks. Plus, they are highly resilient – great for brewing strong coffees!
So, what other benefits do robusta coffee beans have?
Origin, Flavor, and Characteristics
Robusta coffee beans are known for their strong character and rich flavor, providing a great ‘kick' in drinks. They are the second most common type of coffee bean in the world. Arabica beans originate from Ethiopia, while Robusta beans grow best close to the equator in warmer areas with more humid climates.
Robusta has higher caffeine content than Arabica (2-3% vs. 1-2%). This extra caffeine gives Robusta coffee an intense flavor with earthy depth and nutty undertones. The bitterness covers up the higher acidity, making it perfect for espresso blends or dark roasts. It also has strong aromas, even when brewed with medium roast levels – unlike other coffees. Additionally, you can experience subtle chocolate undertones.
Taste testing experts advise less experienced baristas to start gradual when adding Robusta into their drink menus, as its intense aroma can overpower delicate nuances.
Liberica Coffee Beans
Liberica Coffee Beans are getting super popular! They have a one-of-a-kind flavor, that's rich and bold. It stands out from other types of coffee beans. This bean has special characteristics that make it a great pick for those who love a full-bodied cup.
Let's learn more about the Liberica Coffee Bean and find out why it's so special.
Origin, Flavor, and Characteristics
Liberica coffee beans are one of the three main types of beans – Arabica, Robusta, and Liberica. It is produced in only a few places around the world, mainly in Malaysia, Hawaii, and the Philippines.
These beans stand out for their tall trees with big, green leaves, and lots of cherries per tree. Plus, they have an intense flavor.
In terms of taste, Liberica is smoky and woody, with a fruity flavor including notes like strawberry and leather. It also has a heavy body and a low acidity level.
Liberica beans are uncommon, but are much sought after by coffee aficionados who appreciate their unique qualities.
Different types of coffee beans provide a range of flavors and aromas when brewed. This article has hopefully given you an insight into what beans are available. Arabica beans usually make for flavorful espresso drinks, Robusta is better for a strong brew, and you can get blends that mix both varieties. Light and medium roasts offer lower caffeine but also degrade quickly. Dark roasts have higher caffeine content, but may burn some of their flavor and any nuances.
When making a drink, it's important to know the type and amount of coffee, grind size, water temperature, water quantity, and brew time. All these factors contribute to the perfect cup!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the best types of coffee beans?
A: The best types of coffee beans depend on personal preference, but some popular choices include Arabica, Robusta, and Kona beans.
Q: What is the difference between Arabica and Robusta beans?
A: Arabica beans are known for their delicate, nuanced flavors and are often considered higher quality. Robusta beans, on the other hand, have a stronger, more bitter flavor and are commonly used in blends and instant coffee.
Q: What is Kona coffee?
A: Kona coffee is a type of coffee grown exclusively in the Kona district of Hawaii. It is known for its smooth, low-acid flavor and is considered a luxury coffee.
Q: What is the best way to store coffee beans?
A: Coffee beans should be stored in a cool, dark, airtight container to keep them fresh. It is ideal to store them in a container with a one-way valve that lets carbon dioxide out, but keeps oxygen from getting in.
Q: Should I buy whole bean or pre-ground coffee?
A: If possible, it is best to buy whole bean coffee and grind it just before brewing. This ensures maximum freshness and flavor. However, pre-ground coffee can be more convenient for those who don't have a grinder.
Q: Does the roast level affect the taste of coffee?
A: Yes, the roast level can significantly affect the taste of coffee. Light roasts are often more acidic and have a brighter flavor, while darker roasts tend to be more bitter and have a smokier flavor.