Updated: May 14
There are 4 main types of Coffee Bean, namely Arabica (Coffee arabica), Robusta (Coffee caniphora), Liberica (Coffee liberica) and Excelsa (Coffee liberica var. dewevrei). #CoffeeBeans
Arabica is the most commonly used coffee bean. It is sometimes called Arabian coffee. The Arabica coffee bean represents approximately 60% of global production.
Coffee made with the Arabica bean tends to be less acidic, more bitter and with a higher caffeine level than other beans.
Arabica beans were first found in Yemen, however the coffee quickly spread to many countries around the world, and now Brazil is the largest producer and exporter of Arabica coffee. Perhaps surprisingly Vietnam comes in 2nd place when it comes to the main arabica coffee bean exporters followed by Colombia and Indonesia.
Many sources cite Coffee as being the 2nd largest traded commodity in the World, however this can also be widely disputed, with many saying that Coffee does not feature in the top 10.
By the way, Brent Crude Oil and West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil are number 1 and 2 respectively.
Sources: Wikipedia ; fxssi.com
Robusta Coffee or Coffee Canephora is the 2nd most popular coffees produced globally (approx. 40%). It originates from central to western sub-saharan Africa. There are two varieties: robusta and nganda.
The robusta plant has a greater crop yield than tat of arabica, contains more caffeine and contains less sugar. It is less susceptible to pests and disease and therefore needs less herbicide and pesticide than arabica.
Robusta is used primarily in instant coffee, espresso and as a filter in ground coffee blends.
Vietnam has become the largest producer and exporter of Robusta coffee beans at about 40% of the global total, followed by Brazil, Indonesia and India.
Since arabica beans are believed to have smoother taste with more acidity and a richer flavour, they are often considered superior, while the harsher robusta beans are mostly used as a filler in lower-grade coffee blends.
Good-quality robusta beans are used in traditional Italian espresso blends, at about 10–15%, to provide a full-bodied taste and a better foam head (known as crema).
Liberica Coffee (or Liberian Coffee)
Liberica coffee has its origins in western and central Africa, but can now be found in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and some other smaller countries.
The Liberica coffee beans are much rarer that the popular Arabica and Robusta coffee beans, cost more to produce, and therefore carries a higher price than the aforementioned beans.
Excelsa (Coffea liberica var. dewevrei)
Excelsa was recently re-classified as a variety of liberica. However, even though the plants may be taxonomically similar, the actual coffee is so dramatically different that we still think of them as entirely separate species. It accounts for about 6% of world coffee production. It grows on large, vigorous trees at medium altitudes. Many beans have a distinctive "teardrop" shape, which gives it a family resemblance to Liberica, but their average size is much smaller.
Excelsa grows mainly in Southeast Asia, where it is used as a blending coffee, especially in house blends, to add complexity and depth. Excelsa has a distinctive tart, fruity, dark, mysterious taste. In blends, it enhances the middle and back palate and lingering finish of the coffee, giving the cup more substance and power.
Brewed on its own, it is a compelling and unique coffee experience, like a good Scotch. However, like Scotch, a cup of pure Excelsa is not everyone's favorite drink. And most people don't find the aroma of Excelsa beans themselves to be attractive, although some people love it. It would be a mainstay coffee for many coffee shops if it had the intense and pleasing aroma of Arabica or Liberica, but it doesn't.