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What Types of Coffee Beans Are There?

By :Liza Wajong 0 comments
What Types of Coffee Beans Are There?

Anyone serious about their coffee will search religiously for the best types of coffee beans. And with so many variants grown in diverse regions of the world, this can become a life-long quest.

There are four types of coffee beans enjoyed by coffee-lovers around the world. The sweet and lightly roasted Arabica coffee beans are the most popular. And the robust and earthy Robusta beans come in at a close second. Liberica coffee beans from West Africa and the fruity Excelsa coffee beans are less popular but delicious.

Perhaps you are looking to improve the overall taste of your coffee. In that case, you should know about different types of beans and the texture they produce for your coffee.

Different Types of Coffee Beans

As mentioned, there are four different kinds of coffee beans that are grown globally. Each differs in their taste, environment, processing, and the region they are grown.

Below is a breakdown of the four different coffee bean variants, including information about their profile and taste.

1. Arabica Coffee Beans

Arabica coffee beans are the most popular beans in the world. More than 60% of the coffee produced all around the world is Arabica. Its origins trace back to Ethiopia, also known as the birthplace of coffee.

Today, Arabica beans are grown worldwide in any field suitable for coffee. These plants are the most sensitive and require the right environment to grow high-quality beans. Arabica coffee beans have less than 2 percent caffeine, making them more susceptible to insects and diseases.

These popular beans are grown at high elevations, around 3000 feet above sea level. And they can grow in regions that have plenty of shade and receive steady rainfall every year. These types of coffee beans require a lot of care and attention from the farmers.

Arabica Coffee Profile

Flavour - Sweet taste, with hints of chocolate and sugar

Aroma - Perfume aroma, with notes of fruit and sugar tones

Acidity - Mildly acidic

Best roast level - Lightly roasted

Best brewing method - Cold Brew

How Do They Taste?

High-quality Arabica coffee beans contain a balanced amount of acidity. You can notice hints of caramel, chocolate, and nuts, with a slightly sweet flavour profile. These coffee beans also have a more delicate flavour, balanced by the slight bitterness in the brewed coffee.

Arabica coffee beans are considered superior to other beans due to their complex flavours, acidity, balance, and sweetness. Where your coffee is grown and roasted can significantly affect your Arabica coffee's overall taste and aroma.

A lighter roast on these types of coffee beans would preserve most of its characteristics, flavours, and aroma. On the other hand, the more you roast your coffee beans, the more bitter it becomes. Dark roasted coffee beans usually lose their regional flavour. Still, they can give you a full-bodied cup of coffee with a caramelized taste.

A light roast on your Arabica coffee beans would be perfect for beginners. You can experience the authentic flavours of such coffee beans and later experiment with them to find your desired flavour. Although you can use Arabica coffee beans for all brewing methods, it tastes best with the Cold Brewing method.

Nusa Coffee's Sumatra Gayo coffee beans are 100% organic and pure Arabica beans. They are imported directly from the farmlands of Sumatra Island. These coffee beans are full of flavour and aroma.

Sumatra Gayo - Nusa Coffee

2. Robusta Coffee Beans

Robusta coffee beans are the second most popular types of coffee beans in the world. They were first grown in Sub- Saharan Africa but are now produced globally. These beans account for more than 40% of all coffee made worldwide.

The Robusta coffee bean is grown mainly in Indonesia and Africa now. These small, resilient plants can withstand high temperatures and intense humidity.

They also require excess water to stay hydrated. Robusta plants are not as sensitive as Arabica plants due to their high caffeine content. It makes them less susceptible to insects and diseases.

These types of coffee beans are grown at a comparatively lower altitude, somewhere around 2000 feet above sea level. The Robusta plant grows to around 5 feet tall, making them much easier to harvest. The fruit of the Robusta plant ripens once a year and takes about 6 to 8 months to develop fully.

Robusta Coffee Profile

Flavour - Strong taste, with distinct earthy and oaky notes

Aroma - Earthy aroma, with notes of brown sugar

Acidity - Less acidic

Best roast level - Mildly roasted

Best brewing method - Espresso

How Do They Taste?

High-quality, wet-processed Robusta beans have a bitter and robust flavour. They contain much less sugar when compared to other coffee beans. And they’re known for their unique and distinct flavour profile.

Robusta coffee has an earthy flavour to it. Hints of oak, along with a slight pleasant bitterness, are noticeable. These types of coffee beans add a depth of flavour to your coffee. If you are a fan of dark chocolate, you should try Robusta coffee or a Robusta-Arabica blend coffee.

Nusa House Blend - Nusa Coffee


The flavour and aroma of Robusta coffee beans are dictated by their roast and the region where they're produced. If grown in Indonesia, the beans would have a darker, more intense flavour. On the other hand, African Robusta beans have a comparatively delicate flavour.

Robusta coffee beans are far less acidic as compared to Arabica beans. These types of coffee beans are denser than most. This makes it easy to roast them for a long time without affecting their taste and structure.

Mildly roasted Robusta coffee beans will bring out the natural chocolatey and spicy notes in the bean. At this point, the sugar would start to caramelize, giving it a distinct flavour.

3. Liberica Coffee Beans

Liberica coffee beans are the rarest coffee beans on the planet and are sought after by many coffee lovers. These types of coffee beans originated from Liberia, Uganda, and Angola in West Africa. These rare coffee beans account for only 2% of the world's coffee consumption.

This remarkable bean is grown in specific climatic conditions, most often in Asia. The Liberica plant grows up to 20 metres in height, making it challenging to harvest.

The height of the plants makes the harvesting process more challenging and expensive for farmers. Additionally, pure Liberica coffee beans are difficult to process.

As a result of these and other factors, pure Liberica coffee beans are a rare sight and come with a hefty price tag.

Liberica coffee plants can be grown at a much lower altitude and are not as sensitive as Arabica coffee beans. These types of coffee beans boast an irregular shape that makes them very distinguishable from other coffee beans.

Liberica Coffee Profile

Flavour - Strong taste, with nutty and woody notes

Aroma - Pungent and smoky fragrance

Acidity - Slightly acidic

Best roast level - Mildly roasted

Best brewing method - Moka pot, French Press

How Do They Taste?

Liberica coffee has a unique and distinctive taste. Even though these coffee beans have a much lower caffeine content than Arabica and Robusta, they still have a slightly bitter taste.

These types of coffee beans have a bold earthy, and smoky taste. Due to their strong smoky flavour and aroma, some people describe Liberica coffee as liquid tobacco, resembling actual tobacco.

Liberica coffee contains unusual nutty, woody hints and a smoky aftertaste, giving it an exclusive flavour. Pure Liberica coffee beans are an acquired taste and are considered a less bitter alternative to Robusta beans.

4. Excelsa Coffee Beans

Excelsa coffee beans are another rare type of coffee bean discovered in the 20th century. These coffee beans are native to Africa and Asia and are wildly grown in these regions. In 2006, Excelsa coffee beans were reclassified as members of the Liberica coffee family.

Excelsa coffee beans grow at significantly higher altitudes, around 4000 feet above sea level. Unlike Robusta and Arabica coffee beans, these types of coffee beans grow on a tree rather than a shrub.

Therefore, the plant requires more vertical space to grow and is the world's largest coffee plant. Due to the height of the plant and other harvesting restrictions, it is challenging and expensive to care for Excelsa coffee beans.

These types of coffee beans are larger than Arabica and Robusta beans but smaller than pure Liberica beans. Though the harvest takes place once a year, the flowers on the tree continue to bloom throughout the year. Excelsa coffee beans are grown in dry soil and do not need much water to grow.

Excelsa Coffee Profile

Flavour - Wooden, popcorn-like taste, with fruity, berry-like notes

Aroma - Earthy aroma

Acidity - Slightly acidic

Best roast level - Medium-light roasted

Best brewing method - Pour-over, French Press, AeroPress

How Do They Taste?

Excelsa coffee beans have a unique flavour and aroma profile. Even after being classified as a species of the Liberica coffee bean family, the two are entirely different in their taste profile. These coffee beans are usually blended with other beans for added thickness and flavour.

Their overall flavour is rather complex. And they combine the flavours of a light roast-like fruity taste with slight notes of tartness. They also comprise flavours that are usually associated with dark roasts.

These types of coffee beans include a much lower rate of solubility than Arabica or Robusta beans. Therefore, roasting them at a higher temperature for an extended period will help achieve a more ideal flavour profile.

A medium-light roast on Excelsa coffee beans can produce fruity and berry-like notes, as well as a woody, popcorn-like flavour. As the roast gets darker, the beans produce a more full-bodied coffee with distinct notes of chocolate and cream.

Which Coffee Bean Should You Choose?

Your choice of coffee beans would depend upon your personal taste. And it would be influenced by the brewing method you prefer. If you like a deep and robust flavour to your coffee, you will likely enjoy Robusta or Liberica coffee beans.

Along with a strong flavour, these types of coffee beans also have a high percentage of caffeine, which would help you get through a busy day.

On the other hand, if you prefer a sweet, smooth, and fruity taste to your coffee, you should select Arabica and Excelsa coffee beans. They have a lower caffeine content which will accentuate the rich and complex flavours of the coffee.

Arabica and Robusta coffee beans are much more affordable and widely available than Liberica and Excelsa coffee beans. This means that there's a cost-effective option no matter which flavour profile you prefer.

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categories : Coffee Beans

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