types of coffee beans

The 4 Main Types of Coffee Beans & Characteristics

Last Updated on 10/04/2022 by Miki

Coffee beans are the most important ingredient in your perfect brew. Without coffee beans, you can’t have coffee, and you will be miserable. But, do you know the main types of coffee beans? There are a few types of coffee beans, and all have different benefits. Depending on what you like in a cup of Joe, it’s best to know the types and their characteristics before buying. There are the 4 main types of coffee beans on the market. You might have already known the main types of coffee beans, but there could be something new that you would learn from this article. Some of you may want to expand your basic knowledge of coffee while others may want to be a bit of a coffee connoisseur. Whatever the reason is, you will find yourself learning something more about coffee. So keep reading 🙂

The 4 Main Types of Coffee Beans

the 4 main types of coffee beans

1. Robusta

Robusta is usually found in cold brew coffees, single-origin coffees, medium roast coffees, and blends. This is the least expensive bean. It comes from Central Africa. These beans roast very quickly. There are some distinctive characteristics of this type of coffee bean. Because of its robust flavour, it’s perfect to use in cappuccinos. It is dark-coloured, coarse-textured and usually slightly higher in acidity than medium roast coffees. With a higher caffeine content than other types of coffee beans, Robusta is favoured by the coffee connoisseur who prefers caffeine over taste. If you like bitter sweets, this is the bean for you.

2. Arabica

Arabica beans are generally lower in acidity and more aromatic than Robusta. They are the most popular for the best home-brewed coffee. Arabica beans are grown in cooler climates, where the time is longer for the beans to ripen. This makes the beans less acidic and with a more full-bodied flavour. It is high in caffeine but is not as sweet as most coffees. Arabica beans are grown at high altitudes and have a more subtle flavour than Robusta beans. The Arabica coffee plant is indigenous to Ethiopia but is grown in many parts of the world.  There is a relatively long roasting time to achieve the colour and flavour of caramel. This type of coffee beans can be found in blends and ground coffees, such as those for espresso.

3. Liberica

Liberica is one of the world’s premium and rare coffees. It is a Central American farm that produces sweeter, lighter-bodied coffee beans and they have a fruity, tropical aroma. It has a rich and full flavour and is produced exclusively by small farms. Liberica is a type of coffee bean that is strong and a little acidic, but there is an unmistakable sweetness to them. They’re so strong that you’ll never find them at your local supermarket. You’ll need to visit a specialized coffee store in order to experience them. You’ll sometimes find Liberica beans mixed with other, milder beans. Liberica beans are thick, shiny, and light brown in colour. They usually take up to a little more than 12 hours to brew and they taste similar to a light roast. Liberica coffee beans are more expensive than other types of coffee beans due to their rareness. If you’re looking for the best espresso with a little bit of a bite, Liberica is perfect for you.

4. Excelsa

Excelsa has extracted coffee beans which are highly sought after for their rich taste and amazing aromatic fragrance. They are often used as the base ingredient for speciality and “artisan” coffees, where you can taste the texture, the complexity and nuances of the coffee, and its whole flavour profile, including sweetness and chocolate notes. Excelsa coffee beans are often considered the most premium coffee beans in the world. This type of coffee beans were originally discovered in the 1950’s by oil-company geologists, who named them because of their aroma, which can be translated into English as “excellent aroma. They have a complex, aromatic flavor that is unpredictable. Nearly half of the coffee produced from Excelsa beans is aged for three to five years. This type of coffee bean would be great for anyone with a sensitive stomach or if you like a smoother, sweeter flavor profile.

Characteristics of the 4 Main Types of Coffee Beans

For this post, I’m going to go over what makes each of the 4 main types of coffee beans unique, and the characteristics that make them special in this particular market.

Characteristics of Robusta

The Robusta plant is a sort of coffee bean that is one of the most commonly grown in the world. It’s not as tasty as its arabica cousin but it has a more caffeine-rich make-up. It has a stronger, more bitter taste. It also has a more robust acidic taste since it’s hardier and can grow in harsher areas. It’s also less expensive to grow. The robusta plant is also typically grown in Africa. The plant first made an appearance in the late 1800s- but only in the 1900s did it become a popular coffee bean around the world.

Aside from that, Robusta beans are well-suited for instant coffee, since they are full-bodied and have more caffeine than Arabica beans. While some have criticized Robusta as being more bitter than Arabica, Robusta is extremely versatile and is a popular choice among coffee drinkers.

Characteristics of Arabica

Arabica is the most popular type of coffee bean in the world. In fact, it is estimated that nearly 70% of the world’s coffee is made with Arabica beans. Arabica beans are characterized by a distinctive flavor, and they make a light-bodied brew with a sharper caffeine content than Robusta beans. The distinctive flavor can be attributed to genetic differences between coffee beans, and their different growing environments. Arabica beans grow at an altitude around 2000 meters, which provides a unique climate that helps produce a flavor profile that is more aromatic and dynamic than the flavor profile of Robusta.

Arabica beans maintain a lighter flavor because they produce less caffeine than Robusta beans. Those who enjoy a lighter roast might enjoy Arabica because it does not have a heavy bitter taste. On the other hand, those who prefer a darker roast might enjoy Arabica because it has a mild fruity flavor.

How arabica got its name

The Arabica plant is native to Ethiopia, hence the name. The high-altitude location provides this coffee with a more balanced flavour because it has more acidity.

Characteristics of Liberica

Liberica is a high-quality coffee with balanced acidity and fruitiness and not too strong. It is widely popular in the US, as it is known to have a mild to medium body. Liberica is mainly used for espresso, but also for the French press, and more. It was introduced to the American market in the 1990s.

Unlike other coffees, Liberica is ground differently. The milled beans have been lightly toasted to reduce their bitterness. The resulting product is richer and sweeter. It has a fuller-bodied flavour with more fruit and tropical spices and minerals. It has more complexity and body.

Characteristics of Excelsa

Excelsa is a species of wild Arabica that occurs in the rainforests of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. A broad-leaved, very aromatic coffee tree, Excelsa exhibits unique characteristics in production and processing. According to Specialty Coffee Association (SCA), Excelsa is one of the only two coffee beans in the world with certified USDA Organic certification.

Excelsa coffee beans are unique because they are smaller than average coffee beans. Their nutty taste and aroma do not last for long after the cup. When brewed, Excelsa beans produce an amber colour with a light body and mild flavour. The sharp, rich taste and aroma of Excelsa make it the perfect pairing for baked goods.

How Do Different Roasts & Brewing Methods Affect The Taste Of Coffee?

roast beans

When it comes to quality, these 4 main types of coffee beans have one important thing in common: the coffee beans undergo different roasting, brewing, and macronutrient effects when roasted for different times. Every year, approximately 30 million tons of coffee beans are produced worldwide. Of those, about 75% comes from the top 10 coffee-producing countries in the world: Brazil, Vietnam, Columbia, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Indonesia, Kenya, and Papua New Guinea.

Ever think about how the way you roast your coffee affects the taste? Roasting is much more than simply drying your coffee beans. It’s about slowly heating them to the perfect temperature so they roast evenly and not too quickly. This is why it’s important to buy coffee beans that have been roasted already and not raw beans, if you want to have good tasting coffee. Alternatively, if you want to roast your own coffee beans, there’s a few things to know. The most important thing is the type of roast that you want. Roasting is the art of bringing out the rich flavour of coffee beans, while roasting them to different temperatures. These different roasts including light, medium, and dark roast are classifications for the colour of the beans, which indicates the degree of roasting:

1. Dark roast: The taste is intense and bold with a strong, earthy, bitter taste.

2. Medium roast: Very dark, with less caffeine than dark roast. It usually has a caramel-like taste and is usually pretty sweet with a little bit of a smoky flavour.

3. Light roast: Typically very light in colour, and has a sweeter and less robust taste than dark roast. It has less bitterness and more aroma than dark roast.

Additionally, brewing methods can have substantial impacts on the taste of coffee. To truly understand how these variables affect the taste of coffee, it is necessary to understand some basics about the different methods in more detail. For instance, a French press is a brewing method in which coffee beans are ground and then placed in a container with hot water. The container is then pressed down on the beans and the beans are trapped at the bottom of the container. This method extracts the most flavour from the coffee beans because it is the slowest, most compact and squeezes out the most oil from the beans.

In fact, the type of roast, the brewing method, the water temperature, the grind size, and the brewing time each have an impact on what you experience when you drink a cup of coffee. Coffee connoisseurs will swear by one type of brewing method while others will adamantly swear by another. In general, less intense roasts are combined with a pour-over brewing method while more intense roasts are usually roasted over a longer period of time and then ground for an espresso machine. No matter which brew method you use, it’s really about personal preference. Many people only consider the taste of Arabica and do not think about the quality of the roasting and brewing methods. The coffee bean has more than just taste – it has minerals and flavours as well.

In Conclusion

Coffee is very much a defining element of someone’s identity. Coffee must be of good quality and be prepared in a specific way. As a coffee lover, you should know your coffee. There are the 4 main types of coffee beans on the market and here you have a little background on each one. Arabica beans are the most popular beans with dark espresso and darker roast. Now that you know the types of coffee beans and characteristics, it will be easier for you which one to choose from. I hope you have either refreshed your coffee knowledge or built up a new one with this article. Please let me know your favourite in a comment below 🙂

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