The Many Varieties of the Coffee Plant

The Many Varieties of the Coffee Plant

Have you ever been curious about where coffee plants come from? How about the different types of coffee varieties out there? Command Coffee is here to help you out. In this article, we will talk about the different types of coffee beans. With so many options, it can be overwhelming to know which coffee bean is right for you. In general, there are four different types of coffee beans: Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsa. The most common (and most popular) are Arabica and Robusta, but we recommend you check out the other two as well! Hopefully, this article will help ease any stress when choosing the right coffee beans for you. 

green coffee beans

What is a Coffee Bean?

A coffee bean is a seed found inside the fruit (called a cherry) of a coffee plant. The coffee cherry is the part that isn’t eaten. Instead, coffee roasters take the pit out and roast it. In about 5% of the world’s coffee, there is only one bean inside the cherry. This part of the coffee plant is called a peaberry, and it is a natural mutation. Some people believe that peaberries are sweeter and more flavorful than standard beans. There are so many different types of coffee beans out there, so it is very important to understand the difference between them. 

Arabica Coffee Beans

Arabica beans are the most popular coffee beans, making up about 60% of the world’s coffee. These coffee beans originated many centuries ago in the highlands of Ethiopia. Arabica likely comes from the beans’ popularity in 7th-century Arabia (present-day Yemen). Arabica beans are pretty hard to grow. Due to their difficulty in growth, they tend to be pricier. All coffee beans grow in the “bean belt,” an area between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Arabica beans need shade, water, and high altitude to grow properly. They are more prone to diseases. They are also smaller plants, measuring between 8 and 15 feet when fully grown. 

Arabica beans are considered the highest-quality coffee beans. They are smooth and complex. Depending on where they are grown, Arabica beans can offer different tasting notes. You can buy Arabica beans everywhere. If you want to try Arabica coffee, check out Command Coffee! We have premium coffee beans from Honduras. We offer light and dark roast, depending on your preference and taste. 

types of coffee

Robusta Coffee Beans 

The second most popular type is Robusta. This bean originated in Africa and is now mainly grown in Africa and Indonesia. It’s also popular in Vietnam. If you enjoy Vietnamese coffee, check out Robusta coffee beans. They are perfect for creating Vietnamese iced coffee. Robusta coffee is also pretty inexpensive, making it a very budget-friendly choice for roasters. Robusta beans are much larger and more rounded than the others. These plants grow much larger than Arabica plants, measuring 15-20 feet. Robusta beans are strong because they can grow at lower altitudes and are resistant to diseases. 

Robusta coffee is more bitter. It has a stronger smell and an almost burnt taste. Robusta beans have significantly more caffeine than Arabica. They are pretty easy to find since they’re common in blends. Some gourmet roasters offer special Robusta blends, and you can also check Vietnamese coffee suppliers for ground Robusta coffee. Did you know that instant coffee is typically 100% Robusta? 

Liberica Coffee Beans

This type of coffee bean is more native to central and western Africa. Coffea Liberica has a floral aroma and a bold, smoky flavor. This coffee bean combines different varieties to add body and complexity. Grown from a much larger plant than Arabica or Robusta, most of the cherries from Liberica tend to have an irregular shape. Liberica is also more tolerant of hot, humid climates making it a more resilient coffee. Now produced mainly in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, the bean makes up roughly 2% of the world’s coffee supply. 

Liberica coffee tends to be more controversial for its inconsistency. You either love it, or you hate it. It tends to have a nutty, woody flavor. Most LIberica coffee is found in the Philippines, known as “kapeng barako.” This coffee is typically served with sugar to balance out the flavor.

Excelsa Coffee Beans

The fourth major type of coffee bean is called Excelsa. Though it was once considered a separate coffee species, it has become more popular in the modern age. Excelsa beans grow almost entirely in Southeast Asia. They are shaped somewhat like Liberica beans, sort of like elongated ovals. These beans grow on large 20-30 foot coffee plants at medium altitudes. Excelsa beans are unique because they combine light roast traits and traits of dark roasts. They are also lighter on aroma and caffeine. You can find these unusual beans in blends because they add complexity. Excelsa beans aren’t as common as Arabica and Robusta beans and can be harder to find outside of Asia. 

Apart from the major coffee species mentioned above, other unique coffee varieties are grown in regions around the world. These include Geisha, Maragogype, Pacarmara, and Bourbon. Each of these coffee varieties has its characteristics, contributing to the richness and diversity of the coffee industry. 

roasted coffee

Enjoy a Cup at Command Coffee

The world of coffee is much more than a morning pick-me-up. It’s also a complex and diverse ecosystem of flavors and aromas. When choosing your coffee beans, there are so many varieties. You can choose a more delicate and elegant roast, such as Arabica or Robusta. Or you can choose lesser-known coffee varieties like Liberica and Excelsa. The coffee plant offers a myriad of options for coffee enthusiasts to explore. The next time you sip on your favorite cup of coffee, take a moment to appreciate the journey. And, of course, check out Command Coffee for the best coffee in the Indianapolis area!  There is so much remarkable diversity that lies within each sip. Come enjoy a great cup of coffee and a treat at a Command Coffee location near you. 

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