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What Does Your Coffee 'Bean?'

Updated: Aug 13, 2021

Written by: Meraleigh Queener

Monday, July 26, 2021

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The Four Primary Types of Coffee Beans & Their Features

Coffee. It's calming, it's comforting, it's breakfast, it's our brunch buzz, it's post-dinner dessert, our stress relief, and the identities go on. For many of us, coffee is everything. With that, we think about the much-needed caffeine to get through our day and the adventurous ways we can doctor it up (or the pleasant delightfulness of taking it black). But have we ever stopped to ask or think about what coffee even is, exactly?


Sure, coffee comes from coffee beans. Right? And coffee beans grow from coffee plants located in various countries around the world. Yeah?


Since this lovely 'hug in a mug' is a big part of your day, have you ever wondered about the taste? Why do some brewed coffees taste different than others? Why some are more acidic than others or why some are naturally sweeter than others, and why most gas station brews are just plain dirt?


For starters, there are four primary types of coffee beans that are currently sold on the market and they all contain their own individual bodies, taste profile, notes, and levels of acidity. They are:


Arabica, Robusta, Excelsa, and Liberica


Smooth, Soft & Sweet (Fruity):

Known as the most common and popular type of coffee served in the U.S, Arabica coffee beans are believed to be the first species of coffee to be cultivated and the least complicated to grow and harvest. They typically grow in Latin America and represent 60% of the global coffee production market with its largest producer resigning in Brazil. According to Cafe Direct Co, the beans grow at higher altitudes and need to live and grow in shady areas with plenty of rainfall. The high-quality coffee trees are easy to care for being relatively small and easy to prune to, making this delicate bean the most commonly produced coffee bean.


Character: Bold, Smooth & Sweet

Accents: Fruity, Berries

Quality: Medium - High

Acidity: Medium - High



Bold & Robust (Cocoa):

If you're looking for a bold iced coffee paired with cream and sugar or a smooth rich espresso, Robusta is your bean! (More specifically including Vietnamese-style cafe sua da!) This type of coffee is the second most common coffee bean from Africa produced and sold in the marketplace as it's less vulnerable to pests, diseases, and harsh weather conditions than Arabian coffee beans. Grown exclusively in the Eastern Hemisphere, primarily in Africa and Indonesia, this coffee bean thrives in warmer weather and contains twice more caffeine than Arabica beans.


Character: Deep, Intense, Bold

Accents: Chocolate; Nutty

Quality: Medium - High

Acidity: Low

"Excellent Robustas are incredibly smooth, low-acid, free of bitterness, and intensely flavorful with distinct chocolate notes. Poorer quality Robustas smell flat or can even smell unpleasant, and can have odd or objectionable flavor elements, such as rubber. It's not hard to tell whether you're drinking good or bad Robusta--the difference in quality is extreme!"
- Lens Coffee

Complex, Smokey (Fruity & Floral)

Native to western & central Africa, the Liberica flowering plant is a full-bodied sweet smokey breed and the rarest type of coffee bean yet. It accounts for less than 2% of commercially-produced coffee worldwide. This plant differs from other coffee bean types producing a larger, almond/cherry-shaped body providing a smokey, floral taste that transforms into a bold & woody taste. This powerful plant is also more resistant to harsh climates, pests, and disease.


This unique bean is considered rare today dipping into endangerment due to low rates of cultivation.


Character: Smokey, Complex & Herbal

Accents: Floral & Fruity

Quality: High

Acidity: Medium - Low


Deep & Dark (Fruity)

Accounting for only 6% of the world's coffee production, Excelsa beans are the most mysterious plants of coffee found in the Liberica family providing a distinct tartness, darkness, and fruitiness in aroma and taste. Excelsa grows in Southeast Asia on large, vigorous trees at medium altitudes displaying a teardrop shape to the eye. This bean behaves much differently in character leaving a lingering finish brewed on its own with a compelling strength in body and texture.


Character: Dark, Complex

Accents: Tart & Fruity

Quality: High

Acidity: Medium - Low


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FRIDAY, AUGUST 13, 2021

CONTEST DETAILS:


This blog tells all - now that you know the four primary types of coffee beans, click the link to comment on our latest Instagram post about what the FOURTH type is!

  1. Arabica

  2. Robusta

  3. Excelsa

  4. ???

First to comment the mystery type on our Instagram post will get a FREE COLD BREW next time you swing by one of our pop-ups!


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Sources:

Lens Coffee

The Coffee Lounge

The Kitchn

Cafe Direct Co



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