Types of Coffee

Ever go to your local cafe and be offered more than one type of bean? You may not know which to choose, so we have created a quick guide which will answer your coffee bean questions!

There are two main species of coffee beans in the world, Coffee Arabica, and Coffee Robusta. More than three-quarters of the beans that are sold in the world today are Coffea Arabica, the majority of the remainding bulk are Coffea Robusta also known as Coffea Canephora. Below we have described each bean in more detail:

Coffee Robusta:

These beans are of a lower grade than Arabica, and are typically grown at lower elevations. They are easier to grow and maintain, and they are also more disease resistant and produce a higher yield. Robusta beans have more of an astringent flavor and contain a higher amount of caffeine. This species makes up about 72% of the world market for coffee beans. Being a higher value taste, this fancy grade coffee bean is sold mostly through specialty coffee shops. Arabica being grown on steep terrain makes mechanical harvesting impossible. The hand picking ensures a better quality of selection with less under/over ripe beans being selected.

Coffee Arabica:

These are the higher quality beans and are referred to as gourmet coffee. They have half the amount of caffeine as Robusta and have more pleasing flavours and aromatic properties. Most Arabica bean varieties are name after their country or region in which they are found, or originated from. This high caffeine content species makes up about 20% of the world coffee bean market.

Being a cheaper to produce coffee bean but with a lower taste profile, this coffee is often sold for use in instant coffee. It is produced primarily in Indonesia, West Africa, Brazil, and Vietnam. Also known by botanists as Coffea bukobensis A. Zimm., Coffea canephora Pierre ex Froehner var. kouilouensis Pierre ex De Wild., Coffea canephora Pierre ex Froehner var. sankuruensis De Wild., Coffea robusta L. Linden (GRIN), Coffea robusta L. (Smit). Is commonly known in the trade as Congo coffee or Congo coffee tree (USA).

Coffea liberica:

This species, grown in Malaysia, Liberia and the Ivory Coast, makes up about 3% of the world coffee bean market. Also known as Coffea arnoldiana De Wild or more commonly as Liberian coffee.  It is similar to Robusta beans tasting characteristics and is still found in parts of Central and East Java nowadays.

Other bean species include:

Benghalensis, Bengal coffee; Coffea congensis, Congo coffee; Coffea stenophylla, Sierra Leonian coffee; Coffea excelsia, another Liberian coffee; Coffea bonnieri; Coffea gallienii; and Coffea mogeneti, however these beans are rarely in the export market.