Variety of Coffee Beans
Coffee beans are actually coffee seeds obtained from the fruit of cherry (the bushy tree of coffee plant). While most plants produce fruit after blooming, both ripe and unripe fruits are produced on the coffee plant at the same time. The ripe coffee beans need to be picked separately for coffee-making purpose. This does increase the labor of workers during the harvesting of coffee plants. On the basis of the plant species from which they are picked, Coffee beans are of four main types: Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsa.
Arabica Coffee beans
Arabica coffee beans are obtained from Arabica coffee plant (botanically called Coffea arabica) that is native to Ethiopia and Yemen. The plant bears thin, light-green leaves with a wavy outline. On the average, a hectare of land covered by Arabica coffee plant produces up to a thousand dry beans in one harvest. Known as the traditional variety of Ethiopian coffee, beans of the Arabica coffee plant are famous for their delicately acidic flavor, their characteristic refined aroma, and a desirable caramel aftertaste. Also, the caffeine content of Arabica beans is less than other commercially produced varieties of coffee.
Robusta Coffee Beans
The coffee plant of Robusta (Coffea robusta) grows as an umbrella-shaped plant having thin leaves with outlines more wavy than Arabica coffee plant. First found in Congo at the end of the 19th century, it accounts for 25 to 40 percent of coffee consumed throughout the world and is liked among coffee-growers due to the mild environmental conditions required for its normal growth. On the whole, its growth is easier and cheaper than Arabica coffee plant, though the quality of Robusta coffee beans is considered inferior to those of Arabica. Robusta yields a higher quantity of beans per hectare area than Arabica and some of its varieties have a stronger flavor than Arabica beans. Robusta coffee beans are dominantly used in processing instant coffee and making commercial blends.
Liberica Coffee Beans
Known for its strong exuberant taste and characteristic aroma, Liberica coffee is said to be able to rival the taste and aroma of Arabica coffee. Native to Liberia, it develops into a rounded growth and is found mostly in clusters. With its thick leaves and a large size of the berry, Liberica coffee plant is mostly cultivated on a small scale, particularly in Malaysia and West Africa, due to its lower demand.
Excelsa Coffee Beans
Excelsa coffee beans are picked from the Excelsa coffee plant that bears large leaves having a bronze violet color in their younger stage of growth. Excelsa plant is fairly resistant to diseases and its beans have a smoky and earthly flavor, which is not in high demand. Beans from Excelsa, like those of Robusta, are also used for producing commercial coffee blends.