Coffee Types

The 4 Types of Coffee Beans (With Their Taste, Quality & More)

Have you ever wondered from where coffee beans come or how many different types of coffee beans are there?

Well, you must have seen or heard about different ways people categorize coffee beans: These can be:

  • Color-wise = Dark brown and light brown coffee beans.
  • Origin-wise = Beans from Columbia, Brazil, Indonesia, Ethiopia, etc.
  • Roast Type = Medium roast, Dark roasts, roasted kona beans, etc.

Well, these differences can be a nice way to differentiate coffee beans, but in actuality, this is not how coffee beans are categorized. There are only 4 types of coffee beans in the world, namely arabica coffee beans, robusta beans, excelsa beans, and liberica beans.

Before we dig into these 4 types of coffee beans, it is important to get some coffee knowledge and understand from where do these beans come.

Where do coffee beans come from?

Coffee beans come from a shrub that grows in tropical climates. Coffee plant cultivation is done in over 70 countries around the world. Brazil leads the world’s coffee production, while other countries in the top 5 include Vietnam, Columbia, Ethiopia, and Indonesia.

The coffee plants produces berries that are red in color when ripe. Inside the berries, there’s a seed. This red-colored berry looks like a cherry and is also called coffee cherry in some places, but we do not eat the outer fruit. The seed from this cherry-like fruit is taken out, and this is the first glimpse into a coffee bean. However, these beans need to be processed and roasted in order to create the coffee we know. The roasting process brings out all of those delicious flavors and aromas we love!

The roasting process defines the color of the beans. It can be a light roast, mid-roast or dark roast, depending on the heat that is given to the beans. Light roast beans are exposed to less heat as compared to dark roast beans.

There are just 2 major types of coffee beans, namely Arabica and Robusta. Arabica is the more popular variety, with over 60% of all commercial coffees being composed of these beans. However, there are 2 more types of lesser-known coffee beans, namely Liberica and Excelsa.

Let’s know these 4 types of coffee beans in detail.

Arabica coffee beans

arabica-coffee-beans Arabica beans are considered the superior bean, producing a mild, aromatic flavor with low acidity levels. They make up the majority of specialty coffees as well as espresso blends.

Arabica trees or the arabica plant grow at high altitudes, providing this whole-bean coffee with a smooth texture and wonderful taste. Arabica beans have the highest quality and are used for most premium coffees.

Arabica beans are more expensive than most other coffee types, yet coffee drinkers continue to buy them in droves. The reason for this loyalty? Most say that they value the quality of arabica plants, though some may just like how different Arabica flavors taste compared with others.

Another factor is that if you grind coffee beans, you’ll find these roasted beans easy to work with. Most coffee lovers you talk to will always name arabica bean as their first choice.

Read more: What is a cafe latte, and how is it made?

Robusta coffee beans

Robusta bean has a harsher taste with higher levels of acidity. Robusta beans contain almost double the amount of caffeine as compared to Arabica beans – about 2.7% compared to 1.5%. This makes robusta beans stronger in caffeine as well as having a unique flavor. Robusta coffee beans are commonly used for instant coffee and espresso blends.

Robusta plants require a hot climate and have harder growth characteristics than they do with arabicas – which means that it takes less land to produce them overall! Robusta coffee beans are the second-most popular type, and they can even grow at medium altitudes. Some consumers choose robusta coffee because of their lower cost or higher caffeine content which may boost your medical benefits. Good quality robusta surely has a high demand in the market.

Liberica coffee beans

Next, let’s talk about Liberica beans. These are lesser known among the type of coffee beans and are grown mostly in South East Asia. They have an intense aroma with unique fruity coffee flavors.

The taste of a Liberica bean is unique, but some find its floral aroma unpleasant and bold. Some even say that the produce of Liberica family plants has a bitter taste. The liberica coffee has not been discovered by a lot of people in the West due to its scarcity.

Liberica coffee beans make up about 2% of global coffee, with most being consumed within the Philippines or countries influenced heavily by Filipino culture. If you are in the United States and wish to try Liberica beans, search for these at some Filipino stores.

Excelsa coffee beans

The last type of coffee bean is called Excelsa. This type originates from the bean belt of central and western Africa. It is quite similar to Liberica beans, and they also share many similarities in taste. They have a sweet and sour flavor with notes of fruit and nuts. Excelsa beans also contain more caffeine than Arabica beans but less than Robusta beans.

Excelsa coffee beans come from a different type of tree than Liberica, but they have recently been reclassified as Liberica due to their similarities. These small changes include an almond shape and grow almost exclusively in Southeast Asia while also having 20-30 foot high plants that are more like trees instead of bushes – making them perfect for cultivating at higher elevations where water access may be limited during dry seasons.

FAQs on types of coffee bean

Coffee enthusiasts often have a lot of questions, and in this section, we aim to answer the most commonly asked questions. Whether you want to make iced coffee, want to ask about different coffee beans, know more about coffee blends or simply need to have some more information about the main coffee bean types, you’ll get all the answers here.

Which coffee beans are there in instant coffee powder?

The two types of coffee beans that make all instant coffees are Robusta and Arabica. Arabica has a smoother taste that is slightly sweeter and more layered, making it the superior bean for many people’s tastes.

Also read: Instant coffee vs ground coffee

What is the most common coffee bean?

Coffee lovers have rated Arabica as the most common coffee bean used in the world. It is the most expensive and also one of the best when it comes to coffee bean types. You should not be surprised to know if your favorite coffee shop tells you that they use 100% arabica beans to make different types of coffee.

Are arabica beans the best coffee beans?

The simple answer is yes. But if you’d like to try something apart from arabica coffee, the other espresso beans can be a good option for you. Some coffee shops also prefer hybrid coffee beans as they mix the beans from arabica plants along with high-quality robusta beans to create specialty-grade coffee.

Wrapping Up

Coffee beans are of 4 types – Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsa. Recently Excelsa coffee beans have been categorized under a type of Liberica due to their similarities to the plant, taste, and type of beans. So, in reality, there are just 3 major types of coffee beans around the world.

Ajay Deep

Like many of you, I start my day with a cup of coffee. My love for this beverage grew when I started experimenting with different types of roasted beans at my co-working space. I created to help others explore and experience the best coffee. I am an author and an entrepreneur. Whatever I do, coffee will always remain a passion. You may reach me at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button