The 4 main types of coffee beans explained
Whenever you buy coffee in a supermarket, corner shop, or from a wholesaler, you’ve probably seen the same names appear over and over. This doesn’t mean those coffees are exactly the same. However, they will share many characteristics due to the type of coffee bean they’re made of.
Here, we’ll be breaking down each of the four main types of coffee beans so you can make more informed decisions while shopping.
Arabica coffee beans
One of the most popular coffee bean types in the world, it was forecast in 2021 that Arabica coffee beans made up more than 60% of global coffee. Arabica beans are characterised by their distinct lack of bitterness, although their flavour can vary depending on where they’re grown. Arabica coffee trees must grow at an altitude of at least 2,000 ft to produce the best results.
Arabica coffee has a reputation as being high quality. Also, because the trees are relatively easy to care for, there are a wide range of Arabica coffee variations.
Robusta coffee beans
Robusta coffee beans have a harsher, more direct taste than other types of bean. As such, they often feature in coffee blends and are rarely seen as single origin varieties.Robusta beans are grown in large quantities in part due to their hardiness. They are able to grow in hot climates, with a variety of rainfall and at low altitudes. Robusta trees are also immune to many of the diseases other types aren’t.
Pumphreys Coffee stocks over 50coffee bean varieties all stemming from these main four types. You can browse our range here.
Liberica coffee beans
The Liberica type has its origins in central and western Africa, where its plants grow significantly larger than those of Arabica or Robusta.Today, it’s largely cultivated in southern and eastern Asia after Arabica crops were hit by the ‘coffee rust’ disease.
The flavour of Liberica coffee is unusual and often a point of contention among coffee lovers who either love it or hate it.This is because the taste is very strong with a burning after effect.
Excelsa coffee beans
A relatively recent addition to coffee bean classification, Excelsa coffee has a tart and fruity flavour. These beans are unusual as they sport characteristics typically found in both light and dark roast varieties. As a result, Excelsa are often used to add complexity and depth to a blend.
The large Excelsa coffee plants are grown almost exclusively in southeast Asia at middling altitudes.This often means the beans are difficult to come by in western countries. However, we stock many coffee varieties from across Asia.
Buy wholesale coffee beans
We’re willing to bet you hadn’t heard of one or two of those coffee bean types before. If you want to branch out in your coffee drinking, a great way to start is by looking for lesser-known types and varieties. If you’ve been put off a certain type of coffee in the past, it might just be because you got it from a poor-quality distributor. At Pumphreys, we use our extensive industry knowledge to source only the highest quality beans. We then use traditional roasting techniques to bring out the best in each variety.
Any of the types above can be made available as decaf coffee beans. Contact us today.