Four Most Popular Types Of Coffee Beans And Their Characteristics

You’ve been drinking coffee for most of your life. Have you wondered about the types of coffee beans that go into brewing your favorite cup of joe? Increase your coffee knowledge and learn about the popular types of coffee beans. Find the right ones for your brew!


Discovered in Central Africa, Excelsa has a minimal presence of only about 7% in the global coffee market. It’s mainly cultivated in Southeast Asia today. It thrives best in altitudes between 1000 to 1300 meters above sea level. Excelsa beans have lower caffeine compared to the Arabica, with caffeine levels ranging from 0.86 to 1.13g  per 100g. You can get fruity notes with a medium-light roast.


Arabica is the most commonly produced coffee currently. Originated in Ethiopia, it makes up around 60% of the world’s coffee production. They grow best at high altitudes with constant rainfall, natural shade, and minimal temperature fluctuations. They are easy to look after and harvest as they usually only grow up to 6 feet tall. As Arabica beans have a sweeter flavor, they are the most popular beans in the current market. High-quality Arabica coffee has a satisfying sweet flavor with a slight taste of chocolate, caramel, and nuts. You’ll likely get a tinge of bitterness as well.

However, Arabica is also prone to diseases like Coffee Berry Disease and Coffee Leaf Rust. It can be challenging to manage Arabica plants because one sick plant could affect the entire crop. These are some of the countries that produce the best Arabica beans:

  • Colombia
  • Mexico
  • Brazil
  • India
  • Ethiopia
  • Ecuador


Robusta is the second most commonly grown coffee bean. Its name is derived due to its more robust nature compared to Arabica. It can thrive in different environments and is less susceptible to disease. Even so, it can’t outshine Arabica because the flavors and aroma of Robusta just aren't as well-loved. They are darker with a more earthy flavor and are more suitable for a dark roast. They also have twice the amount of caffeine found in Arabica.

Robusta beans are great for making espresso. In fact, you’ll realize that lots of espresso blends in Southern Italy contain Robusta beans. Their dark, earthy flavor mixes well with steamed milk.

It might also be interesting to know that some farmers are working to create Robusta-Arabica hybrids.


Liberica coffee beans only account for about 2% of the current coffee production. They grow well in places with well-drained soils and reach a much taller height than Arabica or Robusta. The coffee beans are larger and come in irregular shapes. Although it originated in West Africa, Liberica is cultivated in the Philippines and Malaysia today. Liberica produces a flavor that’s not to everyone’s liking. It has a combination of fruity, floral, and woody flavors.

What Should You Choose?

Arabica, Robusta, Excelsa, and Liberica produce different flavors depending on how they are processed and roasted. If you enjoy bittersweet tasting coffee, Robusta, Excelsa, and Liberica coffee are good choices. If you want a sweeter taste, Arabica beans are what you should opt for.
Written by Tyler Disney

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