You know there’s tons of different types of coffees out there. You’ve had lattes and espressos and macchiatos. But what about the beans, the building blocks of any cup of coffee? How many types of coffee beans exist?
The two most popular types of coffee beans
Arabica – Arabica beans are an extremely popular type of bean. Roasty Coffee identifies Arabica as perhaps the most popular coffee bean out there, with many households using Arabica beans to brew their morning coffee. Elite World Hotels points out that Arabica beans can be found in Indonesia, Brazil, India, Ethiopia, Columbia and Uganda, to name just a few nations.
Robusta – Almost as popular as Arabica beans, Robusta beans are much stronger and are most often used to make espressos. In turn, many recipes and drinks using espresso, from cappuccinos to mochas, and are sought after by those who like their coffee strong and bitter.
Types of beans:
- Arabica – It’s not too mild and not too strong, making it a very flexible bean that is found across the globe. Nearly all non-espresso coffees use arabica beans, to the point that many coffee blogs don’t even discuss other beans besides Arabica, Robusta and sometimes Liberica. The countries mentioned above, have special links to Arabica coffee, whether it’s the wide variety of beans they offer (Columbia, for example, has Supremo and Extra as two types of Arabica beans) or the history they have with coffee (Ethiopia is sometimes as the birthplace of coffee).
- Robusta – A stronger bean, Roasty Coffee notes how most espressos are made with Robusta beans. These beans produce strong and oftentimes acidic coffee that is used in a wide variety of espresso recipes.
- Liberica – Liberica beans, Elite World Hotels points out, are a “low yield” type of coffee bean. This means that it’s a rather weak bean that’s used best in mild drinks or to make cooking coffee that should be undetectable.
- Civet – Also called kopi luwak coffee, this expensive coffee was perhaps made infamous by Jack Nicholson’s character in “The Bucket List”. Civet coffee beans are undigested coffee cherries that have been eaten by the civet animal, as Enjoy Java writes. The enzymes in the civet’s digestive system are said to make the beans produce a delicious brew.
Other types of beans:
- Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee – Grown from the blue mountains in Jamaica, these coffee beans are described as being strong and rich, as Dripped Coffee says. It managed to have a kick to it without being too acidic, making it a complex, delicious coffee that comes with a hefty price tag.
- Excelsa – Accounting for less than 10% of the world’s coffee beans, Atlas Coffee Club writes that excelsa is officially classified as a type of liberica bean. However, many coffee lovers and enthusiasts consider it its own bean. It has a complex flavor, and is often described as being “tart” and “fruity”. It has characteristic of both light and dark roast coffee beans, making coffee made with excelsa beans a much sought-after drink among enthusiasts.
- Typica – Though it’s a cultivar of Arabica, Typica coffee beans have become very popular and taken on a life of their own. These beans are, as Espresso and Coffee Guide say, naturally quite sweet and are divided into many different sub-sub varieties. Typica beans are used in some of the tastiest and finest coffees.
- Bourbon – Just like Typica beans, Bourbon coffee beans are an Arabica cultivar. Bourbon coffee beans have a “deep, buttery chocolate” flavors, as Bourbon Coffee USA writes. These beans can also yield very sweet, almost fruity flavors, much like their Typica bean cousins.
Places to find these beans:
Though you won’t have any trouble locating Arabica, Robusta, Liberica or Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee at the store, the others mentioned on this list might be a bit harder to come across. Amazon is a great place to find just about any kind of bean or type of coffee. More “premium” coffees such as civet coffee and excelsia coffee are easily found on the online store with a simple search.
However, some other websites are dedicated to selling online coffee, and have quite a bit of variety themselves. Vendors sell many different kinds of beans, and even carry gourmet coffees, gourmet teas and flavorings. These specialized sites make it easier to organize coffee by the region the beans come from. It is also organized by the brew method the beans are intended for, and their roast. Power Creamer also sells a power frother to froth milk to make lattes and other specialized drinks.
There are several different kinds of beans out there, and though you’ll probably have a hard time finding kopi luwak or excelsia beans at your local grocery store, this knowledge will help you get the most out of your next coffee-drinking experience!