From Brazil to Colombia, from Africa to India: coffee is cultivated throughout the tropical zone. Of the world’s coffee production, 70% is Arabica, 25% Robusta and the remainder is divided between the Liberica and Excelsa varieties.
Did you know there are more than 60 species of coffee plant? However, fewer than half of themare used for the fruits and only 4 are of commercial value: Arabica, Robusta, Liberica and Excelsa. Let’s see what their main features are…
The result of several centuries of evolution, Coffee Arabica is the most delicate and valuable coffee variety. Originally from Arabia, it grows best in a mineral-rich soil. It is appreciated all over the world because it offers a full-bodied drink with a pungent taste and low caffeine content. Its beans are slightly elongated, with green or blue stripes.
Discovered in the Congo in 1898, Coffee Robusta is widespread in Africa, Asia and Indonesia, where the climate is the opposite if that in which Arabica thrives. Coffee Robusta has a higher caffeine content, (about the double that of Arabica) and a strong temperament that it makes it ideal in the creation of specialty blends. Its beans are typically small, rounded and yellow-brown in colour.
Coffea Liberica is originally from the forests of Liberia and Costa d’Avorio. Compared to Arabica, it is very resistant to parasites and it produces bigger and more scented grains, but with a poorer quality than the others varieties.
Discovered in 1904, nowadays Coffea Excelsa grows in Africa, Indonesia and Vietnam. It has a better yield than Arabica and its grains are scented and aromatic. Due to its extreme resistance it is often used as a graft holder to assist in the cultivation of the more delicate and valuable coffee varieties.
From these 4 varieties, used independantly or mixed together, with different roasting parameters, countless aromas and flavors can be obtained. So, over to you: what’s your favorite coffee?