Coffee bean varieties and their characteristics

On average, one coffee harvest occurs each year, the timing of which is determined by the geographical zone in which the crop is grown. Countries south of the Equator harvest their coffee in April and May, whilst countries north of the Equator harvest their coffee later in the year, starting in September.

Do you like coffee?

Considering the variety of coffee beans and where they come from, have you ever given it a second thought? Not many people get the chance!

Learn more about the most common types of coffee beans on the market to appreciate your cup of coffee to the fullest.

Arabica, Robusta, Excelsia, and Liberica are the four most common coffee varieties, and each one has a distinct flavour profile.


The most common variety, Arabica beans, accounts for 60–70% of all coffee consumed worldwide. Their distinctive oval shape and curved crease make them easy to spot. Initially originating in Ethiopia around 1000 BC, Arabica coffee beans are now grown worldwide.

These beans require a constant supply of rain and a lot of shade to thrive.

One of the reasons this coffee bean UK is so popular maybe because the trees are easy to care for, small, and easy to prune. They are fragile and susceptible to environmental influences, however.

The Robusta (Coffea Canephora)

This is followed by Robusta, the second most popular coffee bean in the world.

Robusta beans account for 30–40% of all coffee beans produced globally. They have a straight crease and are smaller and rounder. Earthy and bitter, with a nutty finish, are the characteristics of Robusta beans. However, it has been likened to the smell of burned rubber.

This type of coffee bean thrives in a hot climate with irregular rainfall, and it can also grow at a variety of elevations. Compared to Arabica beans, Robusta beans contain twice as much caffeine, making them an excellent choice for a jolt of energy and a more astringent flavour.

In addition, the beans have a creamy texture and are said to have a hint of chocolate flavour, making them ideal for pairing with milk and sugar (perhaps as an iced coffee).

 Excelsa (Coffea Excelsa, or Coffea Liberica Var. Dewevrei)

Once regarded as a distinct type of coffee, Excelsa beans are now considered a variation of Liberica. Like Liberica, these almond-shaped fruits are grown primarily in Southeast Asia.

It is estimated that 7 percent of the world’s coffee is made up of Excelsa beans. As a result, they are a sought-after bean because of their tart and fruity flavour profile. When blended with Robusta or Arabica coffee, the flavour profile is enhanced.


Finally, the Liberica bean is one of the most challenging coffee beans to find. Compared to other beans, they are larger and the only ones in the world with an irregular shape known to exist. Some claim that Liberica beans aren’t just smoky but also fruity and floral. The bottom line is that you get the right knowledge about the varieties.

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