Types of coffee beans

When the word coffee is mentioned, a majority of us immediately picture a hot, black or caramel colored liquid in a mug or cup that stimulates our brain. The word can also be used to refer to the primary substance used to make the drink. The element is known as the coffee beans.
types of coffee bean

Mother nature provided us with two major types of coffee beans:

1. Robusta coffee
2. Arabica coffee

Of the two, the Arabica parent plant is easier to grow, since it requires little maintenance and is resistant to some diseases. Over 70 percent of all the coffee beans sold worldwide are Arabica. While Robusta coffee may not be resistant to diseases, it offers higher quality beans that have a more pleasing flavor and aromatic qualities.

It is said, there are so many types of beans in the modern world, below are a few of the famous beans:

• Benghalensis
• Coffee congensis
• Coffee liberica
• Coffee stenophylla
• Coffee bonnieri
• Coffee gallienii
• Coffee mogeneti

These coffee types hardly make it to the export market and constitute a minuscule percentage to the overall proportion of coffee in the world.


Just a brief history of the two major types of coffee beans.

1. Arabica

A Swedish botanist who was known by the name Linnaeus, first discovered it. It was first found growing naturally in the Arabian Peninsula, in Ethiopia. Besides it being the most common coffee species that is grown for commercial purposes, it was the first specie of coffee to be cultivated. It is said that all the elegant, fancy and specialty coffee grades have their origins in the coffee Arabica species.

2. Robusta

A Dutch botanist, a native to the Republic of Congo, discovered it. It was the area known as East Java, which started the systematic breeding of this type of coffee. However, in the modern world, Vietnam is the number one producer of this kind of coffee.

Main differences in these coffee beans

Here are some of the differences between these two coffee beans

• Due to its high caffeine content, Robusta has been said to have a rubbery or burnt tire taste. Robusta carries 2.7 percent caffeine content while Arabica only has 1.5 percent.
• Arabica contains more sugar and higher lipid content. The figure stands at about 60 percent more lipids and a concentration of sugar that is double that of Robusta.
• As earlier stated, Robusta is more resistant to diseases and pests. Therefore, it produces a higher yield than Arabica. The overhead resistance in Robusta is attributed to its higher caffeine content, which is toxic to pests.
• On the market, green Robusta beans are almost half the price of green Arabica beans.
• Shape-wise, the Robusta beans are more rounded, while Arabica beans are oval.
• The parent plant of the Robusta beans grows to a height of between 4.5 to 6 meters, while that of Arabica grows to between 2.5 to 4.5 meters.
• In regards to the content of Chlorogenic acid or CGA, Robusta contains 7 to10 percent while Arabica contains 5.5 to 8 percent. The plants use this acid as one of their defenses against insects.
• The percentage differences regarding worldwide growth is about 75 percent Robusta, while Arabica takes a thee remaining chunk of 25 percent.
• Robusta thrives at lower altitudes than Arabica. Arabica must be grown at 3,000 feet above sea level. On the other hand, Robusta grows at 2,000 feet above sea level.


The word is used to refer to plant varieties that have been produced in cultivation through methods such as selective breeding. The most common Arabica varieties are Var.Bourbon and Var.Typica. The var.typica is the older of the two and forms the foundation around which the other numerous variations emerged. Both of these cultivars originated from the native forests of southwestern Ethiopia.

• Var.Bourbon

It was first cultivated on the French-controlled island of Bourbon, whose name was later changed to Reunion. Besides Var.Typica, bourbon is the second most commercialized variety of coffee Arabica. Quite a number of Latin-American coffees can be traced back to this particular cultivar. The Bourbon variety contains a greater diversity in its genetics compared to the Var.Typica variety. The main reason behind this is, the Var.Typica variety is born from just one plant.

• Var.Typica

It is native to Ethiopia and is both the oldest and most famous of all the coffee varieties. It has limitations regarding low yields but on the other hand, it makes an excellent cup of coffee. Some of the top Latin American coffees are from this variety. The parent plant of this variety can grow to 3.5 meters or even 4 meters in height.

The Lifecycle

Before the coffee beans end up as a hot drink in your cup or mug, they go through quite an exciting process.

• Harvesting

It comes after the maintenance and ripening of the cherries. The farmers do harvesting manually.

• Sorting

After the cherries have been harvested, they are sorted. The method employed during picking depends on the outcome of the required taste.

• Processing

There are two types of processing:

1. Dry processing
2. Wet processing

Dry processing involves exposing the cherries to the sun followed by the removal of pulp and the dried skin. The process can last for up to two weeks, and the beans require constant raking, to eliminate the development of mildew.

Wet processing involves placing the cherries in water and the defective ones are sorted out. The defective ones are those that float. Thereafter, the cherries are processed through a machine, it is a machine that only allows the seed and some pulp through its holes in order to press the cherries. The pulp is then removed leaving only beans, which are dried, to about 10 or 12 percent moisture.


It involves removal of the parchment layer from the soaked beans. For this process a machine is usually used.


Any silver skin that may be left after hulling is gotten rid of during the polishing process.


The beans are sorted based on their size and weight. They then are checked for any defects, and those with even the slightest deformity are discarded. Once they make it through this process, the coffee beans are called green beans.


The roasting process is done at 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The beans have to be in constant motion to avoid burning. After they are roasted, they are immediately cooled with the use of air or water.
Once all this is done, they are packed and sent to the market.

Final thoughts

Now that you know so much about the types of coffee beans that are available, it is my sincere hope that you will enjoy the drink even more.

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