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Coffee Varieties Explained


Coffee, the elixir of morning rituals, creative fuel for the masses, and a beverage celebrated globally for its complex flavors and energizing properties, comes in an array of varieties that can satisfy any palate. From the robust and bold to the smooth and subtle, the world of coffee offers a rich tapestry of tastes and aromas. This blog post will guide you through the different varieties of coffee, exploring their unique characteristics and origins. Whether you’re a coffee aficionado or a curious newcomer, prepare to embark on a flavorful journey through the world in a coffee cup.

1. Arabica (Coffea arabica)

Arabica is the most popular coffee species, renowned for its smooth, complex flavor profiles. Originating from Ethiopia, it represents about 60-70% of the world’s coffee production. Arabica beans thrive in high altitudes and are predominantly grown in Latin America, Eastern Africa, Asia, and Arabia. They tend to have a higher acidity, with a wide range of flavors that can include hints of fruit, sugar, and berries. Arabica beans are often preferred for specialty and high-quality coffee products.

2. Robusta (Coffea canephora)

Robusta, as the name suggests, is known for its robust flavor profile, higher caffeine content, and generally more bitter taste compared to Arabica. It is hardy and resistant to pests and diseases, making it easier to cultivate. Predominantly grown in Africa, Indonesia, and Vietnam, Robusta beans are often used in espresso blends for their rich crema and full body. They are also typically cheaper and are favored in regions and blends where a strong coffee is desired.

3. Liberica (Coffea liberica)

Liberica is a unique variety with a distinctive fruity and floral flavor profile, accompanied by a somewhat woody or smoky taste. It is less common than Arabica and Robusta and is primarily grown in West Africa, Malaysia, and the Philippines. The beans are larger and more irregular in shape. Liberica offers a unique coffee experience, appreciated by those looking for a distinct and unconventional taste.

4. Excelsa (Coffea excelsa or Coffea liberica var. dewevrei)

Often considered a variant of Liberica, Excelsa grows mostly in Southeast Asia and accounts for a small fraction of global coffee production. It is treasured for its tart, fruity flavors and its aromatic complexity that some describe as having a spicy or peppery quality. Excelsa beans are used to provide a unique twist in coffee blends, offering a different dimension of taste that’s not found in other coffee species.

Specialty Coffee Varietals

Within these main species, there are numerous varietals, each with its own unique flavor profile influenced by the terroir of its region. Here are a few notable ones:

a. Geisha/Gesha
Originally from Ethiopia but made famous by Panama, Geisha coffee is highly sought after for its exceptional floral and fruity notes, often with hints of jasmine, citrus, and peach.

b. Bourbon
A high-quality Arabica varietal known for its sweet complexity and balanced taste. It is named after an island in the Indian Ocean where it was first cultivated.

c. Typica
This is the base varietal from which many other Arabica beans are derived. It is known for its clean and sweet flavor profile.

Exploring Through Brewing

The way coffee is brewed can also highlight different aspects of its variety. From the full immersion of French Press to the precise extraction of pour-over, experimenting with brewing methods can enhance your appreciation of coffee’s diverse flavors.


In Jamaica we grow several strains of the Typica Arabica variety along with some Geisha. The world of coffee is vast and varied, with each type of bean offering a unique window into the cultures and climates that nurture them. Whether you gravitate towards the classic, smooth flavors of Arabica, the boldness of Robusta, the rarity of Liberica, or the exotic appeal of Excelsa, each cup offers a story of its origins and the careful processes that brought it to fruition. By exploring the different varieties of coffee, you not only expand your palate but also connect with a global community of producers, roasters, and enthusiasts who share a passion for this remarkable beverage.