Updated: Sep 13
The world of coffee is captivating as it is intricately nuanced. Time and again, it has been reiterated by coffee lovers and enthusiasts alike that a single sip can take you on a journey of how your coffee came to be. This is not merely for the sake of storytelling but for the love and appreciation for the art that is coffee making and the effort behind growing different types of coffee beans.That favorite brew of yours, the mere whiff that makes your eyes sparkle and a sip of which brings a spring to your steps, has taken a long journey to be there in your coffee cup.
In this blog, we will explore the diverse flavors, aromas, and characteristics of different coffee bean types of coffee beans. From the enchanting Bean Belt to the various coffee-growing regions and distinct varieties of coffee beans, we will uncover the secrets that give the coffee a unique ambrosial effect.
Where Is Coffee Grown?
First things first, let's begin with the origins of coffee.
Most coffee plants are cultivated within a geographic area called the "Bean Belt" or the " Cofee Belt." This belt stretches around the Equator between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer. Located between approximately 25 degrees north and 30 degrees south latitude, this zone is endowed with optimal conditions for coffee cultivation, such as temperature, rainfall, and altitude. Most countries and regions acclaimed for their varieties of coffee production, including those in Central America, South America, North America, Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and India, come under this Bean Belt. The unique combination of climate and geography within the bean belt contributes to cultivating diverse and exceptional coffee bean varieties worldwide.
Uncover the world's finest coffee beans as we navigate the global coffee landscape to reveal the prime sources, ensuring you indulge in only the most exceptional brews. Let's take a look at some of the richest coffee regions around the world.
1. Central America
Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, Central American countries like Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Honduras boast a rich coffee heritage. Their volcanic soils and high altitudes enable these regions to produce exceptional Arabica beans with delicate flavors, bright acidity, and diverse tasting notes.
2. South America
Home to coffee bigwigs like Brazil and Columbia, South America is a coffee lover's paradise. Brazil, the largest coffee producer in the world, offers a wide range of coffee profiles, from nutty and chocolaty to fruity and vibrant. Colombia, famous for its supremely balanced Arabica beans, delights with notes of caramel, citrus, and floral undertones.
3. North America
While North America is not your conventional coffee cultivation region, places like Hawaii and California have managed to make a mark on the specialty coffee map. Hawaii's Kona coffee is renowned for its smooth, medium-bodied profile, while California's emerging coffee scene brings forth unique flavor profiles from small-scale producers.
The birthplace of coffee, Africa has a rich coffee heritage and produces some of the world's most distinguished types of coffee beans. With its complex and fruity flavors, Ethiopian coffee captivates the senses with blueberry, jasmine, and bergamot notes. Kenya's bright and lively Arabica beans exhibit blackcurrant, citrus, and wine-like acidity flavors.
5. The Middle East
The Middle East is special in coffee history, with Yemen being the birthplace of the world's first coffee brew. Arabian coffee, known for its profound cultural significance, offers a unique experience with its rich, spicy, and earthy flavors.
6. Southeast Asia
The coffee-growing regions of Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand, contribute significantly to the global coffee market. Indonesia produces a variety of Arabica and Robusta types of coffee beans, with Sumatra's Mandheling beans renowned for their full body and intense flavors. Conversely, Vietnam is the world's largest Robusta producer, offering a bold and rich coffee experience.
India has a vibrant coffee culture, particularly in southern regions like Karnataka and Kerala. Indian coffee, predominantly Arabica, flaunts a range of flavors, from mild and nutty to spicy and chocolaty. Their unique processing methods, like monsooning have a hand in providing a distinct character to Indian coffee.
Types of Coffee Beans
The world of coffee beans is vast and diverse. With over 120 varieties of coffee plants, each one yields a unique type of coffee bean. However, most of the coffee consumed can be traced back to two main variants: Robusta (Coffea Robusta or Coffea Canephora) and Arabica (Coffea Arabica), or a combination of both. These two varieties of coffee widely stand apart in taste, the specific growing conditions required, and their respective price ranges. We shall also look at Liberica (Coffee liberica) and Excelsa (Coffee liberica var. dewevrei), exploring their distinctive characteristics and what differentiates them from the more commonly consumed coffee varieties.
Arabica, often called the "king of coffee," accounts for a significant portion of global coffee production. Boasting a rich history, it is believed to be one of the earliest cultivated coffee bean varieties dating back to 1,000 BC. They are oval in shape with a prominent center crease and larger size compared to Robusta beans.
They have vibrant and intricate flavors with a sweeter and softer taste profile, often featuring notes of fruits, florals, chocolate, and nuts, although their acidity levels can be higher.
The higher price tag of Arabica coffee can be attributed to its delicate nature and specific cultivation requirements, including favorable weather conditions and altitude. Arabica beans are Typically grown at altitudes ranging from 500m to 2500m and possess lower caffeine content than other varieties. Latin America, particularly Brazil, holds the distinction of being the largest producer of Arabica coffee.
Robusta beans are known for their higher caffeine content and robust flavors. They are cultivated in regions with lower altitudes and a warmer climate. Robusta has a bitter and earthy profile compared to Arabica. This type of coffee bean is often used in espresso blends for its crema-enhancing properties.
Robusta coffee is commonly cultivated in Africa, Vietnam, and Indonesia. It has a lower acidity level with a less sweet taste, allowing its deep and robust flavor compounds to shine. This variety often exhibits notes of wood or burnt rubber, making it a popular choice for those seeking a rich espresso experience with a layer of crema.
Such coffee bean varieties thrive in altitudes below 1000m, maturing faster than Arabica. It yields a higher crop per tree and displays more resistance to pests and weather conditions, making Robusta more affordable than Arabica.
In terms of appearance, Robusta beans are smaller and more circular than their Arabica counterparts. They typically have a paler tint, and the center crease is less pronounced. These unique characteristics make Robusta coffee easily distinguishable from other types of coffee beans.
Liberica, is one of the rare and unique varieties of coffee grown in limited quantities, primarily in the Philippines and Malaysia. It is distinctively large in size and irregular in shape and offers a bold and smoky flavor profile, often described as having hints of dark chocolate and floral notes.
Excelsa is on of the lesser-known coffee beans varieties. It is closely related to Liberica and is cultivated mainly in Southeast Asia. It has a complex and intriguing blend of elements with its tart and fruity flavors, featuring notes of dark cherry, grapefruit, and a hint of smokiness.
How to choose your specialty coffee?
Finding the right coffee beans type for you is a matter of personal preference and is about discovering what works for you. If you are keen to explore Arabica coffee's vast and flavorful world, MOKAFÉ offers a wide selection of distinct varieties of coffee from Yemen and Guatemala. Yemeni Arabica provides a rich and exotic taste with notes of chocolate and berry, while Guatemalan Arabica entices with its vibrant acidity and hints of citrus.
Whether you prefer it piping hot or delightfully chilled, Arabica coffee can be savored as a comforting hot brew or transformed into a refreshing iced beverage.
At MOKAFÉ, we ensure that every coffee beans variety is fresh from the farm, guaranteeing you the best and most authentic coffee experience. From the moment the beans are harvested, they undergo careful processing and roasting to preserve their natural flavors and aromas. We take pride in bringing the journey from farm to cup directly to you, allowing you to savor the different types of coffee beans from Yemen and Guatemala.
So, when you choose Arabica coffee from MOKAFÉ, you select exceptional flavors and support a commitment to freshness, quality, and sustainability. Indulge in the unique tastes of Yemeni and Guatemalan Arabica, and let us take you on a journey from farm to cup like no other.
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About The Author: Jorge Armando Ciciliani
Jorge is a seasoned coffee professional with a lifelong passion for all things coffee. For over a decade, he has fervently immersed himself in the world of coffee, mastering its preparation, understanding its societal impact, and uncovering its cultural significance. Starting as a barista at the young age of 15 and later managing a coffee roastery, this journey led him to work as a quality control manager for a green coffee importer. Traveling across countries in Central and North America, Jorge has explored various coffee traditions and honed his skills through Specialty Coffee Association courses. As a QC Cupping coffee connoisseur and sensory skills enthusiast, Jorge is a true expert in the art of brewing and savoring the perfect cup. Consider him your trusted Fika expert.