Walking through the coffee aisle of your local store, you’ve probably noticed that most of the bags state “Arabica Coffee” or “Arabica Beans”. Ever wonder why? There are actually several different types of coffee beans, with Arabica being the most common. It accounts for about 70% of coffee produced globally. Usually, when we think of how coffee is grouped and marketed, we’re thinking of roasting profiles and/or source of origin. This information is very helpful in identifying what to expect from a given coffee, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Let’s take a closer look at what types of coffees are out there and what makes each of them unique.
As mentioned earlier, Arabica is the most common (and certainly most heavily marketed) type of coffee in North America because it has a sweeter, more delicate flavor and the coffee itself tends to be less acidic. Arabica beans are farmed in areas with high elevations above sea level, particularly those where rain is plentiful. Brazil and Colombia, known for lush rainforests, are the world’s foremost exporter of Arabica beans. The plants themselves are delicate, requiring a fair amount of pruning and constant attention to environmental factors. The Arabica coffee species is particularly prone to disease so farming in great quantities is a challenge. This drives up the cost of the bean considerably in the global market, but many coffee drinkers around the world are happy to pay the difference because of the softer, sweeter taste.
One point to note about the popular but sensitive Arabica coffee bean is that its taste has a reputation of being diminished a bit when it is roasted past a medium profile. It is best at light, light/medium, and medium roast profiles. While that may be the case, everyone's taste is different and, subjectively speaking, it’s fair to say the difference in roasting darker than a medium roast profile probably won’t be noticeable when you’re adding some additional flavor to the drink.
When it comes to global production, Robusta coffee beans are second on the list and the most popular in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Its name does this bean justice, as it is known for its strong and often harsh flavor profile. Robusta coffees have extremely high levels of caffeine, which makes the plant far more resilient than the Arabica species because the caffeine within this bean type acts as natural insect repellent, eliminating a major threat to the tree. The coffee "canephora" species is also particularly tolerant of its environment, so it can be grown in a variety of altitudes and climates. Robusta has a reputation for tasting burnt or rubbery and is not generally a very popular coffee commodity, except where very strong coffee is a cultural norm. However, because it’s so much easier to grow and harvest than Arabica beans, many farmers do tend to reap higher profits when they can sell Robusta.
Drinking coffee is about finding what you enjoy and sticking with it. Knowing that Arabica and Robusta are the most prevalent and affordable options you’ll encounter on a regular basis, think about how you actually like to drink your coffee, hot or cold brew, iced, with or without additives. Usually, if you’re more of a coffee purist who enjoys a simple fresh, hot, black coffee then our Ethiopian coffee products would be some coffees to consider. If you generally prefer pouring your coffee over ice or enjoying it with some additional flavor add-ins, then our medium/dark or dark espresso coffees will be something that you'll enjoy.
Remember, it's all about finding what works for you, so try different things and enjoy the process! Take your time and enjoy our 100% Arabica coffees from RhoadsRoast.
Life is too short for cheap coffees so relax, enjoy the brew, stay well, be safe.
The RhoadsRoast Coffees Family