The Types of Coffee Beans Behind The Brews You Love
October 11, 2019 | Blog
There’s always a time and place to have a good cuppa. But how much do you know about the story behind your favourite beans? Learn about the simple but significant coffee beans that make your cuppas taste distinct and different in cafes and at home. But first, coffee.
Anyone who has ever walked past a cafe has seen this name. Making up about 60% of the total world coffee consumption, Arabica beans are delicate and have to be farmed with great care. Acidic, multilayered and equipped with a bright body, Arabica beans are grown in large quantities all throughout Central and South America as well as Southeast Asia. They originate from southwestern highlands of Ethiopia, but are also grown widely in India and Myanmar. As the taste diminishes when served cold or mixed with creamer, these beans are better appreciated when brewed or served hot.
Their names aren’t just ornamental! Because they contain twice as much caffeine as Arabica beans, the Robusta species are immune to diseases and can withstand any altitude. However, they do require a hot climate with irregular rainfall, and as such are grown primarily in Africa and Indonesia. Usually smooth in texture, with low acidity and hints of chocolate, these beans give rise to a harsher, more bitter flavour than their Arabica counterparts when roasted. Due to their intensity, Robusta beans are best used when poured as an espresso shot, or when cream and sugar are added.
Did you know Liberica beans were brought to the Philippines to replace Arabica beans that were destroyed by a disease? Since then, the Philippines has been the main country responsible for growing these beans, though Malaysia has recently started growing them too. Large, with an asymmetrical shape unlike the generic coffee bean, they have the unique ability to absorb and store external flavours introduced during pollination and fermentation. Their floral, fruity fragrance contrast their full body and woody, smoky taste. Because of their intensity, they are perfect in coffee blends.
Though only comprising about 7% of the world’s coffee consumption, Excelsa coffee beans are mainly grown in Southeast Asia and is used particularly in Vietnam. Added to the ranks of the Liberica bean family as of 2006, this species has a tart, fruity flavour that tastes similar to a light roast coffee interspersed with subtle, underlying dark roast notes to allow the best of both worlds. These beans are largely used in coffee blends for that extra coffee vigour, or to layer the drink for increased complexity.
Check out your nearest Village Grocer for some high-quality coffee beans, or just drop by the Village Grocer Cafe in Bangsar for a cup of your favourite brew!
Keep it fresh,
Your friendly neighbourhood grocer.