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About the beans.

Updated: Nov 15, 2021

Coffee beans are seeds of the Coffea plant. And there are about 120 different types of coffee plants and within these there are variations as well, however most people are only familiar with 2 types: Arabica and Robusta. Did you know that scientifically, they are not beans but fruits or cherries and are called beans because of their resemblance to actual beans?

It takes on average about 5 years for a plant to reach maturity and only then will it yield about half a kilo of coffee per year. The harvest is very labor intensive and the most exclusive Coffea plants are harvested by hand to make sure to only pick the ripe cherries.

Expert tip: For every cup, we encourage you to use fresh, organic and high-quality ingredients when available. Remember that the taste of the beans can vary based on the season, the conditions they grew in as well as the influence and methods employed by the farmer and roaster.

Spill the beans…

There are a lot of bean varieties but to keep it simple for now, we will focus on the four most popular types of coffee beans and each one has a distinct different taste profile. Two of which you have most likely heard from your coffee specialist or seen on packaging as they are more widely used: Arabica and Robusta but now you know that there is also the Liberica and Excelsa beans...

Arabica The Arabica coffee comes from the beans of the plant Coffea Arabica which originates from Ethiopia. It’s the most popular and known type of coffee making over half the cups of coffee served worldwide. The trees grow in high altitudes and need shade and a lot of rain to grow best.

From a composition point of view, the Arabica beans contain more lipids and almost twice the amount of sugar and therefore has many drinkers’ preference as it produces a smoother, sweeter, less bitter taste. It is worth knowing also that it contains less caffeine than the Robusta beans.

Robusta The plant grows in hotter climate and is more forgiving of various altitudes and irregular rainfalls which makes it easier to cultivate. Most beans are harvested from Vietnam, Brazil, Indonesia and Uganda and India.

The second most popular coffee bean in the world, Robusta beans have a stronger, more bitter taste and as mentioned before has more caffeine. One could say its name says it all as it has a robust coffee taste mostly preferred by coffee lovers who appreciate most boost in their coffee and a grainier overtone. Liberica Much lesser known because it accounts for less than 2% of the commercial coffee sold and used, the Liberica beans are typically larger than the others and with a somewhat more irregular or almond shape. The Liberica bean originates from Liberia in west Africa but was in the 1890’s transported to be cultivated in the Philippines and Indonesia and most recently 95% come from Malaysia. It is a sturdier plant which can cope with hotter climates as well as more pests and diseases than the others.

It is worth knowing the Liberica beans are considered endangered due to the low number of plantations and therefore they are hard to find and buy. If you get your hands on some, grind only the amount you need so you can enjoy them longer. It’s also worth knowing that they do get added to other coffee blends to give it more dimension which brings us to its unique taste: smoky and floral and offer a more woody overtone.

Excelsa The Excelsa bean grows mostly in south east Asia and India and is a very resilient productive bean that grows on a more tree like formed plant than the other species. But its asymmetrical fruits require more work to come to maturity and requires extensive management costs and care which explains why it's not the most commercially preferred coffee bean. As a result, the name of the bean was often used to sell Liberica beans instead and ultimately was reclassified in 2006 as a member of the Liberica bean family.

If you get your hands on Excelsa beans, know that they will hold less caffeine and the roasting process is more intricate and sensitive. Medium and light roasts will offer a more fruity taste and when drinking a darker roast, you will enjoy notes of chocolate instead.

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