Arabica tends to have a smoother, sweeter taste, with flavor notes of chocolate and sugar. They often also have hints of fruits or berries. Robusta, on the other hand, has a stronger, harsher and more bitter taste, with grainy or rubbery overtones.
Coffea arabica (/əˈræbɪkə/), also known as the Arabian coffee, "coffee shrub of Arabia", "mountain coffee" or "arabica coffee", is a species of Coffea. It is believed to be the first species of coffee to be cultivated, and is the dominant cultivar, representing about 60% of global production.
Coffee produced from the (less acidic, more bitter, and more highly caffeinated) robusta bean (C. canephora) makes up most of the remaining coffee production. Arabica coffee originates from Ethiopia and was first cultivated in Yemen, and documented by the 12th century. Coffea arabica is called بُنّ (būnn) in Arabic, borrowed from the Oromo "Buna".
Coffea canephora (syn. Coffea robusta), commonly known as robusta coffee, is a species of coffee that has its origins in central and western sub-Saharan Africa. It is a species of flowering plant in the family Rubiaceae. Though widely known as Coffea robusta, the plant is scientifically identified as Coffea canephora, which has two main varieties, robusta and nganda.
There are several differences between the composition of beans from Coffea arabica and Coffea robusta.
Coffea liberica (or Liberian coffee) is a species of flowering plant in the family Rubiaceae from which coffee is produced. It is native to western and central Africa from Liberia to Uganda and Angola, and has become naturalized in the Philippines, Indonesia, Seychelles, the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Malaysia
The Excelsa coffee bean has been recently re-classified as a member of the Liberica family. However, taking a closer look at this variety, you can see that the two flavors couldn’t be any more different.
Excelsa grows mostly in Southeast Asia and accounts for a mere 7% of the world’s coffee circulation. It is largely used in blends in order to give the coffee an extra boost of flavor and complexity, better affecting the middle and back palate.
Coffee varieties are the diverse subspecies derived through selective breeding or natural selection of coffee plants. While there is tremendous variability encountered in both wild and cultivated coffee plants, there are a few varieties and cultivars that are commercially important due to various unique and inherent traits such as disease resistance and fruit yield. These unique traits are what producers use to select breeds when developing crops. Therefore, at a micro level, breed selection is critical to the success of a producer and is one of the key components of cup quality.
At a macro level, the viability of the coffee industry as a whole is dependent upon breed selection. Already, the majority of coffee produced originates from producers using selected breeds. For this reason, breed selection is an important aspect of sustainability within coffee production.
According to The International Trade Centre, Arabica coffee accounted for roughly 61 per cent of the world's coffee production between 2004–2010. It would be higher if Arabica were not as susceptible to disease as it is. Coffee from the species C. arabica has many different varieties, each with unique characteristics.
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C. arabica Indonesia Both are Typica varieties which survived the leaf rust outbreak of the 1880s; most of the other Typica in Indonesia was destroyed.
C. arabica El Salvador A variety discovered in Finca Los Bellotos, El Salvador by Sofia and Fernando Alberto Pacas. It was first thought to be Geisha because of its aromatic profile. However, after studying its phenotype characteristics and DNA testing, it was determined to be a new, unclassified variety genetically similar to varieties found in the Agaro region of Ethiopia.
C. arabica Réunion, Rwanda, Latin America. Around 1708, the French planted coffee on the island of Bourbon (now called Réunion) in the middle of the Indian Ocean, all probably from the same parent stock—the plant the Dutch gave them. Unsurprisingly, it mutated slightly and was planted throughout Brazil in the late 1800s and eventually spread through Latin America, however, it was not possible to achieve the same level of flavor as when in Réunion, due to the volcanic earth and the soil properties. Bourbon produces 20–30% more fruit than Typica strains.
C. arabica Latin America This is a hybrid of Mundo Novo and Caturra bred in Brazil in the late 1940s.
Interspecific hybrid Latin America, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, China (Yunnan) This is cross between Timor coffee and Caturra coffee. It was created in Portugal in 1959. In India, this cultivar goes by the name Cauvery.
C. arabica Latin and Central America Developed from two cultivars that originated by natural mutation of Bourbon Red, originally a tall coffee shrub, found in the Serra do Caparaó. It produces a higher yield than Bourbon, due to the plant being shorter and with less distance between the branches, matures more quickly, and is more disease resistant than older, traditional arabica varieties. Its mutation is not unique; it led to the formation of the Pacas variety in El Salvador (from Bourbon) and the Villa Sarchi in Costa Rica (from Bourbon). Genetically it is very similar to Bourbon although it produces a poorer cup quality, mainly due to the variety yielding more.
C. charrieriana Cameroon This is a newly found species from Cameroon. It has gained some press recently due to its caffeine-free nature. Not yet grown commercially.
C. arabica Ethiopia From the Yirgachefe district in the Gedeo Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region of Ethiopia. All three Ethiopian varieties are trademarked names with the rights owned by Ethiopia.
C. arabica Africa French Mission is actually Bourbon that was planted in East Africa by French Missionaries around 1897.
C. arabica Ethiopia, Tanzania, Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador, Colombia, Peru Geisha or Gesha variety, grown in the highlands of Boquete in Chiriquí Province, Panama, highly sought after at auction, achieving high prices. Originally from the village of Gesha, Ethiopia. It was planted in the 1950s as a rust-resistant crop and rediscovered in the early 2000s. The most expensive varietal at coffee auctions, fetching US$350.25 in 2013. Breaking its own record as the most expensive coffee in the world at US$803.00 /lb of Natural (processed) Geisha in the "Best of Panama" auctions in 2018.
C. arabica Guadeloupe It was used to help improve the quality of other types of coffees and some experts consider it to be one of the best types of coffee in the world.
C. arabica Africa A Kenyan selection of French Mission Bourbon selected at Legelet Estate in Muhoroni, Kenya. Selected based on cupping trials.
C. arabica Latin America Maragogipe ('y') is considered to be a natural mutation from Typica. It was first discovered near Maragogipe, in Brazil's state Bahia. Maragogype is well known for producing big beans.
C. arabica Latin America Maragaturra is a man-made hybrid plant between Caturra and Maragogype.|It was first bred in order to capture the flavor profile of Maragogype with the higher yield and efficiency of the Caturra Varietal.
C. arabica Latin America, Vietnam Red Bourbon and Orange Bourbon are types of Bourbon that have been selected from spontaneous mutation.
There is considerable confusion as to which term to use when speaking about coffee subspecies. For the sake of clarity, within this article the terms will be used in accordance with loose guidelines put forth by the Specialty Coffee Association of America
C. arabica Latin America Pache Colis is a hybrid between Pache Comum and Caturra. This variety produces distinctly larger fruit and roughly textured foliage.
C. arabica Latin America Is a mutation of Typica first found in Santa Rosa, Guatemala.
C. arabica Kenya Ruiru 11 was released in 1985 by the Kenyan Coffee Research Station. While the variety is generally disease resistant, it produces a lower cup quality than K7, SL28 and 34.
Interspecific hybrid Costa Rica, India A hybrid between the Costa Rican Villa Sarchi and the Timor variety. Because of its Timor parent, Sarchimor is quite resistant to leaf rust disease and stem borer. As well as Costa Rica, it is grown in India.
C. arabica India A hybrid between the Ethiopian Tafarikela and the Timor variety.
C. arabica Kenya A selection, by Scott Labs in Kenya from the Tanganyika Drought Resistant variety from northern Tanzania in 1931.
C. arabica Kenya Selected by Scott Labs from the French Mission variety grown in Kenya. Selected for its superior cup quality (although inferior to SL28), but not resistant to CBD, CLR or BBC.
C. arabica Indonesia Actually the S795 varietal, grown at high altitudes on the island of Sulawesi (formerly Celebes), Indonesia. Kalossi is the small town in central Sulawesi which serves as the collection point for the coffee and Toraja is the mountainous area in which the coffee is grown. Sulawesi exhibits a rich, full body, well-balanced acidity and is multi-dimensional in character. Sulawesi itself is not a cultivar of coffee.
C. arabica Indonesia Mandheling is named after the Mandailing people located in North Sumatra, Indonesia. The name is the result of a misunderstanding by the first foreign purchaser of the variety, and no coffee is actually produced in the "Mandailing region". Lintong on the other hand, is named after the Lintong district, also located in North Sumatra. This is not a specific cultivar, but rather a region with a specific processing style.
Interspecific hybrid Indonesia Timor is not actually a variety of coffea arabica, but a hybrid of two species of coffee; coffea arabica and coffea canephora (also called Robusta). It was found on the island of Timor around the 1940s and it was cultivated because of its resistance to leaf rust (which most arabica coffee is susceptible to). It is called Hybrido de Timor in the Americas and Tim Tim or Bor Bor in Indonesia. Another hybrid between the two species is called Arabusta but generally only found in Africa.
C. arabica World wide Typica originated from Yemeni stock, taken first to Malabar, India, and later to Indonesia by the Dutch, and the Philippines by the Spanish. It later made its way to the West Indies to the French colony at Martinique. Typica has genetically evolved to produce new characteristics, often considered new varietals: Criollo (South America), Arabigo (Americas), Kona (Hawaii), Pluma Hidalgo (Mexico), Garundang (Sumatra), Blue Mountain (Jamaica, Papua New Guinea), San Bernardo & San Ramon (Brazil), Kents & Chickumalgu (India)
Inter specific hybrid Although it mostly produces Robusta coffee, there is a quality Arabica bean grown there known as Bugishu around the Sipi Falls area.
C. arabica Variety of coffee (arabica) Bred in 2014 in the south of India in g.Madras, 1996 Chennai Tamil Nadu. Grown at an altitude of 1500 m above sea level, which in itself is a good indicator. Differ by more quantitative tannin to 14 -15% and trigonelline 1.5 - 1.7%.
C. arabica Nicaragua First F1 hybrid coffee tree able to be propagated by seed. Is resistant to rust and has a very good cup quality potential at high altitudes.