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Updated by Joanna James on May 02, 2024
Headline for Types of Coffee Beans and How to Choose What to Buy- Getting creative with your caffeine fix
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Types of Coffee Beans and How to Choose What to Buy- Getting creative with your caffeine fix

We live in a world that runs on coffee, and whether you look at it as a bulletproof energiser or an excuse to go off on a picturesque café expedition, there are some facts you must arm yourself with for the best coffee experience. Here's what all coffee fanatics need to know.


Robusta: A mass-market favourite

Found in most instant coffee blends, it is more accessible and affordable than its more luxuriant counterpart simply because Robusta beans are more robust and can better withstand lower altitudes, pests, and diseases. Grown chiefly in Vietnam, Indonesia, and sub-Saharan Africa, this large brown bean consists of 2.5% more caffeine than the others and is most popular in these cultures where strong coffee is a beloved tradition. It's favoured by global coffee exporters in its blends due to its longer shelf life and thick golden-brown crèma at the top of each brew. However, it doesn't have the complexity of flavours and sensory vibrancy of Arabica, and some may find it too acidic for their taste. Robusta is great if you like fancy add-ons such as cream, condensed milk, or spices to your brew, as the coffee taste still comes through with a punch.


Arabica: Where it all started

The delicate Coffea Arabica plant was first discovered on the high plateaus of Ethiopia and has been charming humanity ever since with its gentle earthy, spicy, and sweet flavour range. Accounting for 75% of the world's coffee production, it is as precious as it is delicious, cultivated only in high altitudes, and highly prone to disease. Due to their more labour-intensive growing conditions, Arabica beans do present a higher price point; however, their lushly soft and piquant taste makes it well worth it to the majority of coffee fanatics. If you're on the hunt for high-quality coffee in Sri Lanka, venture no further than Fits Retail. If you like your coffee plain and pure, Arabica is the way to go, as adding cream or milk is said to take away from the flavour intensity.


Liberica: Love or love to hate

If you've already fallen for the soft notes of Arabica that bring to mind the beauty of wild forests and highland farms but are looking to expand your coffee-tasting repertoire, the controversial Liberica variant is worth a try. A rare coffee bean, first harvested in the Philippines during the 19th Century 'coffee rust' that blighted the world's supply of Arabica, many enjoy this variant due to its distinctively floral scent and smoky flavour notes. However, others have likened it to 'burnt rubber', so it's certainly an acquired taste!


Excelsa: A flavour enigma

An offshoot of the Liberica variant, this irregular-shaped bean is known for its extremely diverse flavour profile that is used to add richness to many luxury blends. Grown primarily in Southeast Asia, its taste is described as a median between dark and light roast, both tart and smoky.


Know your Roasts

Whether you favour the velvety woodsy flavour of Asian coffee, the honeyed decadence of Colombian brews, or the berry sweet African varieties, it's essential to know a bit about how the green coffee beans are made to yield the tantalising flavour notes, aroma, and colour of your beloved brew! For instance, light roasts are best for 'coffee purists' who love that authentic flavour, medium roasts are barista-approved for expresso drinks, and dark-roasted coffee boasts of dusky caramelised notes.

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