A guide to coffee bean types

The world of coffee can appear vast and complex, the key is to master the fundamentals. In this guide, we’ll look at the different species of coffee beans – including Arabica, Robusta, and some lesser-known varieties like Liberia and Excelsa.

Coffee bean varieties

What are Arabica beans?

The vast majority of commercial beans come from Arabica. The taste varies depending on where it is grown but in general, Arabica has a rich flavour with notes of spices and chocolate.

Arabica originates from the highlands of Ethiopia, and is one of the world’s most popular coffee types. The coffee trees here grow in a climate of cool mists and warm sunshine, at around 1000 meters above sea level. The perfect environment for Arabica beans to flourish.

Typically, Arabica beans are more superior than Robusta, with a smoother and less acidic taste.

Best way to brew arabica beans?

When it comes to Arabica beans, the best way to brew these beans is by using a V60– as you’re able to tightly control the temperature of the water. The V60 allows you to grind your coffee beans right before brewing them. A fresher grind means a more flavoursome cup, bursting with that distinctive rich aroma Arabica is famous for.

What are Robusta beans?

High in caffeine and low in acidity, Robusta beans – as you might infer from the name – contain almost twice as much caffeine as Arabica beans. Robusta beans have been especially cultivated for use in espresso blends, because of the incredible crema they create (crema is the technical term for the foam you get on top of a perfectly poured espresso).

Robusta coffee beans are the second most popular coffee beans in the world, after Arabica beans, thanks to their intense caffeine hit and also because they’re typically easier to grow than other varieties of coffee bean.

Best way to brew?

You can use Robusta beans to make virtually any coffee you like.

It's best, though, to brew them the same way as Arabica: by v60 dripper or Cafetiere. You can also try making cold brewed coffee with it. On its own, or diluted with water and ice, this method will bring out most of the flavours.

Want to master brewing other coffees? Check out our brew guide.

coffee varieties

Liberia Coffee

Less well known, Liberia coffee is produced in small quantities and can be difficult to find outside its country of origin. If you do come across this rare African coffee type, there’s a fair chance they’ll be of superior quality.

These beans are best prepared with a medium-light roast, to best bring out their sweetness and flavour. Liberia coffee drinks are typically super smooth – ideal for those who don’t enjoy strong bitter flavours.

Excelsa coffee

Primarily grown in the Philippines, there's a good chance that if you're drinking coffee from this region then it's probably an Excelsa coffee bean. These beans are generally used for blending with other types of coffees to give them more depth, but they can also be enjoyed on their own.

Excelsa beans have a distinctly fruity taste, which has been said to have a tart flavour. These beans can be prepared with either a light or dark roast.

How to store your coffee beans

Ueshima coffee packs are mostly gas flushed and resealable to lock in freshness. 

If using another brand, the best place for storing coffee beans is in an airtight container - such as a coffee canister or jar. This will help preserve the beans' flavour.