Making sense of the different types of coffee beans that are available can be confusing at times.

This post will show you the differences between the main types of coffee beans that are available.

Type of Coffee BeanHow it tastesMain exportersPopularity
Makes up about 60%
of coffee bean Production.
Makes up around 40%
of coffee bean
Less than 3% of
coffee bean

They are a type of
Liberica so less
than 3%


The flavor of each of the different type of coffee beans can actually vary drastically depending on where and how they were grown. People also like to use a blend of different types of beans in order to get a more balanced taste.

The different types of coffee beans

Below, I will show you the different types of coffee beans that you can buy, how they taste, what to consider when buying them and when the best time is to use them.


Arabica beans are the most popular type of beans that you can get. They are more expensive compared to Robusta beans which are the other very popular type of coffee bean but they are also less bitter and more smooth.

Arabica beans are mild with a slightly fruity taste that can also be chocolaty or nutty depending on where and how the beans were grown

Arabica is usually used for filter coffee. It has also been growing in popularity as the bean of choice for espresso as well which is normally made with either Robusta or a blend of Robusta and Arabica beans.

Un-roasted Arabica Beans

The altitude that Arabica beans are grown at will have an impact on the way that they taste.

If the beans are grown at high altitude, above 5000 ft, it will give the Arabica beans a more fruity and slightly spicy flavor.

If they are grown at around 4000 ft they will tend to have a more nutty and chocolatey flavor.

If they are grown at around 3000 ft they will be less acidic with a sweet taste.

If they are grown below 2500 ft it will give them a bland and earthy taste.

Arabica beans grown at high elevation are highly sought after because they tend to have more flavor due to the slower growth that occurs.

Most Arabica beans are grown in Brazil (27% of world production) with Colombia (8%), Honduras(4%) and Ethiopia(4%) also exporting large quantities of Arabica.

Questions people ask about Arabica

Are Arabica beans the best? It depends on your taste. Arabica beans are popular because they are less bitter compared to Robusta beans and they have a smoother taste.

What coffee is made with Arabica beans? Arabica beans are usually used for regular brewed coffee and are often combined with Robusta beans as a blend to be used to make espresso. They are also sometimes used by themselves to make espresso but it can sometimes cause it to taste sour.

Why are Arabica beans more expensive? Arabica beans are best when they are produced at high altitude, they are disease prone and they don’t give a high yield for the amount of land that they use. All of these factors cause Arabica beans to have a higher price than Robusta.


Robusta beans are the second most popular type of coffee bean. They are less expensive compared to Arabica beans. However, Robusta beans are more bitter. Some people like the bitter taste but for others, it is too much.

Robusta beans are more commonly used to make espresso since it is meant to have a stronger taste that is also slightly bitter. Additionally, they will normally have a dark roast when being used to make espresso which makes the taste even more bitter.

Arabica beans are more commonly used to make regular brewed coffee. However, a blend of Robusta and Arabica beans are not uncommon since it gives a more balanced taste.

Roasted Arabica beans (left) and roasted Robusta beans (right)

Robusta beans are cheaper compared to Arabica beans. This is because Robusta beans can be grown at lower altitudes, they give a high yield for the amount of land that they use and they are more resilient against disease compared to Arabica beans.

Robusta beans are mostly grown in Vietnam, Brazil and Indonesia.

Questions people ask about Robusta

Are Robusta beans worse than Arabica beans? Arabica beans are more popular than Robusta beans. If you like a bitter taste then you might like Robusta beans but if you don’t then you would probably prefer Arabica beans.

Are Robusta beans higher in caffeine than Arabica beans? Yes, Robusta beans typically have 83% more caffeine than Arabica beans.


Liberica beans are large coffee beans that have a light appearance. They are much less popular compared to Arabica and Robusta beans. This is mainly because they cost a lot more and they have a very intense taste that can have a tangy aftertaste.

They also have a slightly chocolatey and nutty taste so if you like Robusta beans then you might also like Liberica beans.

The trees that grow Liberica beans can grow up to 65 feet. Liberica beans are grown at both low and high altitudes. They are grown at low altitude in Malaysia and they are grown at high altitude in the Malarayat mountain ranges.


Excelsa beans are actually a type of Liberica beans. However, they have a different taste to Liberica beans so many people consider Excelsa beans as a different type of bean in their own right.

Excelsa beans have a more fruity taste when compared to Liberica beans. However, they are still quite intense with a tangy aftertaste.

Due to the intense taste Excelsa beans are normally blended with other types of beans such as Robusta and Arabica beans in order to give a more balanced taste.

Excelsa beans are grown in the same locations as Liberica beans are grown. So, they are mainly grown in Southeast Asia.

Don’t forget to also consider the type of roast of the beans

When deciding on what type of beans to buy it is important to remember that it is not just the type of bean that impacts the taste. The way that they are roasted and the way that they are ground will also have an impact on the way that they taste.

If the beans have a light roast then it will normally give the coffee or espresso a smoother taste. However, it can sometimes result in it tasting sour especially with espresso. This is why espresso tends to be made with dark roast beans.

If the beans have a dark roast then it will normally give the espresso a sharper taste that can sometimes cause it to taste bitter.

Normally, regular coffee will be made using Arabica beans with a dark roast and Espresso will be made using either Robusta beans with a dark roast or a blend of Arabica and Robusta with a dark roast.


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