Why is arabica considered the best coffee beans?
Coffee is not the fruit of a single species of tree; in fact, there are several types of coffee with notable differences between them. More than 100 different species of coffee trees have been catalogued, but only two types account for practically all of the world’s production: Arabica and Robusta. We focus on getting to know a little more about the Arabica, a grain of superior quality.
Characteristics of Arabica coffee
Arabica is considered the best coffee bean, because although it has less body than Robusta, it is more balanced, aromatic and has a very pleasant acidity. It also has less caffeine than other varieties.
Arabica has between 0.8% and 1.4% caffeine, far from the 4% that a Robusta coffee can have. It is without doubt a subtle, delicate and elegant coffee with a great balance between taste and body.
The Arabica bean can be easily distinguished by the naked eye, as it has a more elongated and flattened shape than the Robusta bean and is crossed by a line in the shape of a light S, its most visible characteristic.
Where it is grown
Arabica is the most cultivated coffee in the world, with 60% of the world’s production, while almost 40% corresponds to robusta. Furthermore, we find Arabica coffee in almost all coffee producing countries with very different results depending on the variety, climate and geography.
Arabica coffee trees grow between 500 and 2400 meters above sea level in humid areas with a warm climate, and the altitude at which they are cultivated influences their quality. The 100% Arabica coffee that is grown above 1,000 (and even 2,000 meters) is considered the highest quality.
How many varieties of Arabica are there
Caffea arabica, or Arabic coffee, was the first type of coffee to be discovered in Ethiopia, where it is believed to originate. The Swedish scientist Charles Linnaeus was the first to catalogue it in his taxonomy of living beings in 1753.
Within the Arabica species we find a great number of varieties. Among the most popular varieties are typica and bourbon.
Typica: It is grown mainly in Central America, Jamaica and Asia and is a variety of high quality, with a clean and sweet acidity.
Bourbon: It is a natural mutation of typica. It can be found throughout Latin America and in African countries such as Burundi and Rwanda
Caturra: It is a very common variety of bourbon that is grown especially in Brazil.
Gesha or geisha: It has nothing to do with Japan. This variety is originally from the Ethiopian city of Gesha but it has become popular in Panama.
Jamaica blue mountain: The coffee considered by many to be the best in the world, is also a variety of arabica grown at high altitude in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica.
In addition, there are a large number of hybrids between the varieties of arabica and between arabica and robusta coffee.
Source with information from Bonka