Arabica coffee beans are known for their smooth, sweeter taste and chocolate- or fruity notes. They also adapt well to various brewing methods.
Like all coffee, Arabica contains a wide range of healthy minerals and oils. These include magnesium, potassium and a small amount of healthy vitamins. It is also a natural diuretic, meaning it helps to control the body’s fluid balance and blood pressure.
The coffee plant (Coffea arabica) is cultivated in high-altitude forests worldwide, with much of the world’s production coming from Brazil. The species was first cultivated for drinking in the 12th century, according to various legends.
Arabica plants grow in shade and thrive at higher elevations, with climate zones around the globe offering optimal conditions for cultivation. They produce red, yellow, or purple fruits that contain two green seeds, which are then roasted and consumed as coffee.
As the popularity of coffee has grown, drinkers have become more aware of the unique flavors and nuances provided by the specific regions in which coffee is produced. This, in turn, has encouraged experimentation with brewing methods and techniques, further enhancing the flavor of the beverage. While genetics can be predictive of a particular coffee’s quality, other factors such as processing, harvesting, drying, storage, and roasting have a significant impact on taste. This is why the phrase “100% Arabica” does not guarantee quality.
Arabica coffee plants thrive in zones at high altitudes and require a rich, well-draining soil. They are very sensitive to temperature changes, and frost can destroy the plant. This is a key difference between them and Robusta, which can survive lower temperatures. As a result, Coffea arabica beans are highly valued in the gourmet coffee industry.
Depending on the region and growing conditions, these beans can be mild or full-bodied, with floral, fruity, or caramel notes and aromas. Moreover, the high quality and complexity of these characteristics set them apart from other varieties of coffee.
Many specialty coffee roasters and retailers emphasize ethical sourcing, ensuring fair wages for farmers and sustainable agriculture techniques. Some of them also offer organic certification. This makes it possible for coffee aficionados to enjoy a cup of premium Arabica with distinct flavors while supporting the sustainability of the world’s coffee producers. Various coffee certifications like Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance help make this happen.
The coffee plants that produce Arabica beans are classified into several varieties, based on their specific flavor profiles and other characteristics. These include yield, hardiness, and ideal growing conditions. Coffee farmers are constantly developing new, more productive Coffea arabica varieties with better taste and less risk of disease.
While it is common for coffee to be a blend of arabica and robusta beans, the majority of fine coffees are 100% arabica. Robusta beans are stronger and more bitter than arabica and contain more caffeine.
The two main varieties of Arabica are Bourbon and Typica. The origins of these cultivars are closely linked to the history of coffee, as their descendants were widely spread around the world. They are cultivated in many places with unique growing conditions, which contribute to their distinct flavour profile. Other notable Arabica varieties are Pacamara and Maragogype, which originate in El Salvador and Brazil respectively. They have become the staples of the specialty coffee industry, as they offer exceptional quality and unique flavor profiles.
Arabica coffee beans are cultivated in the world’s top producing countries, such as Brazil, Colombia and Ethiopia. Their nuanced and fragrant flavors have contributed to their increased popularity and recognition.
These plants are most often grown at high altitudes, with an ideal climate of cool and consistent rainfall. They are sensitive to variations in temperature and are susceptible to frost. They must also be protected from aphids and other plant-feeding insects.
During the flowering phase, the plant emits a sweet fragrance and develops fruit, also known as “cherries”. Each cherry holds two green seeds. The cherries are harvested by hand and must be carefully selected so that only the ripe fruits are gathered.
The unique growing conditions of the Geisha coffee plant are largely responsible for its highly complex flavor profile. The slender, elongated beans of this rare variety offer an array of floral, citrusy and tea-like notes, with hints of jasmine, bergamot and tropical fruit.