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A short guide on the 4 main coffee bean types

A short guide on the 4 main coffee bean types

You might have detected that not all coffee bags are labeled as 100% Arabica. In fact, some premium coffee bags proudly state that they are a blend of different types of beans.

What are the 4 main coffee bean types that dominate the coffee world?

This means that not all coffee beans are created and grown in an equal way. Depending on the beans used, you’ll have different tastes and characteristics.

As we mentioned before in this guide, there are about four main types of coffee beans:

Read our short guide on these 4 coffee beans. If you want more detailed info on this topic, you can click through to a more detailed post about that coffee bean type.

The coffee bean types chart

We’ve made a small infograph/comparison table so you can quickly see the differences between these 4 main coffee bean types.

The 2 biggest coffee bean types: Arabica and Robusta


Arabica is considered superior to Robusta because of its delicate flavor and low acidity levels. The international standard for decaffeination requires that 97% of the caffeine be removed from decaffeinated coffee while the European Union’s standards require no less than 99.9% to be removed.

Research is being conducted to produce coffee plants that are deficient in the caffeine synthase gene and do not produce caffeine.

This would eliminate the need for the decaffeination process and would reduce costs but it would keep the original flavor of the bean completely intact.

The Arabica bean is less resistant and adaptive to diseases and changing weather conditions.

Click here for a more in-depth view of the Arabica bean.


Robusta beans, on the other hand, have double the amount of caffeine in them, meaning that they are an excellent choice for a real boost and offer a more harsh flavor.

They represent over 40% of global coffee production and are cheaper to produce than Arabica beans.

When it comes to taste, Robusta has a rubbery, bitter, grain-like flavor which leaves a dry aftertaste.

This is due to a high concentration of caffeine and less sugar, as well as a lot less focus on processing the Robusta beans.

Click here for a more in-depth view of the Robusta bean.

The 2 smaller coffee bean types: Liberica vs Excelsa


Liberica coffee is grown in Liberia (initially) and Southeast Asia.

The plant itself can grow up to 6 meters tall with large leaves but not many beans are produced per plant.

These beans are generally medium to low quality with a harsh, acidic taste.

Click here for a more in-depth view of the Liberica bean.


Excelsa is the rarest variety of coffee found in Asia.

It’s also known as the “gourmet” or “exotic” coffee bean due to its superior flavor compared to the other three types.

The beans are small and round with a deep red color. They have low yields and are very expensive to produce, making them a rare find on the market.

Click here for a more in-depth view of the Excelsa bean.

Be informed and ask questions!

When you’re buying coffee, take the time to ask about the types of beans used.

You might be surprised at the different flavors that can be found in each type.

By being informed, you can make the best choices to match the beans to your preference.

Enjoy your coffee!