The Different Types of Coffee Bean varieties | IncaFé Organic Coffee


The Different Types of Coffee Bean varieties

Posted by Joseph Verbeek on
The Different Types of Coffee Bean varieties

The Different Types of Coffee Varieties 

We present an overview of the primary plant species within the Coffea genus, situated within the large family of Rubiaceae plant. There are over 120  species of Coffea. Below 4 of the better known species and subspecies. There are many coffee cultivars derived from these original species and subspecies. Cultivars are all plant varieties developed through horticultural or agricultural methods, thus representing cultivated forms.

Coffea Species 

Arabica —The most popular type that produces the coffee beans found in most households – it represents around 65% of world coffee production. It’s indigenous to Ethiopia but also known as the “coffee shrub of Arabia”, “mountain coffee” or “Arabica coffee because Arab scholars used them in extending their working hours. Coffea Arabica is thought to be the initial coffee species under cultivation 

Robusta —  Originates from the Coffea Canephora plant, commonly known as Coffea Robusta. This robust species has its roots in central and western sub-Saharan regions. Robusta coffee is low-maintenance, boasts a higher crop yield compared to Coffea Arabica, contains nearly double the caffeine and more antioxidants, and exhibits resilience against diseases. When roasted, Robusta beans yield a bold, full-bodied coffee with a distinct earthy flavour, but with a hint of bitterness than Arabica due to its pyrazine content.  

Mauritania, Liberica -These coffee beans hail from tropical Africa, spanning the region between Uganda and Guinea. Its caffeine and antioxidant levels resemble those of Robusta, being twice as potent as Coffea Arabica. These trees can reach heights of up to 20 meters and yield larger fruits compared to their Arabica counterparts. While still cultivated commercially, Coffea Liberica is found in certain areas of Central and East Java as well as the Philippines. In the late 19th century, Robusta and Liberica were introduced to Indonesia as a replacement for Arabica trees decimated by coffee rust disease. 

Charrieriana —  Coffea Charrieriana, also known as Charrier Coffee, stands as the only naturally caffeine-free coffee. Originating from Cameroon, this coffee plant was discovered over 20 years ago and is gradually entering commercial markets. Notably, Charrier coffee belongs to a distinct species within the coffee plant family, a revelation made by Professor André Charrier in 2008. The species bears his name in recognition of his three decades of dedicated research and collection of various coffee varieties 


Gesha —  An Original variety of Arabica found originally in the wild. Known alternatively as Geisha. It owes its name to the village of Gesha in Ethiopia. Originally planted in the 1950s as a rust-resistant crop, it found its home primarily in Panama, with additional cultivation in Chanchamayo, Peru, and potentially other regions of Central and South America.  It was rediscovered in the early 2000s as a specialty coffee and in Peru we only realised it was there when in 2012 leaf rust wiped out most of the Typica plantations. On the mostly barren plantations some of the original Geisha coffee plants from the 1950’s where clearly visible, lush and green, not attacked by leafrust and full of fruit. So in Peru we had first generation seed. There are 12 genotypes and most are not leaf rust resistant. We find that the original Geisha in Peru has indeed all these genotypes locked in their DNA which gives us a lot of plant material to work with. It will take a while before the best selection of Geisha plants is made and consistent crops are produced. Top quality Geisha coffee result from coffee produced at high elevation. 

Geisha coffee is highly sought after at auctions and in specialty (pour over) markets achieving high prices. It is winning many competitions and its popularity is growing rapidly putting serious pressure on supply, and integrity. 

Typica, Bourbon —  Among the Arabica subspecies, Typica traces its origins back to Yemen. Initially introduced to Malabar, India, it later found its way to Indonesia through Dutch efforts. Subsequently, the French brought Typica to the West Indies, specifically the French colony of Martinique. Around 1708, French settlers planted coffee on the island of Bourbon (now known as Réunion) in the Indian Ocean, using the same plant provided by the Dutch. Interestingly, Bourbon coffee underwent slight mutations from the original Typica and eventually spread throughout Brazil during the late 1800s. Its distinctive trait lies in producing 20–30% more fruit than typical Typica varieties. 

At IncaFé, we specialise in different organic specialty coffee, which we import directly from growers, mostly in Peru. We have single origin varieties and blended cultivars. Check out our range of organic coffee to learn more.  

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