Understanding Coffee: 4 Major Varieties

As a coffee connoisseur, you may be on the hunt for the perfect variety of bean to try.  While there are different coffee bean varieties available to explore, each type offers a unique flavor profile.

Today, the four major types of coffee beans commonly referred to in the coffee industry include:

Arabica (Coffea Arabica)
Arabica beans are the most popular coffee beans, making up about 60-70% of the world's coffee production. They are known for their smooth, complex flavor and lower caffeine content. With a delicate flavor profile Arabia coffee is considered a superior coffee variety with a sweeter and smoother taste, which is also known for their fruity and floral notes. Arabica beans are typically grown in higher altitudes with steady rainfall and ample shade.

Robusta (Coffea canephora)
Robusta beans come in second in terms of production volume but have a stronger, harsher taste than Arabica. They are also higher in caffeine, which gives this variety of coffee a bold and earthy, more bitter taste. Robusta beans are hardier, more disease resistant than the Arabica coffee, and can grow well in lower altitude regions. They are often used in espresso blends and instant coffee products.

Liberica (Coffea liberica)
Liberica coffee beans are much less common. They have a unique flavor profile with a somewhat fruity and floral taste and are known for having a full body that is somewhat woody and smoky. Liberica trees thrive in specific climates found in parts of Central and West Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Philippines.

Excelsa (Coffea excelsa or Coffea liberica var. dewevrei)
Often considered to be a variant of Liberica, Excelsa coffee grows primarily in Southeast Asia and accounts for a small fraction of global coffee production. Excelsa beans are known for their tart, fruity characteristics, and they bring a distinctive and different taste profile, often with a light roast level to highlight the bean's natural flavors.

These four types of beans each bring their own unique flavors and characteristics to the table. However, Arabica and Robusta are the most commonly used beans in the coffee industry, with Arabica being associated with higher quality and Robusta commonly used in mixes for espresso or lower-cost commercial products.


The unique history of Roastmasterz remains our driving force, creating a line of artisan roasted coffees while maintaining our family’s history & values. Now part of Java Original® Coffee, RoastMasterz is available around the globe, offering artisan roasted specialty coffee to retailers and individuals alike.

Photo courtesy: by Eduardo Gorghetto on Unsplash. Used with permission.