Arabica Coffee Beans
Arabica coffee beans taste sweet & tangy and are grown in subtropical climates with rich soil and adequate shade & sun. Over 70 % of the world's coffee is Arabica. If you go to a coffee house to get beans ensure you ask questions. The usual questions to ask are:
- What country did the coffee beans come from?
- When did the distributor get them (for freshness)?
- If pre-roasted (as opposed to green coffee beans) what type of coffee roast?
- Are the coffee beans purely Arabica or robusta, or are they varietal?
Trust me, the answers to these questions are important. If you buy old beans, the taste can make you scrunch up your face and the aroma can be almost non-existent. Trying different coffee beans from different countries can help you become a cupper extraordinaire.
One Arabica tree produces about one pound of coffee a year. It takes 500-600 pounds of coffee beans to create about a 100-pound bag of green coffee. Arabica coffee was first cultivated commercially in Yemen, but it grows wild in Ethiopia. It grows best in the mountainous regions of the tropics with altitudes over 2000 ft. sea level, usually 4000 - 6000 ft. above sea level.
Pea-berry beans are the most sought-after because they come from a coffee cherry producing only one coffee bean (all other types of coffee cherry produce two beans). Pea-berrys are round in shape, as opposed to the usual oval.
The other type of coffee bean is robusta. Robusta has more caffeine (30-40%) and are harsher in flavor. Supermarket coffees are primarily robusta coffee beans, but sometimes are made with a blend of old Arabica coffee beans mixed in.