Gold Coast Magazine

Exploring Coffee Varieties: Discovering Your Perfect Brew

The essence of coffee—the bean—holds tremendous influence over the brew’s flavour, aroma, and overall profile. Understanding the distinct varieties of coffee beans can unlock a new depth of appreciation for this beloved beverage and help individuals pinpoint their preferred taste profile. 

Akin to the aficionado swirling a glass of wine, discerning the subtle notes of different coffee varieties requires an understanding of the characteristics of different beans and how their origins and processing impact the final product.  

There is a profound complexity nestled within each cup, and with this guide, it’s possible to navigate through the broad spectrum of coffee varieties. From the richly nuanced, premium coffees of the world to the staple commercial brews, each coffee variety offers a unique journey for the palate. 

  • Arabica (Coffea Arabica)

As the most highly regarded species of coffee, Arabica beans make up approximately 60% of the world’s coffee production. This species is celebrated for its wide range of flavors and aromas that vary considerably depending on the growing conditions. Arabica coffee beans scoring 80 or more on a 100-point scale are considered specialty coffee due to their superior taste and quality. 

While Arabica beans are quite sensitive to their environment and require specific growing conditions, their resulting delicate, complex flavor profiles make them a favorite among coffee connoisseurs. With notes ranging from sweet and fruity to more floral and wine-like, Arabica beans embody the intricate diversity within the coffee world. 

  • Robusta (Coffea Canephora)

Robusta coffee beans may not boast the prestige of their Arabica counterparts, but they hold an essential place within the coffee industry. These beans are known for their hardy nature and resistance to pests and diseases, making them easier and cheaper to cultivate. 

The flavor profile of Robusta beans is typically strong, bold, and nutty, with a higher caffeine content than Arabica beans. The high caffeine content lends a distinct bitterness to Robusta coffee, which can be a plus for those who favor a strong, rich brew. It is also often used in espresso blends to provide a better ‘crema’ and an extra caffeine kick. 

  • Liberica (Coffea Liberica)

Liberica coffee beans, native to West Africa, represent only a small fraction of global coffee production. Despite this, their unique flavor profile and aroma sets them apart from the more common Arabica and Robusta varieties. 

These beans are larger and asymmetrical, with a distinctive aroma described as floral and fruity. The flavor profile is also unique, often characterized as smoky or woody, with a full body and a lingering finish. Liberica beans offer a refreshing divergence from the more typical coffee tastes and may appeal to those seeking something different from their brew. 

  • Excelsa (Coffea Liberica Var. Dewevrei)

Although Excelsa beans were once classified as a separate species, they are now categorized as a variety of Liberica beans. However, their unique flavor and aroma characteristics merit individual recognition in this guide. 

Excelsa beans offer a contrasting combination of light and dark roast profiles, with a tart, fruity acidity, and a deep, rich finish. This unusual mix of flavors contributes to the increasing popularity of Excelsa among coffee enthusiasts searching for a complex and multi-layered taste experience. 

  • Maragogype (Coffea Arabica Var. Maragogype)

Often referred to as ‘elephant beans’ due to their large size, Maragogype beans are a mutation of the Arabica species. Originating from the Brazilian town of Maragogipe, these beans are grown in several countries, including Nicaragua, Honduras, and Mexico. 

Maragogype beans are prized for their smooth, mild flavor and low acidity. They tend to offer delicate, nuanced profiles with subtle notes of nuts, fruit, or chocolate. However, their lower yield and the greater care needed for cultivation often lead to higher prices for Maragogype coffee. 

  • Geisha (Coffea Arabica Var. Geisha)

Originally cultivated in Ethiopia and later brought to Central America, Geisha (or Gesha) beans are another variant of the Arabica species. They are distinguished by their long and slender shape and unique, highly sought-after flavor profile. 

Geisha beans have a floral, tea-like aroma and a light, bright acidity. Notes of tropical fruit, jasmine, and bergamot can often be identified in Geisha coffee. Despite its relatively high cost due to the difficulties in cultivation and relatively low yield, Geisha continues to captivate the coffee world with its exceptional quality and distinctive profile. 

  • Pacamara (Coffea Arabica Var. Pacamara)

Pacamara is a hybrid variety, a cross between the Maragogype and Pacas (a natural mutation of Arabica) varieties. This unique combination yields large beans with a distinctive and intriguing flavor profile. 

The taste of Pacamara coffee is often described as intensely sweet, with notes of fruit, chocolate, and sometimes a nutty undertone. Its rich, velvety body and bright acidity make it a popular choice for coffee lovers looking for complexity and balance in their brew. 


Understanding the different varieties of coffee beans enriches the coffee-drinking experience and allows individuals to identify the characteristics they most enjoy in their brew.  

From the delicate and complex flavors of Arabica and its variants to the bold robustness of Robusta and the unique profiles of Liberica and Excelsa, each variety has its character and charm. The journey through coffee varieties can lead to surprising discoveries and a newfound appreciation for the artistry and complexity embedded within each cup of coffee.

Exploring Coffee Varieties: Discovering Your Perfect Brew

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