When asked, most people would say coffee originates from South America. However, coffee was first reported to have been growing on the mountains of Ethiopia and Yemen in the 12th Century. It wasn't until the 18th Century, before it was cultivated and shipped to south America.
After coffee was discovered, word spread, and by the 15th century the beans were being cultivated on the Arabian Peninsula. To this day coffee beans are produced in Arabia and account for approximately 65-70% of all coffee beans on the global market. These are more commonly known as ‘Arabica Coffee’.
Arabica beans are so popular due to their superior taste. Much like grapes used to make wine, the growing regions and conditions of coffee beans play a huge part in the final taste of the coffee.
Arabica beans have a lower caffeine content than other popular coffee beans, and this helps give the bean a less bitter taste. Arabica beans also have a much higher lipid and sugar content than other beans. This is due to the slower growing phase of the Arabica plant. The slower growth allows for more complex development of sugars within the bean. Again, this reduces the bitterness and improves the overall flavour of the coffee.
Even though Arabica beans are indigenous to Arabia, they are now grown all over the world. Each region carries its own individual characteristics and flavours from Chocolatey, nutty flavours in Brazil, to the smoother, fruitier flavours of Africa. Because of the varying flavour profile of the beans, it is quite common to find different blends of 100% Arabica beans on sale.
When buying beans to brew at home Arabica are always the best to look out for and will provide the tastiest most enjoyable brew. However 100% Arabica will set you back a little bit more as you are paying for the quality. Try buying 2 different packs of Arabica beans from different growing regions and see if you can taste the different flavour profiles within your cup!