Arabica beans are by far the most popular type of coffee beans, making up about 60% of the world’s coffee. These tasty beans originated many centuries ago in the highlands of Ethiopia, and may even be the first coffee beans ever consumed! The name Arabica likely comes from the beans’ popularity in 7th-century Arabia (present-day Yemen).
The downside of Arabica beans is that they’re harder to grow. Because of this, Arabica beans are pricier. All coffee beans grow in the so-called Bean Belt, an area between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, in 50 countries around the world. But Arabica beans need extra shade, water, and high altitude to grow properly. These plants are more susceptible to plant diseases and must be grown at an altitude of at least 2,000 feet. They’re also smaller plants, measuring between 8 and 15 feet when fully grown.
Most gourmet coffee brands advertise that they use 100% Arabica beans. Why? Arabica coffee beans are considered the most high-quality variety. They’re known for their smooth, complex flavor and distinct lack of bitterness.
Depending on where they’re grown, Arabica beans can offer many different tasting notes, from earthy Indonesian to floral Ethiopian. If you want to amaze your tastebuds, pick up a bag of single-origin Arabica beans!
Arabica beans are widely available, especially from gourmet coffee companies. If you want to try Arabica coffee, check the label to ensure that it hasn’t been blended with Robusta beans, the second variety.