The fourth major type of coffee bean is called Excelsa. Though it was once considered a separate coffee species, scientists recently reclassified it as a Liberica variant. Excelsa beans grow almost entirely in Southeast Asia, and they’re shaped somewhat like Liberica beans — elongated ovals. These beans grow on large 20 to 30-foot coffee plants at medium altitudes.
In terms of flavor, Excelsa beans are pretty unique. They combine light roast traits like tart notes and fruity flavors with flavors that are more reminiscent of dark roasts. They’re also lighter on aroma and caffeine — while maintaining an unusual depth of flavor. You can sometimes find these unusual beans in blends because they add complexity.
Excelsa beans aren’t as common as Arabica and Robusta beans and can be harder to find outside of Asia. Luckily, specialty roasters like Len’s Coffee offer Excelsa beans.
Now that you’re familiar with the major types of coffee beans, it’s time to start shopping!
If you want the best possible flavor and don’t mind paying a little extra, look for coffee
that’s 100% Arabica. Prefer extra caffeine, want to save money, and don’t mind a little
bitterness? Go for a bag of Robusta or a blend of Arabica and Robusta.
If you’d rather have something unusual, look for Liberica or Excelsa beans — but be prepared for a more extensive search! These rare coffee beans can be delicious but hard to find.
As always, we recommend buying whole bean coffee and grinding it just before brewing. The extra effort is well worth it, as you’ll get significantly better flavor and freshness, no matter which type of coffee bean you choose.