Arabica coffee, scientifically known as Coffea arabica, is a species of coffee plant that is highly regarded for its superior quality and flavour. It is the most widely consumed and commercially cultivated coffee species, representing about 60-70% of the global coffee market.
Arabica coffee plants are typically grown at higher altitudes, ranging from 600 to 2,200 meters above sea level, in regions with a mild climate and well-defined seasons. They are generally more delicate and sensitive to environmental conditions compared to the hardier Robusta coffee plants.
The coffee cherries produced by Arabica plants are oval-shaped and contain two coffee beans within each cherry, although occasionally a single bean is found. Arabica beans have a lower caffeine content compared to Robusta beans, typically about half the amount.
What sets Arabica coffee apart is its exceptional flavour profile. It is known for its nuanced and complex taste, with a wide range of flavours including fruity, floral, and sometimes even wine-like or chocolaty notes. Arabica coffee is often described as having a smooth and well-balanced taste with a pleasant acidity.
Due to its superior flavour, Arabica coffee is typically used for speciality and gourmet coffees. It is commonly brewed as a single-origin coffee or used as the base for high-quality blends. Arabica beans are also favoured for their use in espresso preparations, as they produce a more nuanced and aromatic cup of coffee.
Arabica coffee requires specific growing conditions and careful cultivation, which often results in higher production costs compared to Robusta coffee. This, combined with its superior quality, contributes to the higher price point of Arabica coffee in the market.
Arabica coffee is grown in several regions around the world, including Central and South America, Africa, and parts of Asia. Different growing regions and their unique climatic and soil conditions can impart specific flavour characteristics to the coffee.
In summary, Arabica coffee is a highly regarded coffee species known for its superior quality and flavour. It is cultivated at higher altitudes and has a delicate nature compared to Robusta coffee. Arabica beans have a lower caffeine content and offer a wide range of nuanced flavours. They are commonly used for speciality and gourmet coffees, and prized for their exceptional taste and aromatic qualities.