Types of Coffee Beans and Characteristics


The first coffee trees cultivated originated in Ethiopia, and this same variety of coffee, Typica, is still growing nowadays. Also, there are many other varieties that exist but some are natural mutations and some cross-breeding. 

Some coffee beans have a specific taste, it depends on the Types of Coffee Beans and Characteristics of their very own. But others adopt their characteristics from the terroir in which they are grown, their cultivation methods, and the manner in which post-harvest processes are carried out.

By clicking here you can also find out Black Coffee Benefits and Side Effects.


Lots of coffee consumers often confuse between the Types of Coffee Beans and Characteristics and the term “variety” and “varietal”. Actually, all varieties are different variations of a single species. In this case, Coffea arabica may show different characteristics in leaves, fruits, and tree structure. And the “Varietal” word is used when you referring a specific instance of a variety. For Example: if I’m not wrong then this is a Bourbon varietal.

Types of Coffee Beans and Characteristics


Typica is the one considered as the original variety and all other varieties are mutated or been genetically selected. For commercial production, coffee was spread around the world by dutch people and this was the variety they took with them. The fruit is red and Typica is able to produce excellent quality. However, it’s a relatively small yield as compared to other varieties. Coffee is growing in many places and many Types of Coffee Beans and Characteristics, But this Typica coffee variety is still growing in many different places around the world, and because of that, it has several different names including Criollo, Sumatra, and Arabigo.


Bourbon is a natural mutation of Typica, this mutation occurred on the island of Reunion. Bourbon yield is bigger than Typica and both have different types of Coffee Beans and Characteristics. Many Coffee lovers believe that it has a special sweetness flavor, which makes it prized and desirable. There are some variations in the color of this fruit: red, yellow, and orange. This coffee variety was grown widely in past but in many countries, this variety was replaced by higher-yielding varieties. In those days, the market wasn’t mature enough to reward a high enough price to compensate for the lower yield such a variety produces compared to newer varieties.


Mundo Novo is a natural hybrid between Typica and Bourbon. The variety was named after the Brazilian town where it was found in the 1940s. These types of coffee beans and characteristics are disease resistance. It is grown for its disease resistance, strength, and its relatively high yield. It is also known for its success at altitudes of about 1,000–1,200 meters (3,300–3,900 feet) which are typically found in Brazil.


In 1937, Minas Gerais state in Brazil found a mutation of the Bourbon species called Caturra. Its yields are relatively high and have the ability for overbearing, by this, trees produce more fruits than usual and it can sustain. This variety is very popular in Colombia and Central America and Brazil. It is a low-growing variety and there are two types of variations red and yellow.

Types of Coffee Beans and Characteristics


This is a hybrid between Caturra and Mundo Novo created by the Instituto Agronomico do Campinas in Brazil in the 1950s and 1960s. Caturra and Mundo Novo both are different types of coffee beans and characteristics. Choosing this cultivar was based upon its combination of the dwarf characteristics of Caturra and the yield and strength of Mundo Novo. Like Caturra, there are red and yellow Varieties.


Maragogype is a mutation of Typica and this is one of the most easily recognized varieties. First discovered in Brazil and often considered desirable. It has large size beans and also the tree has exceptionally large leaves but a relatively low yield. The fruits usually ripen red. This coffee is also called “Elephant” or “Elephant Bean” coffee due to its size.


Now let’s talk about a prized variety, SL-28 were made in Kenya by Scott Laboratories in the 1930s. They chose a drought-resistant variety from Tanzania. The fruit color of this variety is red and beans are larger. This Variety knew for producing a cup with a distinct flavor, Blackcurrant is often described as the flavor of this fruit. A higher altitude is ideal for this plant as it is susceptible to coffee leaf rust.


SL-34 was selected from French Mission Bourbon, this variety was brought back to Africa from Bourbon (Réunion), and its appeared first time in Tanzania and then in Kenya. It is also capable of flavoring a variety of fruits. But the quality of the cup is generally considered inferior to the SL-28. It is also sensitive to the rust of coffee leaves, and the fruits are red.


Some people debate about the correct name for this variety. But the “Geisha” is more commonly used. Actually, Gesha is a town in western Ethiopia. This variety was brought from Costa Rica to Panama. It is thought to be from Ethiopia. Geisha or Gesha types of coffee beans and characteristics considered to make unusual fragrance/flower cups, and its demand has increased in recent years.

This variety gained its popularity in 2004, since Panamanian farm, Hacienda La Esmeralda entered a competition with a Geisha lot. It had such an incredibly distinctive flavor and appearance that at auction it was sold for $21/lb, an insanely high price. The previous record bid was broke in 2006 and 2007, with the bidding reaching $130 per lb – nearly 100 times more than a commodity-grade coffee. This encouraged coffee producers to plant this variety in Central and South America.

Types of Coffee Beans and Characteristics


Pacas is also a mutation of Bourbon and was discovered in El Salvador in 1949 by the Pacas family. Pacas variety has red fruits and low growing. That’s why Pacas and Bourbon types of coffee beans and characteristics are similar and the cup quality of pacas is quite similar to Bourbon and that’s why it’s desirable.


Villa Sarchi is another natural mutation of Bourbon. It got named after the town in Costa Rica where it was discovered. A common goal of its breeders is to produce extremely high yields, and it can also produce delicious crops. The fruits ripen red and the quality of the cup is amazing.


Pacamara is a cross between two varieties Pacas and Maragogype, it was created in El Salvador in 1958. It has very large leaves, fruit, and coffee beans like Maragogype. It can taste like chocolate and fruit but in addition, it can make unpleasantly herbal, onion-like cups. The fruits ripen red.


This variety called Kent. it got named after a planter who worked on a selection program in India in the 1920s, The variety was developed as a resistant variety to coffee leaf rust, but new strains could destroy the plants.

Types of Coffee Beans and Characteristics


S795 is also created in India and it’s a hybrid of kent and S288. The coffee leaf rust resistance of an older selection. S795 is extensively planted in Indonesia and also in India. Despite its loss of resistance, it is still considered a sensitive plant.


As I gave you the details above, types of coffee beans and characteristics, most of them are genetically almost similar. Because all those varieties developed from one stem, which is Typica. Lots of coffee trees are grown in Ethiopia, Although these are not selected cultivars, It is believed that these indigenous heirlooms are the result of cross-breeding between different species and also different varieties. A lot of work has not been done to categorize or explore the genetic diversity and cup quality of wild varieties.

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