A Guide to the Different Types of Coffee Beans

Have you ever thought about what gives your coffee its killer caffeine content? Or wondered what separates good coffee from the bad?

The chances are, the difference between your favourite coffee and that bland stuff in a jar at the back of your cupboard lies in the beans! Not all coffee is created equal, and with so many types of beans and blends on the market its important to know you’re getting a quality product when choosing your coffee.

We proudly stamp our specially selected coffee origins on every bag of our SIGNATURE blend. Maybe you’ve read this and wondered what it means – here’s your chance to find out!


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Types of Coffee Beans and Their Characteristics


In this post, we’re going to cover 4 different types of coffee beans: Robusta, Arabica, Liberica and Exelsa. That way, the next time you shop for your coffee you’ll have a bit more information as to the characteristics of each type!

Even if you’re a beginner when it comes to coffee, this is a good place to get a little bit of background on the beans behind the blend.


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Robusta Coffee


Robusta coffee beans are used to give coffee blends a boost of caffeine and smooth golden crema. The next time you need a sudden boost of energy and you find yourself reaching for the nearest coffee pot, it’s likely robusta beans you’ve got to thank! Accounting for around a quarter of global coffee consumption, these beans are fairly popular.

On their own, they would create a pretty nutty, strong coffee. So, we simply use them to complement the other flavours in our blend.


Arabica Coffee


Arabica is by far the most popular type of coffee bean, making up the majority of coffee drank around the world. Arabica plants thrive in high altitudes under specific rainy conditions, like those in countries like Brazil.

This makes it a little more expensive, but it’s worth every penny for the smooth caramel flavour arabica beans produce.

Robusta and arabica have vastly different characteristics, so if you want to find out more check out our Robusta vs. Arabica guide.

Liberica Coffee


Unless you’re a coffee connoisseur, you’ve maybe never heard of this more obscure bean, so we thought we’d give you a little bit of background.

Liberica coffee is actually pretty hard to come by in Europe and the US. These almond-shaped coffee beans, originating from Liberia, are especially popular in Asia and South America. Most commonly, they are used to make cheap, instant-style coffee, which is a suitable use considering the Liberica beans’ high caffeine content.

Liberica coffee is bold and smoky: a very distinct palette that isn’t to everyone’s taste. However, the strong, dark flavour still makes it a popular choice in some parts of the world.


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Excelsa Coffee


Excelsa beans are rich in flavour and great for making full-bodied coffee. Excelsa coffee makes up just under 10% of world production and is actually considered a part of the Liberica family.

However, the Excelsa bean’s flavour sets it apart from other Liberica beans. Excelsa coffee has a distinct and unique taste profile. Simultaneously, these beans contain the tart, fruity characteristics of a lighter roast and the strong, rich profile of a dark roast. This mysterious palette has made it a popular choice for coffee drinkers around the world. We use Columbian Excelso beans in our SYMPOSIUM blend, too.


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Coffee Bean Types and Flavours – Final Thoughts


As you can see, there are a lot of contrasting characteristics shared among the different types of coffee. The important thing is not whether one type of coffee bean is better than the other, but that the various types are used in harmony to create the perfect end result.

At SYMPOSIUM, we spent years testing & developing our SIGNATURE recipe. We love experimenting and are always finding ways to keep perfecting our blend. We also try to keep up to date with the latest trends on the coffee market, sustainably sourcing from some of the best coffee producers in the world to continue experimenting at our coffee roastery right here in the North East of Scotland.

Want the chance to create your own unique coffee blend, or have your logo stamped on your bag of coffee? Visit our wholesale coffee sales page – we’d love to chat to you! Or maybe you just want to grab a bag of SYMPOSIUM coffee for your household or business? Delivery is available throughout the UK.


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