Nowadays, millions of people start their day with a cup of aromatic coffee. Arabica is the most popular type of coffee on the planet. The drink is brewed from the beans of a coffee plant and has a complex and delicate taste and unique stimulating qualities.
This fact is used by coffee manufacturers: they are constantly expanding the range of Arabica coffee brands, offering new varieties of the drink, and their combinations, creating new forms of serving. The coffee industry uses 45-50 varieties and cultivars of Arabica coffee. They have many unique taste characteristics.
What Is Arabica?
ARABICA – the official name of the plant is Coffea Arabica. This is the most important type of coffee in the world with a specific taste and complex aroma.
Arabica, Robusta, Liberica are the species of a coffee tree. The Arabica coffee tree grows in tropical and subtropical latitudes, on mountain slopes, at an altitude of 900 meters above sea level. The plant is quite capricious and requires special care. It does not tolerate drastic temperature changes and needs special nutritious soil.
Arabica Taste Qualities
The chemical composition of grains affects the taste of your favorite drink. Remember that Arabica combines many coffee brands and each of them has its own characteristics of aroma and taste. But there is something they have in common:
- 18% essential oils;
- 8% sugar;
- 1 – 1.5% caffeine.
This composition means that the strength of the coffee is relatively weak. The minimum content of caffeine cannot be harmful and brings a necessary renewal and wellbeing. Regardless of the content of caffeine, the aroma and taste of Arabica can be different.
Homeland of Arabica – the savannas and highlands of Ethiopia. It was here where coffee trees were first grown. Grains of the best quality are collected from the trees that grow at an altitude of 1000-2000 meters above sea level.
Ethiopian Arabica was named after the territory of origin. Since ancient times the coffee has been grown in Ethiopia and valued for its tartness and a specific taste of fruits, berries, and parfume aroma.
Some of the best Arabica in the world is grown in Colombia. This country is one of the largest coffee producers and supplies up to 15% of the world's coffee. For coffee lovers, the phrase "Colombian coffee" means a good and high-quality product. Colombian coffee is probably the most respectable drink, which puts it on a par with French champagne and Portuguese port wine.
Brazilian Arabica has a plain taste without any specific characteristics. However, this does not prevent it from being one of the most popular sorts of Arabica on the planet. Coffee grown in the country is very high quality and almost perfect for espresso.
Arabica of Kenyan origin is one of the oldest and the best, grown on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. This sort of coffee refers to soft drinks with a pleasant red berrys taste. Coffee from Kenya is divided into several types, depending on the region of cultivation. The best coffee is considered to grow on the slopes of Meru and Kilimanjaro, known for its bright wine hue and complex multi-stage taste. A characteristic feature of Kenyan Arabica is a pronounced sourness, complemented by sweet notes and a light citrus hue.
Indonesia is famous for producing one of the most expensive Arabica coffee brands in the world – Kopi Luwak, but this does not prevent Indonesians from growing budget coffee varieties on their plantations. Coffee drink brewed from Indonesian beans has a velvety taste, balanced acidity, wonderful aroma, and amazing aftertaste with a faint smoky hint.
This region is the southernmost state in Central America with a unique climate, clean air, and fertile moist soils. The cold nights slow coffee ripening. Costa Rica's plantations grow 400 million trees of various sorts of Arabica. The cultivation of other types of coffee trees, including the popular Robusta, is prohibited by law in the country.
How To Choose The Best Arabica Coffee?
Remember, not all brands of Arabica you can see on the market are the same. The beans can be grown in unsuitable conditions, which, no doubt, affect the taste of the drink as well as being harvested at the wrong time, transporting, and roasting. Therefore, the phrase "it's Arabica" doesn’t mean that you will get a quality aromatic drink.
- When choosing beans, first of all, pay attention to their aroma: coffee should not smell burnt beans. They must be dry, without visible changes and damages.
- Also, look at the producing country. You already know what countries are the world-popular producers of Arabica.
- One of the determining factors is the price for your coffee, which averages $50 per kilogram of good coffee. The most expensive Arabica coffee brands today are Jamaican Blue Mountain, Kopi Luwak, Panamas Gesha coffees and some others.
Elite Arabica Coffee Brands
There is an incredible number of coffee brands in the world. They differ in composition, taste, and aroma. These qualities primarily depend on the type of coffee trees, where they grow and processing methods. It is important to note that the brands are often named after the place of cultivation or after the name of the port through which they are exported.
Yirgacheffe is deservedly considered one of the brightest Ethiopian drinks. This sort of Arabica is grown at altitudes from 1700 to 2200 m above sea level, in a small zoneof the same name Yirgacheffe in Oromia region.
In Ethiopia, most coffee is basically grown on high-altitude farms, but Yirgacheffe is among highest-growing sorts. Here, the trees grow surrounded by wet tropical forests. Plantations are measured with ginger, cardamom, and papaya groves. Coffee is shaded by aromatic trees and herbs, mostly acacias.
In the mountains at this height, the temperature shift from day to night is about 15 degrees. On the one hand, it slows down the process of maturing coffee, on the other, it makes the natural taste of coffee more complex.
Taste & aroma
For many gourmets, Yirgacheffe is the most favorite of all brands of Arabica. This coffee brand is carefully treated before washing, which reduces its saturation, but emphasizes its distinct pleasant acidity. Yirgacheffe has a noble, refined taste with rich tea nuances. Citrus notes are noticeable in the aftertaste. The aroma of the drink is thick and dense.
The density of coffee is light, similar to tea. The highlands, where the Arabica grows, guarantee no bitterness. However, you can feel a slight tartness and bergamot notes.
At medium roasting, you can feel the sweetness of plums, peaches, apricots, and caramel. At light roasting you can distinguish notes of currants, blueberries, blackberries. Some other distinct flavour notes of Yirga coffees are lemon, lime, grapefruit taste. The aftertaste is long, crisp, lemon-based. Ethiopian Yirgacheffe great for espresso and even better form filter coffee.
How to make
The higher the grade of coffee (the first grade is the highest) – the fewer defects. Since in Ethiopia sorting is manual, a higher grade is significantly more expensive than the previous one. The first grade – without defects – usually costs 2-3 times more expensive than the fourth.
You can make this sort of coffee in any possible way. It opens its aroma perfectly and gives a bright taste whatever you make it, in a coffee machine, in the jezve, or in the French press.
Kopi Luwak (Indonesia)
Meet the most discussed and one of the expensive coffees in the world that not everyone can try. But even those who are familiar with its taste cannot describe it unambiguously. Some say that Luwak coffee has a chocolate taste. For others, it smells like caramel sugar. This brand of coffee is called the drink of the gods. Try it at least once in your life and you can't help but agree – Kopi Luwak is amazingly delicious. At least that is what the marketing says.
Luwak is considered one of the most expensive Arabica coffee brands in the world. Its origin will surprise you a lot because it is processed in an atypical way – in the digestive tract of Malaysian palm civets. For these exotic animals, coffee beans are part of their everyday diet.
Civets naturally eat the ripest and juiciest coffee berries. Undigested grain with excrement comes out. It is collected, washed, dried, and carefully roasted. This is how this quite exotic coffee brand with an unusual history has appeared.
The first mention of such coffee appeared in the 50s of the last century when coffee plantations spread rapidly throughout Indonesia and were created in places where palm civets historically lived. Later, Indonesia and other Asians made this coffee a real tourist attraction.
Palm civets (or musangs) in the wild are capricious – they do not eat all kinds of coffee grains but choose only the sweetest and the ripest.
Taste & aroma
Coffee lovers go crazy about the bright notes of vanilla and cocoa drink notes in coffee. Kopi Luwak does not deliver those but sure can taste good with strong chocolate or caramel flavours.
The taste of coffee is always a consequence of many factors, including the sort of coffee, processing method. Kopi luwak is just the fermentation of coffee in and digestive system, which you do not typically find used in coffee production. That is why such an exotic treatment does not guarantee a unique taste.
How to make
Luwak is one of the pricy types of coffee and it is important to know how to make such an expensive drink properly.
Here is an ancient traditional way of brewing Kopi Luwak.
You need coffee beans of high quality, a cezve, a coffee grinder, some salt on the tip of a knife, and a drop of sugar to taste. For the most aromatic coffee, you should use only freshly ground material.
Put the required number of coffee beans in a coffee grinder. To make coffee, it is recommended to take a classic copper cezve that has been tested for years. Speaking about water, ideally, it must be icy, so if possible, cool it in advance in the refrigerator.
Put some coffee into the heated water in the cezve. For one cup you should take a full teaspoon with a slide. Add salt to the tip of the knife to increase the formation of foam. While the coffee is heating, don’t forget to remove the foam with a teaspoon and spread it in your coffee cup. Watch the coffee as it shouldn’t boil.
Blue Mountain (Jamaica)
The Jamaican region gave a name to another elite Arabica coffee brand – Blue Mountain. For many years, the coffee of this brand was considered a synonym for the most expensive legendary drink. Its new reputation was formed not so long ago. So, what can we say about this brand now?
This coffee is completely natural, as only natural organic fertilizers are used, like fallen leaves and coffee pulp after cleaning. The location also means much and influences the coffee taste and price. At such a height you experience rather low temperatures and high humidity because at this height the mountain is usually hidden in clouds.
Therefore, Jamaica Blue Mountain matures longer than other Arabica sorts, absorbing all the aromas of nature and infusing like a good wine. Don’t forget about the oak barrels where green-washed grains are transported and stored. It also gives a special spiciness and aroma to coffee beans.
Taste & aroma
To avoid fakes, the island has a list of authorized producers and exporters who sell original Blue Mountain coffee. They also put a Specialty Jamaica Blue Mountain stamp on each barrel of coffee to prove it’s original. To be fair, this Arabica coffee brand really has a higher taste potential than the other competitors. It has a soft and delicate taste with very pronounced acidity, a balanced sweetness and no bitterness at all. Again, you can feel the pleasant aroma of herbs, fruits, and flowers.
Coffee sommeliers describe the taste of Jamaica Blue Mountain as soft, smooth, clean, and bright. The aroma is very sweet floral and sweet.
How to make
This expensive and rare brand of Arabica is recommended grinding in small portions just before cooking. Whole grains should be kept in a vacuum container in a cool and dark place (but not in the refrigerator).
The best way to feel the aroma is to brew coffee beans in a Pour-over methods .
So, Arabica is the way to go. That's a wonderful finding because Arabica coffee accounts for70-% of the world's coffee production. There are so many Arabica coffee brands in the world!
Some of them have gained popularity among the public because of their unique characteristics, limited quantity, or one-of-a-kind way of processing. But there are brands that no one knows about because of heavy marketing but are still might be worth your while.
Now, you have a lot to chew on!