What is the Most Widespread Type of Coffee? Dominance of Arabica

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A tea plantation in Thailand nestled with mountains as a picturesque backdrop.
Table of Contents
A tea plantation in Thailand nestled with mountains as a picturesque backdrop.

Key Takeaways:

  • Arabica coffee is the most widespread type of coffee, accounting for 60% of global production.
  • Arabica coffee is known for its superior taste, aroma, and acidity compared to other types of coffee.
  • The cultivation and harvesting process for Arabica coffee requires specific environmental conditions, including high altitudes on mountain slopes

What is the Most Widespread Type of Coffee? Dominance of Arabica

Arabica coffee is the most widespread type due to its superior taste and flavor profile, which is often described as smooth, complex, and with subtle notes of fruit or chocolate.

Do you love a good cup of coffee in the morning but can’t quite figure out why some brews taste better than others? Here’s an interesting fact: Arabica coffee, contributing to 60% of global production, is hailed as the kingpin for its superior quality.

Our article will dive deep into Arabica’s origins, characteristics and influence on your daily cup of Joe, decoding why it rules over other types like Robusta. Ready to explore how this Ethiopian native rose to global fame? Let’s brew!

What is Arabica Coffee?

Arabica coffee, originating in Ethiopia, has spread globally and is the most widespread type of coffee, accounting for 60% of the world’s coffee production.

History and origin in Ethiopia

Arabica coffee, cherished globally for its superior taste and enthralling aroma, traces its roots back to the lush highlands of Ethiopia. Nestled in these verdant mountains are wild Coffea arabica plants– native to this region that birthed what we now know as Arabica coffee.

Ethiopian legends tell tales about the discovery of coffee by a goat herder named Kaldi during the 9th century. Noticing how his goats got energized after eating certain red berries, he shared this finding with local monks who then realized these ‘magical’ beans could keep them awake during long prayer sessions.

Thus began the journey of Arabica coffee from indigenous Ethiopian beverage to becoming a widely consumed drink around the world. This fascinating history combined with Ethiopia’s substantial genetic diversity of Arabica species makes it undeniable that the nation is truly home to our beloved cuppa joe!

Spread to Yemen and Arabian Peninsula

Arabica coffee, the most widely consumed type of coffee in the world, has a fascinating history that traces back to its origin in Ethiopia. As trade routes expanded, Arabica coffee made its way to Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula, where it quickly gained popularity among locals.

The unique flavor and aroma of Arabica coffee captivated people’s taste buds, leading to its further spread across the globe. Today, Arabica coffee is cultivated in various regions around the world, from South America to Africa and Asia.

Its journey from Ethiopia to Yemen and beyond has played a significant role in establishing its global dominance as one of the most sought-after coffees worldwide.

Global expansion

Arabica coffee’s global expansion led to its dominance in the coffee market today. From its origins in Ethiopia, Arabica coffee spread across the Arabian Peninsula and eventually reached other parts of the world.

Today, it is cultivated in various regions around the globe, including South America, Central America, Africa, and some parts of Asia. The popularity of Arabica coffee can be attributed to its exceptional taste and aroma when compared to other types of coffee beans.

With 60% of the world’s coffee production coming from Arabica beans, it continues to be a favorite among coffee lovers worldwide.

Arabica Coffee production

Arabica coffee production is a significant part of the global coffee industry, accounting for 60% of the world’s coffee production. Arabica beans are highly sought after due to their superior taste and aroma.

The cultivation and harvesting process for Arabica coffee involves specific techniques to ensure high-quality beans. These beans are grown in various regions around the world, including Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

Arabica beans go through different processing methods such as washed or natural to bring out their unique flavors. With its rich history and widespread popularity, Arabica coffee continues to dominate the global market.

Growing regions

Arabica coffee is grown in several different regions around the world, each with its own unique characteristics and flavor profiles. Some of the major growing regions include:

  • South AmericThis region includes countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador. Brazil is the largest producer of Arabica coffee in the world, accounting for a significant portion of global production.
  • Central AmericCountries like Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua are known for their high-quality Arabica coffees. These coffees are often described as having bright acidity and fruity flavors.
  • AfricEthiopia, the birthplace of Arabica coffee, continues to produce some of the most sought-after varieties. Other African countries like Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda also produce exceptional Arabica coffees with a range of flavor profiles from floral to citrusy.
  • AsiIndonesia is known for its unique processing methods that result in complex flavors in their Arabica coffees. Other Asian countries such as Thailand and India also have growing coffee industries.
  • Caribbean: Countries like Jamaica and Puerto Rico are famous for their specialty Arabica coffees. These coffees often have smooth body and rich flavors.

Cultivation and harvesting

Arabica coffee is cultivated in various regions around the world, usually grown at high altitudes on mountain slopes. The cultivation of Arabica coffee requires specific environmental conditions, including a tropical climate with temperatures ranging between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

The plants thrive in well-draining soil that retains moisture but does not become waterlogged.

Coffee cherries, which contain the precious beans inside, are harvested by hand when they reach optimal ripeness. This selective picking ensures only ripe cherries are gathered. This meticulous process can be time-consuming and labor-intensive but guarantees the best quality beans for production.

Once harvested, the coffee cherries undergo processing to separate the beans from their fruit pulp and protective parchment layer. There are different methods used for processing Arabica coffee beans such as wet-processing (washing), dry-processing (natural), or semi-washed (honey or pulped natural).

Each method imparts unique flavors to the final product.

Processing methods

  • Coffee cherries are harvested from Arabica coffee plants.
  • The first step in processing is to remove the outer skin of the cherry, a process known as pulping.
  • After pulping, the beans are fermented in water for one to two days to remove any remaining fruit residue.
  • The next step is to wash the beans thoroughly to remove any leftover fermentation residue.
  • Once washed, the beans are dried either by sun drying or using mechanical dryers.
  • Sun drying involves spreading out the beans on large trays or patios and exposing them to direct sunlight until they reach the desired moisture content.
  • Mechanical dryers use heated air to dry the beans more quickly and efficiently.
  • After drying, the beans undergo a process called hulling, which removes the parchment layer surrounding each bean.
  • The beans are sorted and graded based on their size and quality before being packaged for sale.

Characteristics of Arabica Coffee

Arabica coffee is known for its distinctive characteristics that set it apart from other types of coffee. It has a smooth and delicate flavor with complex nuances, often described as fruity or floral.

The aroma of Arabica coffee is also highly aromatic, with notes of chocolate, nuts, and berries. In terms of acidity, Arabica coffee tends to have a brighter and more vibrant acidity compared to other varieties.

Arabica beans contain less caffeine than Robusta beans, making it a popular choice for those who prefer a milder caffeine kick. The environmental factors in which Arabica coffee grows impact its flavor profile – higher elevations tend to produce coffees with more pronounced flavors and acidity.

Botanical features

Arabica coffee, also known as Coffea arabica, is a type of coffee that comes from the plant species native to Ethiopia. The botanical features of Arabica coffee plants include their ability to thrive in mountainous regions with altitudes ranging from 600 to 2,000 meters.

They have delicate leaves and flowers that are white and fragrant. The cherries produced by Arabica plants ripen over a longer period compared to other types of coffee, resulting in a more complex flavor profile.

These unique botanical characteristics contribute to the exceptional taste and aroma for which Arabica coffee is renowned worldwide.

Taste and aroma

Arabica coffee is renowned for its exceptional taste and aroma, making it the preferred choice for coffee lovers worldwide. It offers a wide range of flavor profiles that can vary from fruity and floral to nutty and chocolatey, providing a rich sensory experience with every sip.

The delicate acidity in Arabica coffee adds brightness to the taste, while its subtle sweetness enhances the overall flavor. The enticing aroma of Arabica beans fills the air with notes of caramel, berries, or even jasmine, captivating our senses before we even take a single sip.

This unique combination of flavors and aromas is what sets Arabica coffee apart from other types of coffee beans and makes it highly sought after by those who appreciate a truly exceptional cup of joe.

Acidity and caffeine content

Arabica coffee is known for its pleasant acidity, which gives it a bright and vibrant taste. The acidity of Arabica coffee varies depending on the specific growing region and processing methods.

Arabica beans have a higher level of acidity compared to Robusta beans. As for caffeine content, Arabica coffee contains less caffeine than Robusta coffee. On average, Arabica beans contain about 1% to 1.5% caffeine, while Robusta beans can have up to 2.7%.

This lower caffeine content makes Arabica coffee a popular choice for those who prefer a milder and smoother flavor profile without sacrificing the enjoyable kick of their morning cup of joe.

Health and environmental factors

Arabica coffee offers several health benefits when consumed in moderation. Studies have shown that drinking coffee can reduce the risk of certain diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease and liver cancer.

It is also rich in antioxidants, which help protect the body against inflammation and oxidative stress. Arabica coffee contains essential nutrients like potassium and magnesium.

In terms of environmental factors, the cultivation of Arabica coffee has a significant impact on ecosystems and local communities. Climate change poses a threat to coffee production due to its sensitivity to temperature variations.

Rising temperatures can affect plant growth and increase the spread of pests and diseases. As a result, efforts are being made to promote sustainable farming practices, such as shade-grown coffee or organic farming methods.

Arabica Coffee varieties

Arabica coffee is known for its wide variety of cultivars, each with its own unique flavor profile and characteristics. Here are some popular Arabica coffee varieties:

  • Bourbon and TypicThese are two of the earliest and most common Arabica varieties. Bourbon coffee has a rich, smooth flavor with hints of chocolate and fruit, while Typica coffee is known for its balanced acidity and floral notes.
  • GeishOriginally from Ethiopia, Geisha (also spelled Gesha) has gained popularity in recent years due to its exceptional cup quality. It often exhibits complex flavors of jasmine, bergamot, and tropical fruits.
  • Specialty coffees: Within the Arabica category, there are specialty coffees that come from specific regions or farms known for their high-quality beans. Examples include Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Colombian Supremo, and Jamaican Blue Mountain.

Bourbon and Typica

Bourbon and Typica are two popular varieties of Arabica coffee that have gained recognition for their exceptional quality. Bourbon is named after the island of Bourbon, now known as Reunion Island, where it was first cultivated in the 18th century.

It has a delicate flavor profile with notes of chocolate and fruitiness, making it highly sought after by coffee connoisseurs. Typica is one of the oldest and most traditional Arabica varieties, known for its smooth and well-balanced taste.

Both Bourbon and Typica contribute to the rich diversity of Arabica coffee flavors enjoyed by coffee lovers around the world.


Geisha is a highly sought-after variety of Arabica coffee known for its exceptional quality and unique flavor profile. Originally from Ethiopia, this rare coffee variety was introduced to Central America in the early 20th century.

It gained popularity in Panama, where it has since been cultivated at high altitudes on small farms with meticulous care. Geisha coffee beans are characterized by their elongated shape and distinct floral and tea-like flavors, often exhibiting notes of jasmine and bergamot.

Due to its limited availability and extraordinary taste, Geisha coffee is widely regarded as one of the most expensive and luxurious coffees in the world.

Specialty coffees

Specialty coffees are a major part of the Arabica coffee market. These are high-quality beans that come from specific regions or farms, and they are carefully cultivated and processed to bring out unique flavors and characteristics.

Specialty coffees can have distinct flavor profiles, ranging from fruity and floral to nutty and chocolatey. They often undergo rigorous testing and scoring by experts to ensure their exceptional quality.

Coffee connoisseurs appreciate specialty coffees for their complex tastes and aromatics, making them popular choices for those who want a premium coffee experience.

Arabica Coffee vs Robusta Coffee

Arabica coffee is known for its superior taste and aroma, while Robusta coffee has a stronger and more bitter flavor. Discover the differences between these two popular coffee types and why Arabica reigns supreme in the global coffee market.

Read more to deepen your knowledge about the most widespread type of coffee.

Differences in flavor and aroma

Arabica coffee is known for its complex and nuanced flavors, ranging from fruity and floral to nutty and chocolatey. It has a more delicate and refined taste compared to Robusta coffee.

In terms of aroma, Arabica coffee often exhibits pleasant scents such as jasmine, berries, caramel, or even wine-like notes. Robusta coffee tends to have a stronger, harsher flavor with earthy or woody undertones.

Its aroma is often described as smoky or burnt. These flavor and aroma differences are due to variations in the chemical composition of the beans and the growing conditions in which they are cultivated.

Caffeine content

Arabica coffee beans have less caffeine content compared to other types of coffee. This is one reason why Arabica coffee is often preferred by those who are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine.

On average, Arabica coffee contains about 1-1.5% caffeine, while Robusta coffee, its closest competitor, has a higher caffeine content of around 2-2.7%. So if you’re looking for a milder and less intense pick-me-up, Arabica coffee might be the perfect choice for you.

Growing conditions and yield

Arabica coffee thrives in specific growing conditions, which contribute to its superior taste. It requires altitudes between 2,000 and 6,000 feet above sea level and a temperature range of 60-70°F (15-25°C).

The plants prefer a cool but not freezing environment with stable temperatures. Arabica coffee requires well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. These factors contribute to the slower growth rate of Arabica coffee compared to Robusta coffee.

Even though it yields less than Robusta coffee, Arabica’s flavor profile makes it highly sought after by coffee lovers around the world.

Arabica coffee in gourmet and specialty coffees

Arabica coffee plays a significant role in the world of gourmet and specialty coffees. Due to its superior taste and aroma, Arabica beans are often used in high-end coffee blends and single origin coffees.

Gourmet coffee lovers appreciate the nuanced flavors that Arabica coffee brings to their cup, whether it’s a smooth espresso or a velvety cappuccino. The Specialty Coffee Association recognizes Arabica beans for their quality, making them highly sought after by roasters looking to create exceptional brews.

With its rich history and global dominance, Arabica coffee continues to be the go-to choice for those seeking an elevated coffee experience.

Single origin coffees

Single origin coffees are gaining popularity among coffee lovers for their unique and distinct flavors. These coffees come from a specific region or farm, allowing consumers to experience the true essence of that particular location’s coffee production.

Each single origin coffee has its own characteristic taste profile, influenced by factors such as soil composition, climate, altitude, and processing methods. From the fruity and floral Ethiopian Yirgacheffe to the rich and chocolaty Colombian Supremo, single origin coffees offer a diverse range of flavors that cater to different preferences.

Coffee connoisseurs appreciate these specialty coffees for their complexity and depth of flavor.

Coffee blends

Coffee blends are a popular choice among coffee lovers as they offer a unique combination of flavors and aromas. Blending different types of coffee beans, including Arabica and Robusta, allows for the creation of complex and well-balanced coffees.

Roasters carefully select beans with distinct characteristics to complement each other and create a harmonious flavor profile. By blending various coffee varieties, roasters can achieve desired attributes such as body, acidity, sweetness, or bitterness in their blends.

This versatility makes coffee blends a favorite among those who enjoy exploring different taste profiles in their daily cup of joe.

Coffee certifications

Coffee certifications play a key role in ensuring the quality and sustainability of Arabica coffee. Certifications such as Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, and Organic guarantee that the coffee has been produced under specific standards, benefiting both farmers and consumers.

Fair Trade certification ensures that farmers receive fair prices for their product and promotes social justice in the coffee industry. Rainforest Alliance certification focuses on environmental sustainability, including biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation.

Organic certification ensures that the coffee is grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. These certifications provide assurance to coffee lovers that they are supporting ethical and environmentally-friendly practices when enjoying their favorite cup of Arabica coffee.

Arabica Coffee and the Environment

Arabica coffee is facing challenges due to climate change.

Climate change and coffee production

Climate change poses significant challenges to coffee production. Rising temperatures and changing weather patterns affect the growth and quality of Arabica coffee plants. Higher temperatures can disrupt the delicate balance required for optimal cultivation, leading to decreased yields and lower-quality beans.

In addition, extreme weather events such as hurricanes or droughts can devastate entire coffee crops. causing financial hardship for farmers. As global warming continues, it is crucial for the coffee industry to invest in sustainable practices and adaptation strategies to protect Arabica coffee production in the face of climate change.

Conservation and sustainability efforts

Conservation and sustainability efforts are crucial in ensuring the future of Arabica coffee production. As climate change poses a significant threat to coffee farming, initiatives focused on preserving the natural habitats where Arabica coffee grows are becoming increasingly important.

These efforts aim to protect forests and promote sustainable farming practices that reduce carbon emissions and conserve water resources. There is a growing focus on supporting farmers by providing education and training on environmentally friendly cultivation techniques.

By promoting conservation and sustainability, we can help safeguard the biodiversity of Arabica coffee plants while also ensuring a long-term supply of high-quality beans for coffee lovers around the world.

Future of Arabica Coffee

The future of Arabica coffee looks promising as it continues to dominate the global coffee market. With its superior taste and aroma, Arabica beans are highly sought after by coffee lovers worldwide.

Coffee cultivation is constantly evolving, with advancements in cultivation techniques and processing methods aimed at improving quality and sustainability. New varieties and hybrids of Arabica coffee are being developed to cope with changing climatic conditions and pests.

Despite challenges posed by climate change, efforts towards conservation and sustainability are being made to ensure the long-term viability of Arabica coffee production. Arabica coffee is expected to maintain its position as the most widespread type of coffee in the years ahead.

New varieties and hybrids

New varieties and hybrids of Arabica coffee are constantly being developed and introduced to the market. These new cultivars aim to improve upon existing traits such as disease resistanceyield potential, and flavor profiles.

Some new varieties are bred to be more resistant to common diseases like coffee leaf rust or pests like the coffee berry borer. Others may have increased drought tolerance or adaptability to different climatic conditions.

Breeders are also working on creating new hybrid varieties by crossing Arabica with other species of coffee plants to combine desired characteristics from both parent plants.

Advancements in cultivation and processing

Advancements in cultivation and processing techniques have greatly contributed to the global dominance of Arabica coffee. Coffee farmers and producers have been continuously refining their methods to ensure higher-quality beans.

This includes improved farming practices, such as better soil management and irrigation systems, as well as more efficient harvesting techniques. Advancements in processing methods have allowed for greater control over the coffee’s flavor profile.

From traditional sun-drying to more modern methods like mechanical drying or using raised drying beds, these innovations help enhance the final taste and aroma of Arabica coffee. With ongoing research and development in this industry, we can expect even more exciting advancements that will further elevate the quality of Arabica coffee for years to come.

Global coffee production trends

The global trends in coffee production reveal a continuous dominance of Arabica coffee. This is evidenced by its accounting for 60% of the world’s coffee production. Let’s explore these trends in the table below:

YearArabica Production (Million 60kg bags)Robusta Production (Million 60kg bags)Total Global Production (Million 60kg bags)
2021 (projected)101.5075.00176.50

As can be seen, Arabica consistently out-produces Robusta, maintaining its position as the most widely cultivated and consumed coffee variety. It’s worth noting that the robusta variety is the second most widespread type of coffee, however, it still doesn’t match the volumes of Arabica coffee. With an expected increase in production in 2021, Arabica coffee continues to dominate the global coffee market.


What is Arabica coffee?

Arabica coffee is a species of coffee plant commonly grown for its high-quality beans that are known for their sweet flavor.

Why is Arabica coffee so popular?

Arabica coffee is popular due to its delicate and complex flavors, which make it a preferred choice for coffee lovers around the world.

What are the different varieties of Arabica coffee?

There are numerous varieties of Arabica coffee, including Ethiopian, Colombian, Brazilian, and Kenyan, each with its own distinct taste profile.

Can Arabica coffee be found in coffee shops?

Yes, Arabica coffee is commonly found in coffee shops as it is considered a high-quality and flavorful coffee for brewing various coffee drinks.

Is Arabica coffee used to make iced coffee?

Yes, Arabica coffee is often used to make iced coffee due to its smooth and balanced flavors that complement the cold brewing process.

Is Arabica coffee a popular drink?

Arabica coffee is indeed a popular drink worldwide, appreciated for its rich taste and aromatic qualities.

How is Arabica coffee different from Robusta coffee?

Arabica coffee is known for its superior quality and pleasant taste, while Robusta coffee has a more robust and bitter flavor profile.

Is Arabica coffee more expensive than other types of coffee?

Yes, Arabica coffee is generally more expensive than other types of coffee due to its higher quality and the specific growing conditions required.

How is coffee Arabica grown?

Arabica coffee is typically grown in plantations around the world, with specific regions known for producing high-quality beans.

Conclusion: Arabica coffee beans as most popular coffee

Arabica coffee has established its dominance as the most widespread type of coffee globally. Its origins in Ethiopia and expansion throughout the Arabian Peninsula have led to its cultivation in various regions across the world.

With its superior taste, aroma, and lower caffeine content compared to Robusta coffee, Arabica continues to be the top choice for coffee lovers worldwide. As efforts are made towards conservation and sustainability in the industry, Arabica coffee is expected to maintain its global prominence for years to come.

About the Author:
Sophia Lewis, a travel blogger with a focus on global coffee cultures, explores coffee traditions from Colombia to Turkey. Her expertise lies in understanding the cultivation, brewing, and enjoyment of coffee in different cultures. Through articles, travel vlogs, and tastings, Sophia brings a global perspective to coffee, emphasizing ethical and sustainable practices, and invites readers to join her community of global coffee enthusiasts.