The vast majority of coffee beans in the world come from two species of coffee, Coffea Arabica and Coffea Robusta which is also known as Coffea Canephora.
Other species of coffee include: Coffea benghalensis, Bengal coffee; Coffea congensis, Congo coffee; Coffea stenophylla, Sierra Leonian coffee; Coffea bonnieri; Coffea gallienii; and Coffea mogeneti; Most of these species are very rare or non-existent in the export market. Coffea liberica, and Coffea excelsia, two Liberian coffees can be found in the export market but are sold in limited amounts.
Arabica is by far the more popular of the two coffee species considered by many to having the best flavor profiles. It produces approximately 70 percent of the world’s coffee and is deemed a much superior coffee providing a highly desirable flavor that is rich, smooth and full, whilst being more acidity and not tending to be bitter to the taste. The reader may be interested to note that Arabica coffee naturally contains less caffeine than Robusta coffee.
Indigenous to Yemen and Ethiopia, Arabica Coffee was the earliest to be cultivated and has been grown on the Arabian Peninsula for over 1000 years. These days many diverse subspecies of Arabica are derived through selective breeding or natural selection of the coffee plants, and grown in many other countries each of which produce coffees with distinct flavors and characteristics. Some of these coffees grown from a single geographical location are called single origin.
Arabica as a plant requires a milder climate in which to grow and produces per hectare a lower yield than Robusta. The plant although more susceptible to disease is often found grown at higher altitudes (3,000 to 6,500 feet or approximately 914 to 1,828 meters), and tends to thrive when located for a large portion of the day in a slightly shaded area, this is in contrast to some other types of coffee plants, which require a great deal of direct sunlight.