All hail the great Arabica Coffee Bean

For many coffee lovers there is only one word that will do…Arabica. It is both the King and Queen of Coffee. I love it. My bean of choice.

When people see 100% Arabica in our range [NB link to coffee products page on JayandCo] they know it means quality. The finest quality. For some, it’s all they need to see on the pack or pouch.

Coffea Arabica is a descendent of the original coffee trees discovered in Ethiopia. Varieties include Bourbon, Typica, Caturra, Tico, Jamaica Blue Mountain and Mundo Novo.

Arabica – The Height of Quality

It accounts for at least 60 per cent of the world’s coffee production.

The taste, acidity, aroma, body and flavour is down to where and how it is grown.

The biggest producer is Brazil. By far. Colombia, Honduras and Ethiopia are also top growers. More than 25 other countries are also involved in Arabica production. I haven’t forgotten Vietnam – it’s just that country is better known for its Robusta production.

Brazil always seems to come out on top of the coffee production league tables but other positions can vary.

The Journey of the Arabica Bean

The better Arabicas are grown at altitude. They start life on the slopes. The terrain tends to be steep and difficult to access.

The higher-grade Arabicas are grown between 2,000 ft and 6,000 ft (610m to 1,830m). The precise height for farming depends on how near or far the land is to the equator.

What is most important for this bean to grow is climate. It loves mild temperatures between 15C to 24C (59F to 75F) and appreciates rainfall of around 60 inches a year. The trees are pretty robust but a heavy frost will kill them.

Planting usually takes place in high places, on hilly areas. It can take three to five years for trees to bear fruit. There is typically one harvest a year. In Colombia, usually two a year – yielding a main crop and a secondary crop.

The terrain, access and level of care required (because the Arabica coffee is more prone to disease than the Robusta tree) makes cultivation costly.

Selecting the Very Best Coffee

Cherries By Hand

Because the Arabica is grown at altitude, often on steeper slopes, the crop is primarily picked by hand. A labour-intensive and challenging task. Where farmers can mechanise, they do.

This ‘selectively picked’ method used means only the ripe cherries are harvested. A rotation schedule allows workers to keep revisiting trees every 8 to 10 days until the time is right to pick.

The crop is taken for processing – typically using the wet method – and milling before being exported.

Then it’s time for testing and tasting. The taster, or cupper, ensures the beans are the right quality to be used for roasting. Once the quality coffee is ground it’s ready for brewing.

The Arabica is known for its high quality. Look for single origin if you can. After that, your choice is largely down to taste. That’s why JayandCo provides a description of each coffee we sell which includes flavour notes. A guide to what you can expect. See for yourself here. [

As well as being a fine, mild and aromatic coffee, the Arabica contains less caffeine than the Robusta.

Enjoy the experience with your next brew.

Jay