Coffee Plant Varieties Guide

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When you drink coffee, you are drinking one of the many different kinds of species found all over the world. What you might not know is that there are over 60 coffee varieties.

A variety is a taxonomic hierarchy rank below species. Usually, coffees of different varieties have appearances that are different from each other.

However, they are able to easily hybridize with each other. Species, on the other hand, have individuals that can cross-breed to produce viable offsprings. The most common species and cultivars are below.

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Varities of Coffee Plants:


This is the most produced species, and it accounts for approximately 60% of the world’s total coffee production. It thrives under fair rainfall and a minimal amount of sunlight.

Arabica is indigenous to Egypt and its environs. It is very delicate and prone to diseases, if not properly taken care of. When grown under unfavorable conditions, it takes a lot of effort to keep them healthy.

You can tell if they are of high quality just from their appearances. High quality ones tend to have strong aromas and a bright body. When served cold, the quality of Arabica diminishes.

Cultivars Of Arabica Coffee

Cultivars are variant species that are as a result of human influence. There are two major cultivars of Arabica coffee. These are Typica and Bourbon.


This cultivar originated from Yemen, through India. It is tall, with bronze-tipped leaves. Its fruit and seeds are large. They are known to require intense care during cultivation, since they are prone to pets and diseases.

Also, they have low productivity, a factor that makes it less cultivated all over the globe. It has a striking similarity with the Java coffee we have today. In fact, it was spread in the 1700’s from Java Island.


This is more popular than Typica. It is said to have naturally grown on Ile De Bourbon Island, located in the Indian Ocean, to the east of Madagascar, to be specific.

They come in either red or yellow colors, and have broader leaves and bigger fruits than those of Typica.


There are uncountable hybrids of Arabica coffee in the world. The most popular ones are: S795 (planted in Southeast Asia), Sl34 and Ruiru 11 (planted in Kenya), and Pacamera and Cauti (both grown in Latin America).


Robusta comes in second, after Arabica, in terms of popularity. Unlike its counterpart, it is extremely tolerant to harsh climatic conditions. It does well under hot environments, and does not require much rain.

This species contains double the amount of caffeine in Arabica beans, and is less aromatic. When grown, Robusta only takes six to eight months to mature. It is grown in West Africa, Brazil, South East Asia, and other places.


Most of these hybrids were bred from Arabica. These include: Arabusta (which is grown in Africa), Java, Castimor, Hybrido de Timor, and Sarchimor (bred from the Timor hybrid).


Arabica and Robusta are the two main species of coffee grown all over the world. Both of them are grown commercially, and possess three striking differences: taste, climatic conditions (under which they thrive in), and economic differences.