Let’s compare the two main coffee varieties, Arabica (Coffee arabica) and Excelsa (Coffee liberica var. Dewevrei), in detail:
Origin and History:
Arabica (Coffee arabica): Arabica coffee originated in the highlands of Ethiopia and has a long history of cultivation, dating back centuries.
It is one of the most widely consumed and cultivated coffee species globally, known for its premium quality and diverse flavor profiles.
Excelsa (Coffee liberica var. Dewevrei): Excelsa is a variety of the Liberica coffee species and is primarily found in West and Central Africa.
It is less common and less widely known compared to Arabica and Robusta.
Arabica (Coffee arabica): Arabica coffee plants are relatively small, compact, and have oval-shaped leaves.
The cherries of Arabica are typically round and well-formed.
Excelsa (Coffee liberica var. Dewevrei): Excelsa, as a variety of Liberica, is known for its larger and more robust coffee plants.
It has elongated leaves and often produces asymmetrical cherries.
Arabica (Coffee arabica): Arabica coffee is celebrated for its complex and diverse flavor profile.
It offers a wide range of taste notes, including fruity, floral, nutty, and chocolaty flavors.
Arabica coffee is prized for its bright and vibrant acidity.
Excelsa (Coffee liberica var. Dewevrei): Excelsa, like other Liberica varieties, has a flavor profile that can be described as woody, smoky, and sometimes slightly astringent.
The flavor is bold and earthy, with a unique taste that distinguishes it from Arabica.
Excelsa is known for its tart, fruity, and wine-like notes, which set it apart from standard Liberica.
Arabica (Coffee arabica): Arabica coffee plants thrive at higher altitudes, typically between 2,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level.
They require cooler temperatures and consistent rainfall.
Arabica is grown in various regions around the world, including Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
Excelsa (Coffee liberica var. Dewevrei): Excelsa, like other Liberica varieties, prefers tropical regions with high humidity and ample rainfall.
It is generally grown at lower altitudes compared to Arabica, often in coastal areas or lowland regions.
Excelsa may exhibit regional variations in its growing conditions.
Popularity and Production:
Arabica (Coffee arabica): Arabica coffee accounts for the majority of the world’s coffee production, around 60-70%.
It is highly sought after for its superior flavor, which often commands higher prices in the market.
Excelsa (Coffee liberica var. Dewevrei): Excelsa represents a smaller portion of the coffee industry and is less well-known compared to Arabica and Robusta.
It is primarily cultivated in specific regions where it thrives, particularly in parts of West and Central Africa.
In summary, Arabica and Excelsa (a variety of Liberica) are two distinct coffee varieties with differences in flavor, plant characteristics, and growing conditions. Arabica is globally renowned for its rich flavor diversity and is the dominant coffee species, while Excelsa offers a unique taste experience within the broader category of Liberica coffees, characterized by bold and distinctive flavor profiles with tart, fruity notes.