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Liberica Coffee: The Origins and Unique Flavor Profile

Liberica Coffee: The Origins and Unique Flavor Profile

Arabica or Robusta beans make up the vast majority of commercial coffee around the world. But do you know what the third most popular yet enigmatic type of bean is? That’s one of the lesser-known Liberica coffee bean varieties. And today, I’ll answer the question, “What are Liberica coffee beans?”

After Arabica and Robusta, Liberica coffee beans are the world’s third most common type of coffee bean.

The Coffea Liberica tree is used to grow Liberica coffee beans. These beans begin as Coffea Liberica cherries before being harvested and roasted into Liberica coffee beans.

Liberica coffee originated in West Africa, but it spread to Southern Asia, where it is now grown. Although some African farms continue to produce Liberica, the vast majority of the world’s Liberica comes from Southern Asia.

Liberica coffee accounts for less than 1% of total coffee production and consumption worldwide. This is a very small percentage, but it’s still the third most consumed coffee globally, after Arabica and Robusta.

Now, let’s dive further into how Liberica is different from robusta and what it tastes like, shall we?

What Is Liberica Coffee?

Coffee beans
Coffee beans

These beans are large and irregular in shape, and they have a fruity coffee aroma with a floral and woody flavor.

Liberica is grown primarily in West Africa (Liberia) and Asia because these coffee beans prefer these climates. Liberica is also known for having a complex and flavorful blend that’s unlike any other type of coffee.

The Coffea Liberica tree is significantly larger and more robust than the Coffea Arabica tree, and its cherries and leaves are significantly larger than those of the Arabica tree. This means that the tree that produces Liberica coffee is much tougher and more hardy than its Arabica cousin.

Is Liberica Coffee Rare?

Yes, Liberica is a rare and often unknown type of bean.

It’s an ‘heirloom’ species, which is a term commonly used in Western countries, or a ‘heritage variety’ in Australia.

Liberica has been on the verge of extinction several times, which is why supplies are limited and prices are high.

Some of the few countries that grow Liberica are:

  • Philippines
  • Malaysia
  • Indonesia

What Does Liberica Coffee Taste Like?

Cup of cafe latte with coffee beans and cinnamon sticks
Cup of cafe latte with coffee beans and cinnamon sticks

If you’re looking for the flavor profiles of Liberica coffee, you will have a difficult time. There are several contradictory reports about the flavor profiles of Liberica coffee, some positive and some negative.

When brewed, low-quality Liberica coffee beans taste very harsh and woody. These beans have an intense earthy flavor that is difficult to drink and enjoy. However, high-quality Liberica beans that have been properly prepared and roasted can be excellent.

When properly prepared and roasted, high-quality Liberica coffee beans taste sweet, strong, fruity, and distinct.

These beans provide a distinct drinking experience that Arabica and Robusta beans can not match.

Liberica coffee is not bad coffee, but it is far more difficult to grow, prepare, and roast than the high-quality Arabica beans that many of us are accustomed to.

The sweetness of high-quality Liberica coffee stands out. These beans are far sweeter than Arabica beans and have almost no acidic properties.

Here is more on Liberica coffee plants:

Liberica coffee plants: How are they different from Arabica and Robusta?

The low acidity allows the coffee’s other natural flavors to shine through. Citrus fruits like lemon, bitter dark chocolate flavor tones, and even more unusual flavors like Jackfruit and Chorizo have been reported.

How Much Caffeine Is In Liberica Coffee Beans?

When it comes to caffeine, Liberica has the lowest caffeine content of any coffee bean. Robusta has the most caffeine. Arabica comes in second:

Beans Caffeine content
Robusta2.26g per 100 g
Arabica1.61 g per 100 g
Liberica1.23 g per 100 g
Table of the caffeine content of different types of coffee beans

Is Liberica Good For Espresso?

Not really.

It’s not recommended for drinks like espresso because it highlights the intensity of the coffee and brings out some of the harsh flavors. As a result, Liberica is not suitable for espresso-based drinks such as cappuccinos.

The distinct flavors of Liberica, on the other hand, lend themselves to manual brewing methods such as French press and pour-over.

To fully appreciate all of the complex flavors present in this one-of-a-kind coffee, drink it black and slowly.

Is Liberica Better Than Robusta?

Robusta and Arabica coffee beans
Robusta and Arabica coffee beans

It all depends on personal preferences.

Robusta is the second most common coffee bean variety. Robusta gets its name from being more robust than Liberica plants, which allows it to grow in a wider range of environments. As a result, it is less susceptible to disease. Despite these benefits, it is less popular than Arabica because its flavors and aromas are not as appealing.

Robusta beans are known for having a darker, earthier flavor, and as a result, they are typically roasted darker to better match their natural character. Robusta beans contain nearly four times as much caffeine as Liberica beans.

Liberica coffee has a distinctive flavor that combines floral and fruity notes with a deep smokiness that some describe as woody. It has a full-body, similar to Robusta coffee. It’s not for everyone, but when done correctly, there are some exceptional Liberica coffees to be had.

Liberica trees grow much taller than Robusta trees, and their coffee beans are larger and more irregularly shaped. They prefer light shade and well-drained soils, but can also thrive in poorer soil than Arabica. Despite its origins in West Africa, the Coffea liberica plant is now primarily grown in Malaysia and the Philippines.

How Is Liberica Different From Arabica?

Flat lay dates with Arabian coffee
Flat lay dates with Arabian coffee

There are a lot of differences between Liberica and Arabica

Arabica coffee accounts for the vast majority of coffee production and consumption worldwide. Arabica coffee beans account for over 75% of global coffee production and consumption. This is significantly more than the 1% contribution of Liberica coffee. So how do these coffee types compare?

Arabica coffee is the coffee that we are all familiar with and enjoy. This is the type of coffee that most people are accustomed to drinking. It’s rich, strong, and easy to drink, with flavors ranging from dark chocolate to light berries.

Arabica beans account for such a large percentage of the world’s coffee because they are the best-tasting coffee available anywhere. Many people have tried other types of coffee, and it has been proven that nothing beats Arabica.

So, why is there such a strong push in the coffee community to refine Liberica coffee? How does it stack up against Arabica?

Liberica coffee is not as good as Arabica coffee because it’s less consistent, and it tastes and feels very different from the Arabica that the entire world is familiar with.

High-quality Liberica coffee, on the other hand, is something special. This coffee is unique, and when produced properly, it can compete with Arabica coffee.

In comparison to Arabica, Liberica coffee is of high quality and well-made. This coffee has a strong, bold, and complex flavor profile. It is not at all comparable to Arabica, but when treated as the unique coffee that it is, it is truly excellent.

The problem is that Liberica coffee trees produce significantly less than Arabica, take significantly longer to grow, and are much more difficult to cultivate. For these reasons, Liberica coffee is unlikely to match Arabica coffee’s international production levels anytime soon.

Are There Any Varietals Of Liberica Coffee?

Yes, because Liberica production is so limited, the varietals are limited and unknown to the larger coffee community.

Kapeng Barako, also known as Barako coffee in English, is the most popular Liberica varietal. The first Barako tree was planted in Brazil, but it now lives in the Philippines. It’s popular due to its strong flavor and pungent aroma. In addition to beverages, Barako is used as a body scrub in local spas.

Final Say

Liberica coffee is unlike any other coffee that the majority of the world is accustomed to. Some people think this coffee is strange, but if made and brewed properly, it can truly shine as something special.

Liberica coffee has distinct flavors and is strong and bold.

If you want to try this coffee for yourself, look for the best quality and most well-prepared Liberica coffee you can find. This will provide the best experience possible when drinking Liberica coffee.

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