Coffea Arabica is a flowering plant from the Rubiacaea family. Its fruit contain seeds which when split in half, can be referred to as coffee beans. Its origins begin in approximately1000 BC in Ethiopia, where the beans were consumed as a stimulant. When the beans were transported to Yemen and Arabia in the 7th century, its name was established as Árabica’by scholars. By the 15th century, coffee was widely consumed across Arabia and engrained in their culture. It was then smuggled to India, before it was consequently shared with the rest of the world.
There are a huge amount of Arabica varietals that have been developed over the years. Varietals can develop through natural mutation, or by cross breeding different plants. We currently use the following:
- Caturra: A natural mutation of Bourbon, good yield, average sized bean
- Catuai: The love child of Mundo Novo and Caturra, good yeild, average sized bean
- Bourbon: French missionaries originally cultivated it on Bourbon island, medium yied, average sized bean
- Mundo Novo: The love child of Bourbon and Typica, high yeild, average sized bean
- Castillo: Named after researcher Jamie Castillo, high yield, small sized bean
- Typica: A foundational varietal originating in Ethiopia, low yied, large sized bean
Arabica’s taste can be considered more mild than Robusta, who hosts sweeter notes. The higher amount of lipids in Arabica, influences the amount of sugar in the berry and the resulting sweetness of the bean. The Brazilian and Indonesia Arabica beans in our Bancroft have apple and pear notes whilst the Tanzanian Arabica in or Tarrazu has notes of brown sugar and cacao.
When we roast the Arabica beans our aim is to isolate specific flavours. For richer flavours of chocolate, nuts and molasses we will roast darker and for fruit and berry flavours we will roast on the medium part of the roast spectrum.