Coffee lovers like us love getting nerdy about our favorite drink. The source of the coffee beans, the roasting process, and how they are brewed all significantly impact the flavor. The more you know, the more you appreciate the soothing cup of coffee in your hand.
When it comes to coffee beans, you probably see the words Arabica and Colombian floating around a lot. But which is better, and what's the difference anyway?
Did you know that Colombian coffee is actually a type of Arabica coffee?
Be ready to get your nerd on because here we will break down Arabica vs. Colombian coffee, the similarities, the differences, and which is the best for your morning cup.
All About Arabica Coffee Beans
Arabica coffee is a type of coffee that is brewed using the beans of the Coffee Arabica plant, which originated in the southwestern highlands of Ethiopia but is now grown in many different parts of the world, including Colombia and Brazil. There are four main types of coffee beans: Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsa.
Arabica coffee is the most popular coffee globally, believed to be the first type of coffee ever to be cultivated. It is so popular that it makes up over 60% of coffee production worldwide.
Arabica beans are so popular because the beans contain more sugar, less acidity, and moderate amounts of caffeine. This gives Arabica coffee a sweet flavor, with hints of caramel, chocolate, and nuts. While there may still be a slight bitterness, it is milder than other types of coffee.
When picked, Arabica coffee beans are green and have a long oval shape. They are generally picked by hand because they grow in the mountains and require a careful harvest before being dried, roasted, and ground. They are usually more expensive than other beans due to their high demand and precise cultivation process.
While it can be challenging to know what type of coffee you are getting from taste alone, Arabica coffee tends to have a smoother, sweeter taste than other types of coffee.
Of course, not all Arabica coffee beans are created equal, and the quality of the soil, the cultivating process, and how they are stored all affect the taste of your final brew.
All About Columbian Coffee Beans
Colombian coffee, as the name suggests, is grown in Colombia. Colombian coffee is grown using Arabica beans, and is treasured for its light, flowery taste that coffee lovers adore.
Often coffee blends are usually made with varying ratios of different coffee plants; however, Colombian coffee is 100% Arabica.
Colombia is the perfect place to grow Arabica coffee.
Its mountainous terrain, heavy rainfall, high-quality soil, and an optimum amount of sunlight mean that the Arabica beans that grow here have a rich, sweet taste.
Colombian coffee is also hand-picked, so only the perfectly ripened beans get harvested, dried, and ground to make your warming brew.
Colombian coffee is so popular because it is made with people's favorite beans in the perfect conditions for them to thrive.
That paired with its careful harvesting protest creates a caramel sweetness, mellow acidity, and nutty undertone that is hard to beat.
If you sense that your cup of coffee is particularly sweet and medium-bodied, then it could be Colombian coffee. It may also be lighter in color than other types of coffee, such as Robusta. This is because Columbian coffee tends to be a bit weaker.
Colombian coffee is often called "washed Arabica" due to the washing process that occurs just after cultivation. This washing process creates that vibrant aroma that is prized in Colombian beans. The wet processing used to "wash" Colombian coffee is a very specific technique. The fruit is removed from each individual coffee seed before the beans are dried. This process prevents the beans from spoiling in Colombia’s heat.
Colombian coffee can be prepared in many ways. It is usually used as an Expresso or Americano. Due to its incredible flavor, it can be enjoyed without the addition of milk. Whether you enjoy making your coffee in a filter, using an expresso machine, or a bean to cup coffee machine, you will find a Colombian coffee that rocks your kitchen.
Arabica Vs. Colombian: What's The Difference?
Colombian coffee is a variety of Arabica coffee. However, they are not interchangeable. While all Colombian coffee is Arabica coffee, not all Arabica coffee is Colombian.
Let's break down the differences.
The most significant difference is in the taste. Arabica coffee is smooth and sweet, with a hint of chocolate. Colombian coffee is also sweet and smooth, but it is also slightly fruity and has a cleaner, brighter taste.
Arabica coffee tends to have a high caffeine content, with around 70 milligrams in one expresso. However, Colombian coffee has a relatively low caffeine content compared to most Arabica coffee, with just 30-50 milligrams in one espresso serving.
While all Arabica coffee is low in acidy compared to other types of beans, Colombian coffee tends to have even less acidy than other forms of Arabica coffee, due to the washing process. So, while Colombian coffee can be more expensive, it's worth it for people with a sensitivity to coffee high in acidity.
One of the great things about coffee is its many health benefits. For example, it has been shown to improve focus, reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease, and is even linked to longevity.
Colombian coffee might be particularly healthy. It is processed under perfect environmental conditions and careful considerations. It also has lower acidity and caffeine content, making it perfect for regular use.
Cultivation Method & Climate
Arabica coffee likes mild climates. It likes temperatures between 15°C and 24°C, humidity, and shade. Generally, it is grown at 1,900+ feet (600+ meters) above sea level and takes seven years to mature.
A wild Arabica plant can grow to around 12 meters! However, when commercially grown, it is kept to around 2 meters so that it can be hand-picked with ease.
The beans, which are actually seeds, are found inside the berry and harvested when ripe. However, they ripen at different times, which is why they are usually hand-picked.
The biggest producers of Arabica coffee are Ethiopia and Brazil.
Colombian coffee is, as the name suggests, grown in Colombia. It thrives with at least 200 centimeters of rainfall per year and a mild climate. Colombia's tropical location, mountainous terrain, and high rainfall make it the perfect location.
It is grown up steep slopes, usually surrounded by banana plants, which provide much-needed shade in the hot sun. Colombian coffee beans are also picked by hand.
Arabica coffee is more expensive than other types due to its popularity and labor-intensive cultivation process. It sold for an average of $2.93 per kilogram in 2018, and it is projected to rise to around $3.71 per kilo by 2025.
When it comes to strains of Arabica coffee, Colombian coffee is one of the most expensive. It is extremely popular and can only be grown in one part of the world. Again it is picked by hand and at high elevation. In 2014, Colombia's most expensive coffee sold for $130 per pound (around $58 per kilo!)
Frequently Asked Coffee Bean Questions
Why is Colombian coffee weaker than regular coffee?
Arabica coffee, in general, has less caffeine than other types of coffee. In addition, Colombian coffee is usually wet-washed after it is picked. This is to prevent Colombian hot temperatures from causing the alcohol to develop. This wet wash keeps the beans tasting fresh and sweet and lowers the caffeine content. As a result, Colombian coffee tends to be weaker than other types of coffee.
Why is Colombian coffee so expensive?
Colombian coffee is expensive for several reasons. Like all Arabica coffee, it is labor-intensive and picked by hand. In addition, it must be picked precisely when the bean is ready, which also requires a level of expertise. Colombian coffee is also rising in price due to years of too much rainfall leading to a short supply, while demand remained high.
What are the four types of coffee?
The four main coffee types are Arabica, Robusta, Excelsa, and Liberica. All four of them have very different taste profiles. The most popular are Arabica and Robusta.
What coffee types are made with Arabica beans?
Arabica coffee makes up most gourmet coffees. The best known are Colombian Supremo, Jamaican Blue Mountain, Guatemalan Antigua, Tarrazú, Costa Rica, and Ethiopian Sidamo.
Arabica versus Colombian: Which coffee bean Is best?
All Arabica coffee is considered high-quality, and Colombian coffee, in particular, is prized for its smooth and fruity taste. However, coffee is highly personal, and there are countless different kinds of Arabica coffee from several regions of the world. Therefore, it is impossible to say which is better. The only way to really find out is to taste different kinds of coffee and find your favorite.
Arabica coffee is a type of bean that is grown in many areas of the world, including Brazil, Ethiopia, Colombia, and Guatemala. The Arabica plant is considered high-quality and tends to have a smoother and sweeter taste than other coffee types.
While mist coffee blends utilize more than one coffee plant, Colombian coffee is 100% Arabica, distinguished by the region of the world it is grown in. It also goes through a careful cultivation process where the beans are wet washed to keep them fresh; this lowers acidity and caffeine content and gives the beans a particularly smooth taste.
Colombia has the perfect climate for coffee, and this, paired with the careful picking ad cultivation process, makes it a premium coffee.
But which is better? – That's really up to you to decide.