Typica coffee isn’t your typical cup of Joe. Although it’s a sub-group of the widely popular Arabica bean, Typica is a particularly tough type to cultivate due to its high susceptibility to pests and disease. Thus, Typica beans are usually marketed as a premium coffee for a more expensive price. Let’s learn more about this variety of coffee.
What Are the Three Main Types of Coffee?
Coffee is the most consumed hot beverage in the world with over 120 different species of beans. However, categorizing coffee is fairly simple. There are three major types of beans: Arabica, Robusta, and Liberica. Not too long ago Excelsa was consolidated into the Liberica category, but some sources still list them separately.
Arabica is the most common coffee bean that’s brewed in North America. Typica is a subgroup of the Arabica coffee bean. It accounts for around 60% of the global coffee production. Younger generations in particular favor Arabica over Robusta, its runner-up, in terms of quantity, because Arabica tends to yield a milder, less acidic flavor than biting Robusta. Even so, Robusta beans still account for around 30% of the world’s coffee production. The higher amount of caffeine makes this variety more resistant to disease, so it’s a much cheaper choice. However, some would argue that the lesser price comes at the cost of decreased quality.
In the 1800s a disease called coffee rust almost wiped out the Arabica population worldwide. Liberica coffee was thought to be more resistant, so it was rapidly cultivated in the Philippines to try to save the coffee market. Although it’s been replaced again by Arabica varieties in other parts of the world, Liberica is still grown in high volumes in the Philippines and Malaysia, where it plays a big role in the coffee culture. Out of the three main categories, Liberica is the rarest with the least amount of caffeine, and reportedly tastes the sweetest.
Common Types of Typica Coffee
Typica is a broad category of Arabica coffee that includes many varieties, including the prestigious Blue Mountain coffee from Jamaica. Other types of Typica coffee include:
- Pache Commun
- Pluma Hidalgo
- San Ramon
- Sao Bernando
Typica coffee is grown worldwide as a whole, but these specific types of coffee often flourish in one particular place. For example, Sumatra coffee is grown in West Central Indonesia. Different species of coffee are grown in most subtropical climates around the globe, but most people believe all coffee originated from Ethiopia, a country that’s still an important coffee producer today.
Advantages of Typica Coffee
All Arabica coffee is known to contain “notes” of different flavors that depend on the variety and roast. Typica coffees such as Blue Mountain are considered specialty beans with a sweeter, softer taste than some of their other Arabica relatives, and it’s definitely milder than the rowdy Robusta bean. Some people prefer the taste and are willing to pay a higher price.
Disadvantages of Typica Coffee
Typica coffee costs more than some other types of Arabica beans and all Robusta species. It’s a delicate type of bean that typically yields a scanty crop due to all of its naturally inherent dangers. For example, most Arabica beans need to grow in a subtropical climate with cool rains and at a high altitude ranging between 2,000-6,500 feet.
These beans also need a complex mixture of just enough sun, shade, and rain to be successful. Typica coffee is even more dependent on these variables and the crops will suffer if these needs aren’t met. Since Typica coffee already yields a smaller harvest, these factors can devastate a crop.
Additionally, Typica coffee is extra sensitive to coffee rust, coffee berry disease (cbd), and nematodes. The coffee plants themselves are taller and more spread out than other varieties, which also contribute to smaller harvests since you can’t plant as many of them in the same field as smaller types.
Where to Find Typica Coffee
Although you can find Arabica coffee in every grocery store, you might have to search a little harder for Typica. Knowing the subgroups of Typica coffee can make your hunt a little easier. Look for Sumatra, Blue Mountain, Kona, and other names on the list, especially in specialty coffee shops and places that sell gourmet food. Additionally, marketing terms such as “shade grown” and “high altitude” may include Typica coffee. However, since these are somewhat vague terms, they don’t necessarily indicate that you’ve found an authentic, premium batch.
Arabica is definitely America’s favorite type of coffee. Some popular coffee chains such as Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts solely sell Arabica, although they sell many different types under this broad category. Typica coffee is a specialty group of Arabica coffee beans that includes Blue Mountain and Kona coffees, along with many other creme-da-la-creme coffees that sell for a higher price than Robusta or other Arabica types.
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