When shopping for coffee, you’ve probably noticed that some of the bags contain 100 percent Arabica beans while others are Columbian. While it’s great that this information is available, it doesn’t really do you any good unless you know what these terms mean.
When it comes to Arabica vs Colombian coffee, which one is better? How are they different?
Let’s take a closer look to see what distinguishes one of these types of coffees from the other.
Believe it or not, Arabica and Colombian beans are exactly the same. Colombian coffee is just Arabica coffee that’s grown in Colombia.
What’s different about them is the ground in which the coffee shrub grows in and the way they’re processed after they’re harvested.
To understand the differences between Arabian and Colombian coffee and why they’re both superior to other types, it helps to know a little bit more about coffee beans in general. There are two types of coffee beans, Arabica or Robusta.
Arabica is more popular, and the flavor is sweeter and milder than Robusta. Robusta is a lower-quality bean because it has a stronger, bitter taste. It also has nearly twice as much caffeine as Arabica.
This is why you will sometimes see blends of these two types that balance the flavor of the Arabica bean with the caffeine kick of the Robusta.
Yes, where the coffee is grown matters a lot. Coffee is grown in what is called the Coffee Belt, which falls between 30 degrees North and South of the equator.
In this region, you get volcanic soil, a moist or humid climate, warm weather, and adequate shade. All of these are reasons why Colombia is one of the best places in the world to grow coffee.
The elevation is also important. The ideal elevation for coffee is about ¾ to one mile above sea level. Many countries have this elevation, but they don’t have the right type of soil.
The other thing to consider when it comes to location is heat and sunlight. Coffee doesn’t do well in direct sunlight. In fact, most plants don’t because too much for too long can burn the leaves and shrivel the plant.
This is why coffee is often grown around other plants that are tall and can give the coffee plant enough shade to protect it from the harsh rays of the sun.
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Colombia beans are just Arabica beans grown in Colombia, but when it comes to Arabica vs Colombian coffee, there are some differences in processing. Colombian coffee has an additional step that changes the quality of the beans.
You might be wondering what kind of complicated process the beans are put through to make them true Colombian coffee, but believe it or not, the extra step is about as simple as you can get. Colombian beans are washed.
That’s it! That’s the only difference between Arabica vs Colombian coffee.
The coffee fruit resembles a cherry, and the beans are actually the pits inside the fruit. When making Colombian coffee, the fruit is picked and mashed, creating a gooey pulp.
This pulp is then washed over many days, using a lot of water. When the pulpy bits of fruit are gone, the beans are dried and roasted.
Traditionally, the fruits are left to dry in the sun and then the beans are removed when all of the moisture is gone. This gives a much more robust flavor than Colombian beans.
Because there is extra work involved in producing Colombian coffee, it’s usually more expensive. It takes more time, skill, and a lot of water to make. Global warming has had an impact on Colombia’s coffee industry, too.
With the temperature and moisture increasing, the beans aren’t growing as well as they once did, and coffee exports have been declining since around 2006.
If you’re looking for some great Arabica or Colombian coffee, here are some of the best varieties:
This dark roast Arabica coffee from Subtle Earth is USDA certified organic with a rich, chocolatey flavor. It’s low acidity and has a deep flavor with hints of cocoa, caramel, and honey and a clean finish and a sweet aftertaste.
Subtle Earth coffee is grown in Honduras in Central America. They don’t use any chemical fertilizers and use the fruits of the coffee bean as compost and fertilizer.
If you’re seeking something that goes with chilly nights and campfires, this s’mores flavored coffee from Bones Coffee Company is a great choice. It’s made of medium-roast Arabica beans infused with the flavors of toasted marshmallow, chocolate, and sweet graham crackers.
The coffee is roasted in small batches to ensure freshness and is dairy-free, vegan, and keto-friendly. They use beans sourced from Brazil then roasted and packed in the USA.
This is Mayorga’s signature blend, a dark roast with hints of vanilla and sweet smokiness. They use 100 percent organic Arabica beans sourced from farmers in Latin America.
The beans are all hand-roasted in small batches using a special slow-roasting process to draw out distinctive flavors and smooth finish.
Juan Valdez is a well-known name in the coffee business, and this certified organic whole bean Colombian coffee demonstrates why. This medium-roast has a mild acidity for a strong, smooth flavor that helps you start your day.
The beans are grown and hand-picked in Colombia using sustainable methods to protect the natural resources and support the biodiversity in the region.
So now you know the difference when it comes to Arabica vs Colombian coffee.
While some people consider Colombian coffee to be of higher quality, what really matters is the taste. If you like a deeper flavor, Arabica beans are likely a better choice; but, if you want something just a little less robust, Colombian beans are the winner.