Arabica Coffee
Coffee cherries split

Arabica Coffee

Arabica Coffee is on the two most famous coffees that are used everywhere in the world, but what defines it?

It represents about 60% of the worldwide coffee production and is ideally grown in high grounds (over 1,000 meters) with a humid environment, as it needs important quantities of water to develop properly.

The beans are easily recognizable when compared to the Robusta coffee ones: they have an oval shape that is more elongated than the roundish one from the Robusta and present a fissure that is not as straight.

When it comes to the taste of the coffee itself, Arabica coffee usually has a more gentle taste, not too bitter and with important fragrances and aroma that stand out alongside the acidity.


Of course, all of this depends on the quality of  the coffee but not only,  as you will see in the following explanation, the harvesting and preparation methods play a very important role on the quality and tastes of the different blends.


Washed Arabica

This name is used to indicate the specific raw Arabica coffees that are prepared through the wet method, where water is used as the main vehicle in order to obtain coffee beans still wrapped in their parchment.

Placing them in tanks for the fermentation during a certain period of time, in which the residues of pulp and mucilage are softened in order to bring the specific coffee’s acidity that it is known for.
There are several factors that define the flavour and aroma of the coffee, such as altitude, the kind of terrain the beans are grown from or the time spent on the fermentation process.

Natural Arabica

The other way in which coffee beans are processed at the site of origin is the dry method that gives the Natural Arabica.

As the name suggests, this method consists in letting the cherries dry -either in the sun or in special driers – and then separate the beans from the pulp, clean them and hull them so that the final product is then ready to be bagged.

This specific kind of Arabica is produced mainly in Brazil, followed by other Central American countries such as El Salvador, Haiti or Honduras as well as Ethiopia in Africa, that all produce different varieties of the coffee offering characteristic fragrances and tastes.

Semi-washed Arabica

This method has not been used for decades until, in the 1990’s, a Brazilian manufacturer found a solution to the problem of floaters – unripe beans that were the original cause of this method fading away.

The solution came with a machine that would separate the ripe cherries from the unripe ones, allowing to process the coffee right after harvesting it.

The process for the unripe cherries started with drying them in their parchment after eliminating the pulp and mucilage, allowing the drying to take place without the fermentation and using a lot less water than the wet method.

Thanks to this technique – called descascado – the coffee is roasted in a uniform manner and produce a sweet and full-bodied cup.


Sources: Franco e Mauro Bazzara -La Degustazione del Caffè

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