For coffee lovers, there is just one bean that will do – Arabica. It is the finest quality coffee bean and the only one we use at JayandCo.
Descended from the original coffee trees discovered in Ethiopia, Coffea Arabica varieties include Bourbon, Typica, Caturra, Tico, Jamaica Blue Mountain and Mundo Novo.
Arabica – The Height of Quality
Arabica beans make up at least 60 per cent of the world’s coffee production. The taste, acidity, aroma, body and flavour is a result of where and how it is grown. The biggest Arabica bean producer is Brazil, followed by Colombia.
The Journey of the Arabica Bean
Grown at a higher altitude, Arabica beans can be labour-intensive to produce. Plants start life on slopes at altitudes between 2,000 ft and 6,000 ft (610m to 1,830m) depending on the plant’s proximity to the equator. It can take three to five years to bear fruit and there is typically only one harvest per year. In Colombia, however, there is usually two a year – yielding a main crop and a secondary crop.
The terrain tends to be steep and difficult to access for farmworkers. and usually means the beans have to be gathered by hand. As a result, this can make for a more difficult harvest. This causes Arabica beans to be more expensive than the Robusta bean, which can be harvested using industrialised techniques.
The most important factor for Arabica bean growth is climate. It loves mild temperatures between 15C to 24C (59F to 75F) and appreciates rainfall of around 60 inches a year. The trees are pretty robust but a heavy frost will kill them.
Selecting the Very Best Coffee
Cherries By Hand
As already mentioned, the Arabica is usually grown on steep slopes and primarily picked by hand. This is a labour-intensive and challenging task. Where farmers can mechanise, they do. A rotation schedule allows workers to revisit trees every 8 to 10 days until the time is right to pick. Only the ripe cherries are harvested using this ‘selectively picked’ method.
Rather than the more common dry method, the beans are processed using the wet method. After processing, they are milled, before being exported to coffee traders. It is then time for testing and tasting. The Taster, or Cupper, ensures the beans are of high enough quality for roasting. Finally, the coffee is ground and is ready to be brewed.
Selecting Your Arabica Coffee
Luckily, you do not have to go to the effort of handpicking coffee cherries on mountain slopes. We and our suppliers have done the hard work for you! Explore our range of coffees and see what flavour profile appeals to you.