Who can’t relate to waking up in the morning, stumbling bleary-eyed to the kitchen, brewing up a cup of single origin coffee using your favorite method… then, waking up while sipping your invigorating brew.

“Why, yes, I could start my day without coffee. But I like being able to remember things like how to say words and put on pants.”  – Nanea Hoffman

If you’re like us, this is the moment you close your eyes and savor the warm rich flavors of your favorite beverage.

And maybe even start to ponder how THIS coffee tastes different than the one you had at that coffee shop near you last week.

You know a little bit about coffee beans – you know that your coffee beans are 100% Arabica, you know which roast level you prefer. But, did you know coffee can vary in many more unexpected ways? Every small difference adds up to create a synergy of flavor. The result? A unique taste, especially if its a single origin coffee you’re sipping on.

Size_Comparison_Racemosa_Bean_Liberica_Bean_Arabica_Bean_The_StSize Comparison Racemosa Bean Liberica Bean Arabica Bean - The Story of Coffeeory_of_Coffee

When beans are not really beans

Coffee plants are grown primarily in an area around the equator known as the Coffee Bean Belt. Different bean types and growing regions result in vastly different flavor profiles.

To start off, what is a coffee bean?

Well, it’s not actually a bean, even though it looks like one. A coffee “bean” is actually the seed of the coffea plant.This seed forms a pit inside the fruit that is often referred to as the cherry.

Bean types

Did you know there are more than a hundred different types of coffee-bean producing plants?

Yet, only four types of coffee beans are widely consumed; Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsa. Each one can express different taste characteristics that contribute to a unique coffee experience.


Arabica coffee is the most common type of coffee grown and consumed (almost 60% of all coffee beans marketed worldwide).

If you’re someone who makes a lot of coffee at home, you probably have some Arabica beans in your pantry right now! Arabica coffee beans are massively flavourful. They contain less caffeine than the other types of beans. Coffee made with Arabica beans usually has a full body with low acidity. This popular bean type is considered the best choice for making hot coffee.


Robusta coffee beans have fewer oils than Arabica beans. They exhibit less sweetness and a bit more sharpness.

Since they’re cheaper to produce, they end up in most instant coffee where price is the prime factor.

Often this type of coffee bean has hints of chocolate that pair well with drinks like lattes and cappuccinos. Coffee from Robusta beans is usually prepared with cream and sugar, since the coffees natural sharpness is mellowed by their addition.


Liberica coffee produces an asymmetrical coffee bean. These beans have a novel taste, with notes that can range from floral and fruity, to woody and even slightly smokey. Many retailers will mix Arabica or Robusta beans with Liberica beans to bring out exciting flavors profiles not possible with any single origin coffee bean type.


Ah Excelsa! The rarest of four main coffee bean types… only 7% of the world’s coffee is made from Excelsa beans. These beans only grow in Southeast Asia and are generally tart and fruity. Coffee enthusiasts describe these mysterious beans as expressing elements of both dark and light roasts within one single coffee.

Single origin coffees

Coffee seeds - photo by goiwara - the story of coffee

So, different types of beans express various flavors, but the type of bean isn’t the only factor that affects flavor. The region, soil conditions, weather, even the specific elevation the coffee plant is grown at, all contribute to creating vastly different coffee bean varieties.

Our top 5 single origin coffee bean varieties to try!

For the true coffee aficionado, it’s a taste adventure finding that next new coffee variety to try.

Different varieties can exhibit many different flavor profiles and notes. Chocolate, malt, nuts, berries, citrus, florals, brown sugar, or even tea notes are a few.

Grown in the world’s most exotic regions, our top 5 recommended single origin coffees feature complex flavor notes that will surprise even the most discerning coffee fans.

Kona Coffee

The rich volcanic soils of Kona in the Hawaiian Islands produce a very special coffee variety. Getting its name from the region its grown, Kona coffee beans only grow on the slopes of two specific locations on Hawaii’s Big Island: the Hualalai and the Mauna Loa volcanoes.

Historic coffee mill - Kona Coffee Living History Farm - The Story of Coffee

Historic Hawaiian Coffee Mill – Kona Coffee Living History Farm

This celebrated coffee is cultivated in porous, mineral-rich volcanic soil. The flavors are brought out by sunny mornings and rainy afternoons. Kona coffees grow at an altitude of 800-2500 feet, which gives the beans a smooth and sweet, mild flavor, a medium body and low acidity. Making a cup of Kona easily approachable for novice coffee drinkers.

For those who want the “aloha!” coffee experience, we recommend 100% Kona coffee beans from Koa Coffee. It’s 100% worth the splurge.

Ethiopian Harrar

Ethiopian Region Map with Capitals and Flags showing Harrar Coffee Growing Area - The Story of Coffee

This illustrious coffee grows on small farms in the Oromia region of southern Ethiopia. It generally grows between 1400-2000m of elevation and is harvested between October and February. The fact that they’re sun-dried, helps the beans maintain an earthy, complex fruitiness, similar to a dry red wine.

Ethiopian Harrar beans are heavy-bodied, spicy and fragrant. They contain notes of berry, often emitting a delicious blackberry scent, mixed with notes of cinnamon and cardamom, and can even taste almost smoky. Fans of Ethiopian Harrar choose these beans for a bold, edgy, and complex cup of Joe.

Tanzania Peaberry

Peaberries are a remarkable variety of coffee cherry that contains one seed, instead of two. It’s believed that the single seed contains extra flavor, and its round shape guarantees a more even roast.

These beans are great for medium roast coffees, with notes of chocolate, florals, and dark fruits like blackcurrant. They often have high acidity, but with a soft and lingering sweet finish.

Wondering how to enjoy Tanzania Peaberry coffee at home? This variety is great hot or iced, and because of their fruity notes, they pair really well with fresh fruit. The tartness of the bean goes beautifully with tropical fruits, such as pineapple or passionfruit.

Colombia Supremo

Colombia, situated right in the heart of earth’s coffee bean belt, is known around the world for its excellent coffees!

Colombian Supremo beans grow in volcanic soil, high in the Andes Mountains. This “shade-grown” coffee bean is known for its larger size as compared to the tiny Peaberry.

Colombia Supremo beans are always grown organically, which helps them deliver a coffee with a rich, full body and smooth finish. They often taste sweet, with hints of chocolate, fruit and caramel.

Though there are many Colombian roasts to be found at your local grocery store, the Supremo beans offer a highly desired taste profile. If you’re a fan of smooth dark roasts, with an incredible finish,  you’ll love enjoying a taste of Colombia Supremo coffee!

Jamaica Blue Mountain

Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee beans, grown in… you guessed it! The Blue Mountain region of Jamaica.

These coffee beans are shipped to processing facilities around the Blue Mountains, where they are water-tested in specially-built tanks to ensure the quality and freshness of the beans.

Barrels of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Beans - The Story of Coffee

Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Beans

The beans are exported in exclusively-designed barrels, each branded with the qualifying JBM Certificate of Origin. Insuring a delivery of fresh dried green coffee beans for their roasting destinations all around the world.

JBM coffee is sweet-toned and exhibits floral notes with a butterscotch-like taste. With its deliciously smooth mouthfeel, and a long, clean finish, Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is a must-try for every aspiring coffee buff!

Coffee world tour

With so many coffee bean varieties,  and so little time, what’s a coffee lover to do?

Why not try a coffee subscription service?

You can have freshly roasted coffee beans from all over the world, shipped right to your door every month. They’re individually selected based on answers of a coffee preference quiz you’ll take when signing up.

We recommend trying Bean Box. With their current 30% off Subscription Boxes sale, you can try all kinds of coffee bean varieties and different roasts that will help you develop your tastes and find your new morning bliss!


We’d love to know about your favorite roast or single origin coffee. Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author

Jonnie Coffee

Hi, I'm Jonnie Coffee. As a researcher and artist with a massive passion for all things related to coffee, I started this blog as a "digital homage" to my favorite beverage. Feel free to contact me if you have any comments, questions, suggestions, or even, just for some coffee talk.

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