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Liberica Coffee - Everything You Need to Know

Audrey Harrison
Home brewer

If you think that Arabica and Robusta are the only two coffee species, then you are wrong.

There are other species too.

Yes, you read it right!

No doubt that Arabica and Robusta are the leading coffee species popular in the world but there are other ones like Liberica too.

And today, I am going to discuss it with you.

In this article, I will share with you what is Liberica coffee, its origin, characteristics, and flavor.

Plus you will also learn how it is different from Arabica and robusta.

So let's dive in.

What is Liberica?

It is one of the four main coffee species produced all over the globe.

It is also termed as Coffea Liberica.

While Arabica and Robusta cover 90% of the world's coffee production, this one remains unique occupying just 2% but has a considerable following.

These beans generally grow in West and Central Africa, their trees are marked for their giant size which reaches to height of up to 66 feet!

The beans produced by them are large enough, irregular in shape, and have a unique flavor profile.

Farmer harvesting liberian coffee beans from coffee tree

Its origin and spread

It first came into the picture in the 18th century in the lush rainforests of West Africa.

It was discovered by French colonialists. They were amazed by this coffee species' potential.

It was soon introduced to Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines, where it thrived and was named as "Barako."

However, a fungal disease called Coffee Leaf Rust destroyed its plantations in the 20th century, which significantly impacted its global production.

Today, this coffee is considered a rare find majorly found in small farms in Southeast Asia and the Philippines.

Their characteristics

What makes this coffee stand out is its bean size, which is significantly larger than that of Arabica and Robusta.

The coffee trees themselves are also larger and more robust. It has broad leaves and cherries that differ in appearance from other coffee species.

Mostly, Liberian beans have irregular shapes and asymmetrical ridges which makes them unique.

Their taste profile

It is known for its bold and complex flavors, which differentiates it from that of Arabica and Robusta.

When it comes to taste profile, it has a full-bodied taste with hints of floral and fruity flavors.

This unique combination of flavors makes this coffee a choice among those who appreciate coffee with different flavors.

Then why it is less popular?

If you have read up to this then you must be wondering why despite having this goodness, Liberica is not so popular.

(Even I am sure that most coffee lovers haven’t even heard about it)

Despite its exceptional taste and unique characteristics, it is less popular globally.

Do you know the reason?

Let me tell you.

So the reason is simple. It's limited availability, as it is primarily cultivated only in specific regions and has a relatively small portion of total coffee production.

Also, it was put in the threatened species by IUCN in 2017. So you can guess how rare it is.

Also, its large bean size and distinctive flavor might not suit all coffee lovers which further narrows down its potential drinkers.

Liberica vs Arabica

While both are coffee species, they highly differ when it comes to flavor, appearance, and cultivation.

Arabica is known for its delicate flavor profile, mild acidity, and smooth texture. On the other hand, Liberica has a bolder and more robust taste, with larger beans and a distinctively different aroma.

Both of them have their unique appeal and serve people with different preferences.

Liberica vs Robusta

Both are different coffee species valued for their own set of characteristics.

Robusta is preferred for its high caffeine content, bold flavor, and strong, earthy aroma. On the other hand, Liberica offers a different taste experience, with its larger beans and a more subtle flavor profile that sets it apart from Robusta.

Barako: The Big Bean - A Book On Liberian Type

If you want to deep down on this coffee type, there is a valuable book for you.

It highlights its history, cultivation, and cultural significance mostly in the Philippines.

Through its engaging and insightful analysis, the book brings variety's unique qualities under the spotlight.

It was published in 2005 by Anvil Publishing. Coffee lovers who love to try and read more about coffee rate it as a good resource.

You can buy it from Amazon HERE.

Wrapping It Up

That's all for this article. Here I have got you covered with every detail about Liberica coffee.

So, if you are using only Arabica and Robusta beans and want to try something new, you can give these beans a try.


Audrey Harrison

Team TAB
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I am a coffee aficionado based in Seattle. I have devoted my passion and expertise to perfecting the art of home coffee brewing. I became known for my exquisite pour-over and espresso creations. I source coffee beans from local roasters and explores ...