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Calling All Coffee Lovers: Here Are 4 Specialty Coffee Beans to Try

If you’re a certified coffee lover who can’t function without your daily dose, it probably feels like you’ve already tried every variety out there. However, there are always new options to explore, and the difference lies not in how the coffee is prepared but in the type of coffee beans being used. So whether you’re an avid coffee drinker looking for something aside from your usual order or if you’re simply craving for a new drink for the rainy season, here are four specialty coffee beans to try. 

Yunnan Arabica 

Photo of Yunnan coffee beans from Everyday Coffee Roasters

China is prominently known for its tea-drinking culture, which is why it isn’t the first country you’d think of when it comes to coffee. But coffee has been around in China ever since French Missionary Father Alfred Lietard planted Arabica beans in the city of Binchuan in the 19th century. 

The Yunnan government saw the potential in the burgeoning coffee industry and partnered with Nestle in 1988 to further develop it. Presently, Yunnan produces 95% of the coffee in China, exporting it globally and even partnering with coffee industry giants like Starbucks and Nescafe.

Yunnan’s low temperature and high altitude climate lends a sweet and fruity flavor to the Arabica beans, which sets it apart from the rich bitterness of other coffee beans.

Kapeng Barako

Photo of Kapeng Barako beans from Coffee Smiley

Coffee Liberica, locally known as Kapeng Barako, is the rarest species of coffee in the world. It originated from Western and central Africa and was believed to have been brought to the Philippines by Spanish Friars. It is now widely cultivated in Batangas, Bulacan, and Cavite.

“Barako” is derived from the Spanish word “varraco” which  translates to “wild boar.” This is why Barako coffee is associated with masculinity in Filipino culture.

As its name suggests, Kapeng Barako has a bitter and slightly smoky flavor, with chocolate undertones. It is typically taken plain, but some may find the flavor too overpowering, so it’s also mixed with other coffee blends to give it a more robust flavor.

Kopi Luwak 

Photo of a Civet Cat from CGTN

Kopi Luwak is known as the most expensive coffee in the world. It is mainly produced in Indonesia, although it has also become increasingly common in the Philippines and Vietnam. It is technically not a type of coffee bean but a method of production, and it is made through the feces of a civet cat. Yes, you read that right.

Civet cats are small, racoon-like mammals that naturally consume Arabica coffee beans as part of its diet. The enzymes in the civet cat’s digestive tract ferments the beans and alters its flavor, making it richer and sweeter. The civet cats will defecate and the  partially digested beans, which are then collected and subject to a thorough cleaning process before they are roasted like regular coffee beans.

It’s important to note that some producers have come under fire for capturing civet cats from the wild and force feeding them coffee beans in order to increase the production, so before trying out civet coffee, be sure to look into the company’s background to know if their beans are ethically produced. 

Geisha Coffee

Photo of Geisha coffee from Coffee Affection

Geisha coffee originated from Gesha, Ethiopia, and was widely exported to Central America. It made its way to Panama, when an owner of a coffee farm, Daniel Peterson, noticed that the Geisha coffee was resistant to rust infections, and began planting it in abundance at a higher altitude, giving it smaller leaves, thinner roots, and a more complex flavor compared to its counterpart in Ethiopia. Although it originated from a region called Gesha, the letter i was later added to its name due to either mispelling or a deliberate attempt to make it sound more exotic.

The flavor profile of Geisha coffee vaguely resembles tea. It’s highly aromatic and contains hints of jasmine, mango, orange, and papaya. It is also described as having an aftertaste of bergamot.

Which one do you want to try?

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