What Is Liberica Coffee? (Guide To The Rarest Type Of Beans)

Last Updated on October 18, 2021 by John Moretti

Everyone who enjoys coffee is familiar with the name Arabica. Most of the coffee consumed internationally is Arabica coffee. The next common type is Robusta, but if you are lucky enough, you may have encountered the rarest commercial coffee: Liberica. If you have, you may be wondering what Liberica coffee is.

Liberica coffee is a species of coffee bean that originates from North-West Africa. Liberica accounts for less than 1% of international coffee production and consumption. Liberica coffee tastes very sweet with flavors of citrus, bitter chocolate and has very low acidity. 

Liberica coffee is one of the lesser-known species of coffee, as it is dwarfed by the giants that are Arabica and Robusta coffee beans. However, those who have experienced this rare coffee have been delightfully surprised by it. Let’s explore Liberica coffee a little deeper.

Liberica Coffee: An Overview

Liberica coffee beans are grown on the Coffea Liberica tree. These beans begin as Coffea Liberica cherries and are then harvested and roasted into what we know as Liberica coffee beans.

Liberica coffee originated in West Africa, but it found its way to Southern Asia, where it is predominantly grown today. There are some African farms that still produce Liberica, but the majority of the world’s Liberica comes from Southern Asia.

Liberica coffee Accounts for less than 1% of the world’s coffee production and consumption. This is a very small percentage, but it is still the third most consumed coffee internationally after Arabica and Robusta coffee, respectively.

liberica coffee beans

The Coffea Liberica tree is significantly larger and more robust than the Coffea Arabica tree, and the cherries that it produces are larger, and the leaves of this tree are significantly larger than the Arabica tree. This means that the tree that produces Liberica coffee is very tough and hardy compared to its Arabica relative.

Liberica coffee is said to be very strange tasting, and low-quality Liberica is known for a very tough, harsh, woody, and earthy taste that is not very appealing at all. Compared to Arabica, low-quality Liberica has nowhere close to the appeal or drinkability.

However, in recent years, the coffee community in Southern Asia has turned its attention to Liberica coffee and endeavored to redeem this coffee bean.

There are now several specialty Liberica coffee farms and roasteries that specialize in producing very high-quality Liberica coffee beans.

These high-quality, specialty-grade Liberica coffee beans are said to be quite excellent, with unique and string flavor profiles that are very pleasing to drink.

What Does Liberica Coffee Taste Like?

If you are searching for the flavor profiles of Liberica coffee, you are going to have a challenging experience. There are several conflicting reports regarding the flavor profiles of Liberica coffee, some good and some bad.

The truth is, low-quality Liberica coffee beans taste very harsh and woody when brewed. These beans have a strong earthy flavor that is very hard to drink and enjoy. However, High-quality Liberica beans that are prepared and roasted well can be excellent.

High-quality Liberica coffee beans taste sweet, strong, fruity, and unique when prepared and roasted well. These beans offer a unique drinking experience that Arabica and Robusta beans cannot compare to.

Liberica coffee is not bad coffee, but it is far more difficult to grow well, to prepare well, and to roast well compared to the high-quality Arabica beans that many of us are used to.

The stand-out flavor of high-quality Liberica coffee is sweetness. These beans are far sweeter than Arabica beans, and they have almost no acidic qualities whatsoever.

The low acidity allows the other natural flavors of the coffee to shine through. The flavors include citrus fruits such as lemon, bitter dark chocolate flavor tones, and some even report more unusual flavors such as Jackfruit and Chorizo, surprisingly.

At the end of it, to experience good-tasting Liberica coffee, one must endeavor to find the best quality Liberica beans that have been treated exceedingly well in the preparation and roasting processes.

How Does Liberica Coffee Compare To Arabica?

arabica vs liberica

Arabica coffee accounts for the large majority of the world’s coffee production and consumption. Arabica coffee beans account for more than 75% of international coffee production and consumption. This is significantly more than the 1% that Liberica coffee accounts for, so how do these coffee types compare?

Arabica coffee is the coffee that we all know and love. This type of coffee is what most people are used to drinking. It is rich, strong, easy to drink, with varying flavors that range from dark chocolates to light berries. 

Arabica beans account for such a large percentage of the world’s coffee simply because this coffee is the best-tasting coffee that we have internationally. Many people have tried the other species of drinking coffee, and it is confirmed that nothing beats Arabica.

With that being said, why is there such a strong push in the coffee community to refine Liberica coffee? How does it compare to Arabica?

Liberica coffee is not as good as Arabica coffee simply because it is less consistent, and it is very different in taste and drinking experience to the Arabica that the whole world knows so well. 

However, high-quality Liberica coffee is something special. This coffee is entirely unique, and when it is produced well, it is a strong competitor to Arabica coffee.

Liberica coffee is high quality and well-made compared well to Arabica. This coffee is strong, bold, and complex, with varying flavors. It is by no means similar to Arabica, but if you treat it as the unique coffee that it is, it is truly excellent.

The trouble is, Liberica coffee trees yield a significantly lower crop than Arabica, they take significantly longer to grow, and the trees are much more difficult to cultivate. For these reasons, it is very unlikely that Liberica coffee will match the international production levels of Arabica any time soon. 

What Is Liberica Coffee Good For?

Liberica coffee is not the best option for drinks such as espresso, as this will highlight the intensity of the coffee and bring out some of the harsh flavors. By extension, this means that Liberica is not ideal for espresso-based drinks such as cappuccinos.

However, the unique flavors of Liberica lend themselves to manual brewing methods such as French press and pour-over brewing methods. 

This coffee is best enjoyed black and sipped slowly to experience all of the complex flavors present in this unique type of coffee.

The Bottom Line

Liberica coffee is unlike any coffee that most of the world is used to. This coffee is considered to be strange by some, but if made well and brewed well, this coffee can truly shine as something special.

Liberica coffee is strong and bold with unique flavors. 

If you are seeking to try this coffee for yourself, take the time to find the best quality and most well-prepared Liberica coffee that you can. This will provide the best possible experience when drinking Liberica coffee.