A coffee plant species (Coffea Liberica) that is third in importance among commercially produced coffees behind Arabica (Coffea arabica including Bourbon coffee Heirloom varietal and Typica coffee) and Robusta (Coffea canephora var. robusta), but moreso than Excelsa.
Liberica coffee trees grow up to 18 meters tall and have large leaves with a leathery surface as well as large seeds (coffee beans).
The taller trees make harvesting the coffee cherries more difficult, as specialized equipment (machinery) is required, or workers must spend additional time setting up ladders to reach the higher beans.
The benefit of this, is that Liberica coffee trees have a deeper root system, which means they’re more robust and able to access water deeper than other varietals might. They can therefore be grown in harsher climates, and even soils that might not be viable for other trees (clay, peat).
Worldwide, Liberica makes up only about 1% of total coffee grown. It represents an important source of diversity, especially with concerns about climate change and the looming threat of Arabica’s long-term extinction.
While learning about the different coffee varietals can be fun and interesting, we recommend choosing your coffee based on personal taste preferences rather than arbitrary genetic distinctions.
Liberica coffee taste
It’s known to have a metallic, woody taste, and is generally a little bitter.
Recent efforts by groups in Malaysia and Germany have produced crops that are challenging this assumption, leading to promising results. A few crops have been produced that are actually sweeter than a typical Arabica.
Liberica Coffee Growing Regions
Grown primarily in West Africa and Malaysia (Borneo), Liberica is not as widely grown as Arabica coffee plants or Robusta coffee plants because of Liberica’s generally inferior flavor and aroma characteristics compared to those other coffee varieties.
Coffee and Espresso Brewing Regions
For definitions of espresso and coffee terms see the Espresso Coffee Guide’s Coffee and Espresso Glossary. To read about fine coffees of the world see gourmet coffee.