Today, during a discussion on acidity I realized that I could compare the acidity of the two main species. It's common knowledge that Robusta beans are generally more acidic than Arabica beans. But, what about Liberica?

And maybe a follow up question: could we have a picture of general characteristics of Liberica?

  • Just learned something new. Didn't know there was Liberica kind. Is there additional than those 3 known?
    – Boris_yo
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 9:08
  • 2
    @Boris_yo Oh, yes. Here you can find the wikipedia page of Coffea genus. There are many Coffea species. Among them, we consume three of the species' seeds to prepare our famous drink named 'coffee'. These are, C. arabica, C. canephora (aka robusta) and C. liberica. Liberica is very rare. I never ever had chance to taste it. I'm willing to find some beans. :)
    – MTSan
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 12:16
  • I searched for Liberica on Amazon and I found several results: amazon.com/s/…
    – Boris_yo
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 14:56
  • @Boris_yo, I'm in Istanbul. Mostly shipping costs more than the item. :) However, next time I'll be in US, I may collect some. Or I can ask a visiting friend bring some. Thanks.
    – MTSan
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 21:29
  • 2
    Are you talking about pH acidity or perceived acidity? If perceived, I believe the assumption that Robusta has more acid would be incorrect. Typically Arabica has the more pronounced perceived acidity with Robusta tending to be more harsh and bitter due to the high CGA and Caffiene contents, both of which are very bitter in flavor. Again, if we are talking perceived acidity, I would hesitate to group this based on species since growing region, washing/drying methods and roast significantly affect a coffees perceived acidity. As for pH I can only make educated guesses.
    – Nate M.
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 21:58

3 Answers 3


Today I had a coffee tasting of Liberica on various roast levels. I can say that Liberica is totally different from Arabica and Robusta.

  • Arabica generally is bitter with a lack of after taste
  • Robusta is generally strong with and lack of after taste
  • Liberica is less bitter, but full of aftertaste (bitter, coco, sweet and a bit of berry taste)

I would say Robusta lover may not prefer Liberica, but if you found Arabica and Robusta is too bitter, you may love Liberica wich is full of aftertaste flavours if roasted right. A mid range Liberica is comparable to a high grade Arabica.
An Arabica or Robusta blend with Liberica would complete a full coffee flavour.

Liberica is rare because it was almost extinct due to coffee rust disease and it is very expensive due to scarcity.

  • I would't describe Arabica as bitter at all compared to Robusta, if anything it's acidic/sour. Also well roasted Arabica has a quite strong lingering aftertaste. I never drank Liberica so I can't compare it to it, but I tend to disagree with your description of Arabica. Also what do you mean with strong? I associate Robusta with bitter, which sometimes is described as strong.
    – avocado1
    Commented Jul 21, 2018 at 14:29

There are two common species of coffee bushes, Arabica is the gold standard and widely acclaimed as producing higher quality coffee beans and accounts for almost three quarters of coffee beans sold in the world. It's common to see many brands proclaim that they are 100% Arabica blends as a quality hallmark. The characteristic and appealing aroma of brewing coffee comes from Arabica beans.

And Robusta which has more caffeine and is traditionally valued in Italy for it's ability to increase crema. It's also sometimes used to increase the caffeine in an espresso blend. Robusta is generally considered to have an inferior flavour profile to Arabica and usually commands lower prices and is largely relegated to use in lower quality, mass market instant coffee.

Robusta is a heirloom bean that was on the verge of extinction only thirty years ago and remains unknown to much of the world. It has a completely different flavour profile. Robusta are huge coffee berries tending towards somewhat intense smokey, nutty and dark chocolate notes in the cup.

Arabica is rare in North America but is said to have a dedicated following in the Philippines, Indonesia & Malaysia where Liberica was planted by colonial Spaniards in the 1800's.

Think intense, complex, unusual and possibly overpowering to get an impression of how Liberica is likely to taste. Liberica has a caffeine content between that of Arabica and Robusta and likely a similar acidity profile. A niche bean that will not appeal to many although it has considerable boutique potential if roasters are able to find roasting profiles that bring specific, highly valued flavours into prominence.

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  • Dear @user5236, is this photo belong to Liberica? I couldn't see any reference in the text.
    – MTSan
    Commented Jun 6, 2018 at 15:10
  • In paragraphs 3 and 4, do you mean Liberica when you say Robusta and Arabica respectively?
    – Nick Udell
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 12:32
  • Yeah this answer is a mess, I think you are mixing up the different species on various occasions.
    – avocado1
    Commented Jun 13, 2018 at 14:54

I am a new member of stackExchange. I grow liberica in Malaysia. I have been helping farmers reviving abandoned liberica farms and working to improve the milling process and the subsequent roasting.

There is a growing size of followers of liberica. We are well on our way to get into the specialty league.

To the coffee experts acidity is very subjective. It depends on where the beans originate, the soil type, and the subsequent processing. AS for me, a non expert, based on reaction of my tummy, arabica is generally more acidic. I develop gastritis on drinking arabica but it stopped when i switched to liberica.

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