The Economics of Coffee 1-4

Almost all I have written so far has either shades of politics or finance; however, economics are more vast than those just two subjects as they encompass everything from business choices to welfare systems. Yet, this time I want to start the first of four short commentaries that talk about my favorite drink in the world, coffee. (Beer comes second for anyone wondering)

You see, reading takes a lot from you and the best thing you can have when reading one of those big boring books is a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Sipping it gives me the strength to continue reading at least for an extra hour. Nonetheless, most people think that coffee is just an ordinary drink without truly knowing the dynamics that are behind it, or worse they swear that those sugar-infested beverages  from Starbucks are coffee. Sorry, but something that can have up to eighty-nine grams of sugar  will never be coffee by any real standards.

Returning to our topic at hand, there are four main species of coffee:

  • Coffea Arabica, or Arabica, is the most common coffee you can find in the world and it is sold as being the crown jewel of all other species due to its complex flavor profile. Nevertheless, it has the most acidic coffee bean of all four species, and is highly susceptible to diseases to the point that the coffee rust of 1890 destroyed 90% of all the arabica stock in the world.
  • Coffea Caniphora, or Robusta, is the second most common coffee you will ever find and it is the complete opposite to Arabica. Robusta coffee beans have 50% more caffeine than their Arabica counterparts, are low-acid, and are resistant to diseases, but their flavor is highly dependent on their quality as low quality ones taste like burnt rubber while their high quality ones taste like chocolate. By personal experience, you tend to find the low quality ones.
  • Coffea Liberica, or Liberica, tends to be found only in the Philippines and it gained popularity when it substituted Arabica after the coffee rust of 1890, but then it was almost obliterated when the USA blocked coffee exports from Philippines after the latter declared its independence from the former in 1946. Liberica coffee vines can easily grow in the wild, and their asymmetric beans are said to have the best aroma of all four species.
  • Coffea Excelsa, or Excelsa, was recently declared to be a variation of Liberica but this is quite a debate in the coffe community as it is known that both species have vines that can be significantly tall compared to the other two species; however, their coffee beans are quite different as Excelsa beans are not asymmetrical but rather teardrop-shaped. Its flavor profile is tart and fruity but lacks aroma.

Next commentary, we are going to be focusing on the demand of coffee.


Botanical varieties of coffee

A Definitive Guide to the 4 Main Types of Coffee Beans

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