Central American coffee is characterized by a classic clean flavor, a light to medium body and a good acidity balanced profile. Producing first class coffee is of great importance to the national economy.
There are three main varieties of beans, namely Arabica, the oldest cultivated coffee plant known for the best flavor, and Robusta and Liberica plants primarily used as commodity coffee found in most coffee blends.
Arabica is considered to have the best flavor with the lower amount of caffeine. Virtually all Arabica coffee is hand-picked, mainly due to the height of the plant. Arabica plants can grow up to 20 feet and human pickers can choose the ripest beans at the top.
Robusta is typically found in espresso blends. It is characterized for a high caffeine content. For a long time coffee growers throughout the world tried to replace Arabica with Robusta as the better coffee bean. Considering economic factors, Robusta is an ideal production and harvesting plant, but it cannot parallel the quality of the Arabica flavor. It is now well settled that the best coffee in the world comes from the Arabica beans.
Liberica coffee is grown predominantly in South East Asia. It is generally not found in the United States or Europe. Liberica became popular in the late 19th century due to its resistance to a coffee killing disease called leaf rust that was destroying fields of Arabica coffee plants. Eventually hardier, more-disease resistant Arabica varieties were produced and discovered resulting in the decrease of Liberica plantings. Liberica was never a serious competitor to Arabica or even Robusta plants.