Excelsa Coffee Beans: A Unique and Bold Flavor Profile

Written By : Steve

If you’re curious about specialty coffee, Excelsa coffee is a unique variety that stands out due to its distinct flavors and appearance. This coffee has fruity to smoky notes and a quirky shape, setting it apart from other types like Arabica and Robusta.

In this article, you’ll learn about the history and origins of Excelsa coffee, its botanical classification, and how it is cultivated. We will also dive into its flavor profile, health benefits, and the best ways to brew and roast this intriguing coffee. Finally, we’ll look at Excelsa’s place in the global market and future trends to watch.

Key Takeaways

  • Excelsa coffee beans have a unique fruity to smoky flavor profile.
  • Excelsa belongs to the Liberica family and was discovered in Africa.
  • The specialty coffee industry is increasingly recognizing Excelsa’s potential.

History and Origins

Excelsa in Southeast Asia

You may find Excelsa coffee beans throughout Southeast Asia, where they were initially found by a French explorer. The beans became popular among farmers due to their distinct taste and resilience against pests and diseases.

Nowadays, Excelsa coffee beans are grown in several regions including Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Laos, and Cambodia, extending also to places like India, Sri Lanka, and even Ethiopia.

Development in the Philippines

The Philippines has significantly contributed to the growth of Excelsa coffee beans. In the early 20th century, the government initiated efforts to enhance the nation’s coffee industry. This included introducing different coffee varieties, with Excelsa being a notable one. Filipino farmers appreciated Excelsa beans for their unique flavor and pest resistance. Today, the Philippines stands as one of the prominent producers of Excelsa coffee beans globally.

Botanical Classification

Excelsa and the Coffea Genus

Excelsa is part of the Coffea genus, which includes Coffea libericaCoffea dewevreiCoffea arabica, and Coffea robusta. Even though it falls under the Liberica species, Excelsa beans are unique due to their distinct characteristics. You will notice that these beans are typically smaller and more oblong compared to the larger Liberica beans.

While Excelsa is a part of the Liberica family, it is less widespread and less familiar compared to Arabica and Robusta varieties. This can affect its availability in the market.

Comparing with Arabica and Robusta

Arabica Coffee: Known for its delicate and complex flavors, Arabica beans are the most popular coffee species. They tend to be aromatic and offer a variety of taste notes, making them a favorite among connoisseurs. Arabica beans have lower caffeine content compared to Robusta.

Robusta Coffee: On the other hand, Robusta beans are recognized for their strong, bitter taste and higher caffeine content, which can give your coffee a more intense flavor. Robusta beans are also more acidic than other varieties.

Excelsa Coffee:

  • Flavor: Similar to Arabica but more fruity and tart, with hints of dark chocolate.
  • Aroma: Unique smell reminiscent of ripe fruit and flowers.
  • Caffeine and Acidity: Lower caffeine content and less acidic than Robusta, making it less bitter and easier on the stomach.

By exploring Excelsa, you get to experience a different side of the coffee world, especially if you are accustomed to Arabica or Robusta. Explore the unique characteristics of Excelsa coffee beans through these differences in flavor, aroma, and composition.

Cultivation Practices

Climate Needs

Excelsa coffee trees thrive in mountainous areas with high altitudes, generally between 1,000 and 1,600 meters above sea level. They require a tropical climate. The ideal temperature range for these trees is between 15 to 24 degrees Celsius. For proper growth, you’ll also need an average rainfall of 1,500 to 2,000 millimeters annually. Make sure the soil is well-drained and nutrient-rich, with a pH level between 5.0 and 6.0.

Harvesting Techniques

Excelsa coffee beans are typically handpicked, allowing for the selection of only the ripest cherries. This careful picking process ensures the beans are of high quality and maintain a consistent flavor.

After picking, the cherries go through sorting and processing to remove the pulp and mucilage. There are two main methods for processing: wet and dry.

In the wet method, you pulp the cherries and then soak them in water to ferment for up to 48 hours. Afterward, you wash the beans and dry them in the sun or with mechanical dryers.

In the dry method, you lay the cherries out in the sun to dry for several weeks. Once dried, the beans are removed from the cherries and sorted by size and quality.

Proper cultivation and harvesting techniques are key to producing high-quality Excelsa coffee beans. Ensuring optimal climate conditions and careful bean selection can result in a unique and sought-after flavor profile for Excelsa coffee.

Flavor Profile and Characteristics

Aroma and Taste Notes

Excelsa coffee beans present an intriguing and rich aroma. When you smell freshly ground beans, you may notice a blend of fruity and tart aromas. This includes hints of dark berries and citrus. The taste is equally unique, with sweet fruity notes and a tart finish. You might detect flavors resembling dark berries and citrus fruits. There’s a subtle acidity that adds brightness to each sip, making it a complex and enjoyable experience.

Body and Acidity

The body of Excelsa coffee beans is rich and full. When you drink it, you might notice a smooth and creamy texture that feels satisfying. Despite its full body, the coffee maintains a subtle, well-balanced acidity. This mild acidity compliments the other flavors, adding a touch of brightness without being too overpowering. The result is a coffee profile that is both rich in flavor and pleasant to drink.

Health and Nutritional Benefits

Caffeine Levels

Excelsa Coffee Beans have an interesting caffeine profile. The caffeine content ranges between 1.2% and 1.6%, which is between that of Arabica and Robusta beans. A standard 8oz cup of Excelsa coffee contains about 100-140mg of caffeine. This makes it a good choice if you want a balanced coffee experience that isn’t too strong or too weak.

Antioxidants and Essential Minerals

Excelsa Coffee Beans are packed with antioxidants and important minerals. Antioxidants found in these beans, such as chlorogenic acid and quinic acid, help protect your body from harm by combating free radicals. These compounds can also help in reducing the risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

These beans also have crucial minerals like potassium and magnesium. Potassium is important for regulating blood pressure and ensuring your muscles and nerves work properly. Magnesium contributes to energy production, muscle and nerve function, and bone health. Including Excelsa coffee in your diet can provide these beneficial nutrients, adding to its appeal.

Brewing and Roasting Techniques

Best Roast Levels

To unlock the full potential of Excelsa coffee beans, roasting them to a medium or medium-dark level is optimal. This range brings out the beans’ unique fruity and tart notes. Be mindful of roasting time and temperature, as they can vary based on your roasting method and personal preference.

Methods for Best Flavor

There are several ways to brew Excelsa coffee beans, each offering a distinct flavor profile. Here are some popular methods:

French Press: This method yields a full-bodied, rich cup. The immersion process allows all flavors to meld together beautifully.

Pour-Over: Ideal for those seeking a more delicate and nuanced flavor. The slow pouring technique ensures even extraction and clarity in your cup.

Cold Brew: Steeping the beans in cold water for an extended period creates a smooth, less acidic drink. This method is perfect for hot days or those preferring a milder coffee experience.

Espresso: If you’re after an intense and quick shot of coffee, using an espresso machine will extract the full flavor of Excelsa beans efficiently.

Experiment with these techniques to find your preferred combination. Use the right method and the right roast level to highlight the beans’ unique notes.

Excelsa Coffee in the Global Market

Economic Contributions

Excelsa coffee stands out as a unique and rare commodity in the broader coffee market. The production levels are lower compared to other beans, meaning it isn’t widely traded. Yet, its potential lies in its distinct taste, carving a niche among specialty coffee enthusiasts. Countries like Vietnam and the Philippines are key producers, and they benefit economically due to the growing interest in this unique coffee variety.

Consumer Demand and Rarity

You won’t often find Excelsa coffee in your local coffee shops or supermarkets. Its exclusivity and unique flavor profile make it a favorite among coffee drinkers seeking something beyond the ordinary.

Although its limited production can drive up prices, the demand continues to grow. Consumers interested in single-origin coffees and specialty blends are particularly attracted to Excelsa, appreciating its rare and distinctive taste.

Innovations and Future Trends

Environmentally Friendly Practices and Coffee Variety

As the coffee industry evolves, there is a growing focus on environmentally friendly practices and coffee variety. The International Coffee Organization (ICO) is leading efforts to promote sustainable practices, encouraging the cultivation of diverse coffee types. In the Philippines, the Coffee Board has been active in driving this diversity by supporting the growth of various coffee beans, including the lesser-known Excelsa.

Incorporating sustainability into coffee production is becoming increasingly important. Many consumers are now more environmentally conscious and prefer coffee that is produced sustainably. As a result, producers are adopting methods like shade-grown coffee, which helps maintain biodiversity and cuts down on the use of synthetic chemicals.

New Markets and Consumer Tastes

New markets, especially in Asia and Africa, are becoming central to the coffee industry. As these regions grow, they bring unique consumer tastes that influence coffee production. Asian consumers generally favor sweeter, milder coffee, prompting the development of new varieties tailored to these preferences.

Consumer tastes are also driving advances in the specialty coffee sector. With a demand for unique and high-quality coffee, producers are trying out new roasting techniques and creating different coffee types to meet the rising demand. This trend shows potential for the future of Excelsa coffee beans, as innovations continue to shape the industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes the taste of Excelsa coffee beans different?

Excelsa coffee beans are noted for their tart and fruity flavor, with some describing it as having hints of smokiness. The aroma is often likened to dark chocolate. The complexity of the flavor can vary with the growing region and roasting method.

How do Excelsa coffee beans compare to Arabica in taste and quality?

Excelsa beans are tart and fruity, while Arabica beans tend to be mild, sweet, and smooth. Both types are highly esteemed, so the choice between them is usually based on your personal taste preferences.

Where can Excelsa coffee beans be bought?

You can purchase Excelsa coffee beans online, in specialty coffee shops, and occasionally in larger grocery stores. They aren’t as readily available as Arabica or Robusta, so you might need to search a bit.

What is the usual price range for Excelsa coffee beans?

The cost of Excelsa coffee beans varies, influenced by the growing region, bean quality, and roasting process. Typically, they are a bit pricier than Arabica beans but less costly than some exotic varieties.

Where are Excelsa coffee beans mainly grown?

These beans are primarily cultivated in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Some are also grown in parts of West Africa and Central America, though in smaller amounts.

What traits set Excelsa coffee beans apart from other types?

Excelsa coffee beans stand out due to their tart and fruity flavor profile. They have a distinctive shape and size, and their unique growing regions contribute to their specific terroir and taste.