What is an Arabica Café?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 10 June 2018
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Arabica café is a common name for Coffea arabica, also known as Arabica coffee or Arabian coffee. This plant has been grown in Yemen for over a thousand years and is used as a source of coffee, a beverage popular all over the world. Some coffeehouses and cafes take their name from the plant which supplies the chief ingredient of their primary menu item, and many cities have an “Arabica Café” which serves coffee and may have a Middle Eastern theme as a nod to the origins of coffee.

The Coffea genus appears to be native to Africa, but Middle Eastern traders quickly acquired and started cultivating the plant, in turn making coffee famous. Arabica café is well known for its intense, rich, well developed flavor which has made it popular among aficionados, with most luxury coffees being made with Arabica cultivars of coffee, rather than robusta cultivars. Arabian coffee is widely grown in many regions of the world with climates favorable for coffee growing.

This member of the Coffea genus prefers temperate, stable temperatures, even rainfall, somewhat acidic soil, and partial shade. It grows in USDA zones 10 and 11, with some gardeners cultivating it indoors as an ornamental plant. The plant has dark green evergreen leaves and small white flowers, producing berries which mature into coffee beans. The raw beans can be dried and then roasted and ground to produce coffee. Coffee cultivation requires time and commitment, as the plants take seven years to mature.


Arabica café has the lowest caffeine content of the coffee cultivars grown for consumption. Some coffee producers will blend Arabica and robusta beans for the purpose of preserving the flavor of Arabica café while providing consumers with a kick of caffeine. Various flavors can be brought out with different curing and roasting techniques, and roasters may also add flavors during processing for products like vanilla coffee and blueberry coffee.

Some coffee producers have developed very unique Arabica café cultivars which are famous for their flavor, intensity, or other traits. Some of these cultivars have been certified to ensure that only plants from a particular lineage grown in a particular area can be sold under that cultivar's label. This is designed to protect the heritage and integrity of unique Arabica cultivars, ensuring that they will remain consistent. Consumers may pay a high price for such coffee, prizing it for its quality and brewing performance.



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