Updated: Oct 3, 2020
Arabica is a variety of the naturally grown coffee plant.
There are more than 120 varieties of the plant globally, of which Arabica and Robusta are the most traded ones. The fruits, or coffee cherries which grow on these trees are hand picked, processed to separate the pulp from the beans inside the cherry.
These green coffee beans are then carefully roasted, and finally ground for consumption as a freshly brewed beverage.
The vacuum evaporated version of this brew is also traded as instant coffee powder, but it loses much of it’s original aroma and distinct flavour notes in this process.
In instant coffee powder form, it is more of a marketing gimmick to classify the coffee powder as Arabica or Robusta, as the taste does not vary much between the two.
Image: Ripe coffee cherries on a coffee tree
The Indian Arabica varieties are typically cultivated in elevations ranging from 400 m to 2000 m in regions that receive 2,500–4,000 mm rainfall across more than 100 days.
The popular Arabica varieties cultivated in India are:
Kent, S795, S274, Selection 4, Selection 5, Selection 5B, Selection 6, Selection 9, Selection 10 & Cauvery.
The traditional coffee growing regions of India are Karnataka - with the lion’s share of coffee production & exports, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and more recently, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and North East region.
Both Arabica & Robusta coffee are cultivated in India. The most famous & globally recognised coffee bean export from India over the decades have been the Moonsooned Malabar, Mysore Nugget & Robusta Kaapi Royale variants. One can purchase these from the Coffee Board of India or from any of several coffee exporters who also retail some quantities locally.
There are several specialty coffee roasters in India, where one can purchase some of the finest locally grown Arabica coffees, identified by the farm or estate they grew in, aka single origin coffees. Among the best that we have tried are from Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters, Araku Coffee, KC Roasters and The Flying Squirrel and more good ones are coming up each day.. Refer to our Directory of Indian Roasters for a comprehensive listing.
Do check out our Coffee Recommendations page for some suggested Indian specialty coffees to try for your favourite coffee making method at home.