What Is the Difference Between Arabic and Columbian Coffee?

By James Stevens

Worldwide, there are two main types of coffee plant, namely the Arabica and Robusta, but each has many subvarieties. Originally, Arabica coffee came from Arabia, hence the name, but it has been cultivated in many parts of the world, particularly South America. Columbia has become a major coffee grower because of the country's ideal location and climate. The way the coffee is prepared is very different between Arabic and Columbian coffee.

Arabic and Columbian coffees are both made using Arabica coffee beans.

Arabica Coffee Beans

The Arabica coffee bean is estimated to provide about 70 percent of the worlds demand for coffee and is used for both Arabic and Columbian coffee. The Arabica coffee plant takes four to five years of careful cultivation before it produces coffee beans. It grows best at higher altitudes -- over 3,000 feet is typical -- and enjoys a tropical or subtropical climate. Coffee beans don't ripen at the same time, which makes picking them a labor-intensive job; however, these plants are self-pollinating, making it easier to maintain a constant cycle. A typical Arabica coffee plant grows to about 9 feet tall in Arabia, whereas in Columbia, the plant grows to about 3 to 4 feet tall.

Arabic Coffee

Traditional Arabic coffee is thick, very dark and exceptionally strong. It is served in a small cup that is less than half filled. The coffee can be flavored with cardamom or cinnamon and saffron is often mixed in to give it a deep yellowish color. Arabic style coffee is widely served in Turkey, but may be infused with different spices. Sugar is usually added to the coffee because of its bitter taste; sometimes a little evaporated milk may be added.

Columbian Coffee

Columbia was found to have the perfect growing conditions for coffee. All coffee produced in Columbia comes from the Arabica coffee plant, which was originally imported from Arabia. Columbian coffee is considered a superior coffee because of the climatic conditions, but personal preference plays an important part in your ultimate choice. Columbian coffee beans go through a process known as "washing." This purifies and removes acids from the beans and results in a smooth, rich taste and stronger aroma.


Both Arabic and Columbian coffee come from the same Arabica coffee plant. It is the process that follows the picking of the beans that determines the significant difference between the two. Columbian coffee is sold as whole beans, enabling you to grind the beans yourself. Plenty of Columbian coffee is freeze dried, meaning you can get a cup of coffee instantly. Arabic coffee is not an instant coffee and tends to brew like tea. The coffee is kept warm in a large pot that sits on a stove ready to serve at all times of the day. The strength of the coffee increases the longer the pot sits on the stove.