Liberica Coffee Beans

Liberica Coffee: A Guide To Its Origins, Flavor, & Characteristics

Bean Ground is completely reader-supported. When you buy via the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more

Liberica coffee is a type of coffee bean that is often overlooked in favor of more popular varieties such as Arabica and Robusta.

But that’s a shame because it has a unique flavor profile that makes it worth trying, especially for coffee lovers looking for something new and different.

While Liberica coffee is not as widely available as other types of coffee in the western part of the world, it is worth seeking out for its distinctive flavor and aroma.

Whether you are a coffee connoisseur or simply looking to try something new, Liberica coffee is definitely worth a try.

What is Liberica (Barako) Coffee?

Liberica coffee is a somewhat rare and unique coffee variety grown in limited quantities worldwide.

It is one of the four major coffee species, along with Arabica, Robusta, and Excelsa.

Coffea liberica is commonly grown in Southeast Asia, in countries such as the Philippines. The growing conditions are perfect in this region, and the coffee thrives.

green Liberica coffee beans

The size of the Liberica beans is slightly larger, and compared to regular coffee beans, they have a unique shape and a distinct aroma that sets them apart from other varieties.

Liberica coffee is known for its distinct taste and is often used in coffee blends to bring a unique taste profile to the coffee combination. In the Philippines, this type of coffee is a favorite among coffee enthusiasts and is known locally as Baroko.

History Of Liberica Coffee

Liberica coffee has a rich and fascinating history that dates back to the 18th century.

Originally grown and harvested in the tropical West African region, specifically Liberia, this rare coffee earned its name from the country of its origin.

Graced with a distinctive flavor profile consisting of floral, fruity, and smoky notes, combined with its large almond-shaped beans, Liberica coffee quickly became popular among coffee devotees.

The Philippine connection with Liberica coffee started in the late 19th century when the coffee rust disease devastated most of the world’s Arabica coffee plantations.

In response to the crisis, the American government introduced Liberica coffee to the Philippines, a former colony, around 1898 as a potential replacement crop.

Filipino women harvesting Liberica coffee beans

As the rust-resistant Libericas flourished in the Filipino soil, the country swiftly emerged as a top producer of the specialty coffee, aiding in the development and propagation of its distinctive profile.

Despite its initial success, however, the Liberica coffee industry gradually succumbed to the growing demand and resurgence of Arabica and Robusta beans, pushing Liberica coffee into near obscurity in the 20th century.

Recently though, Liberica coffee has experienced a resurgence, driven by a renewed global interest in gourmet and unique coffee flavors.

Small, dedicated groups of farmers and coffee connoisseurs, particularly in the Philippines and Malaysia, have taken up the mantle of preserving and promoting the legacy and history of Liberica coffee, striving to reestablish its position in the specialty coffee market while honoring its distinctive roots.

Today Liberica coffee beans are a popular choice for Filipino coffee drinkers, and it’s common to find bags of freshly roasted Barako coffee sitting on the shelves of local Sari-Sari stores.

Flavor Profile Of Liberica

Liberica coffee has a unique and distinct flavor profile that differentiates it from other coffee types.

It is known for its bold and smoky taste, with notes of dark chocolate and a slightly woody aroma.

The coffee has a low acidity and is full-bodied, which is perfect for those who prefer strong and robust coffee whilst being gentle on the stomach.

Liberica Coffee vs. Other Coffee Varieties

Liberica coffee is often compared to other coffees, such as Arabica and Robusta. While Arabica coffee beans are known for their delicate and nuanced flavor profile, Liberica is renowned for a bolder and more robust taste.

Robusta coffee, on the other hand, is known for its high caffeine content and bitter taste. Liberica coffee has a lower caffeine content than Robusta but a higher caffeine content than Arabica.

So Liberica sits somewhere in the middle of the two popular beans with its taste profile and caffeine content.

While it may be hard to find, this bean is worth seeking out for those who want to explore the world of coffee beyond the more common varieties.

If you haven’t brewed with this species of coffee before, I can tell you that its bold and distinct taste is worth trying, and although it might not be for everyone’s taste, it’s something you can at least say you’ve tried, if only once.

Liberica coffee plants and leaves

Where Is Liberica Coffee Grown?

What are the regions known for producing Liberica coffee?

As I mentioned earlier, Liberica coffee is a rare and unique coffee variety grown in only a few regions of the world.

The majority of Liberica coffee is grown in the Philippines, where it is considered a national treasure. Other countries that harvest and process Liberica coffee include Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Liberia.

Although this coffee species is not as widely grown as other strains, it still has a devoted following among coffee lovers who appreciate its distinctive flavor profile, rarity, and slightly lower price point.

Growing Conditions For Liberica

In order to cultivate and produce the highest quality Liberica coffee beans, specific and unique growing conditions need to be taken into account.

Liberica cultivars thrive in tropical lowland environments with high humidity.

Elevations ranging from sea level to 600 meters above sea level, and temperatures between 24 to 30 degrees Celsius (75 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit).

These conditions are typically found in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, where Liberica production is most prominent.

Adequate annual rainfall (at least 2000 mm per year), well-draining, rich volcanic soils with a slightly acidic pH, and ample sunlight are additional factors required for the optimal growth and development of the coffee plants.

Another crucial factor to consider in achieving high-quality Liberica coffee is proper spacing and pruning during plantation, ensuring adequate aeration and efficient resource allocation among the taller and hardier coffee plants.

The flowering and fruiting of Liberica beans are closely associated with the region’s wet and dry seasons, where the ideal combination of rainfall and drought conditions positively influences the cultivation process.

close up of coffee leaf rust on Liberica plant

Lastly, successful Liberica production requires vigilant pest and disease management since this particular species is more susceptible to various crop-inhibiting factors as compared to Arabica and Robusta varieties.

Despite the challenges associated with growing this unique coffee crop, farmers who can successfully cultivate this unique variety of Liberica are rewarded with a coffee with distinct attributes and an enthusiastic following among coffee enthusiasts.

How Is Liberica Coffee Processed?

Liberica is processed through two popular coffee production methods: wet and dry processing.

Both methods involve removing the outer layers of the coffee cherry to reveal the coffee bean inside.

Mark Morphew holding ripe Liberica coffee cherries

Wet Processing Method

The wet processing method, also known as the washed method, involves soaking the coffee cherries in water to remove the outer layers.

The process begins with sorting the cherries to remove any damaged or unripe ones.

The cherries are then pulped to remove the outer skin and fruit, leaving behind the coffee bean covered in a sticky mucilage.

The beans are then soaked in water for up to 48 hours to ferment and break down the mucilage. The beans are then washed with clean water to remove any remaining mucilage and left to dry in the sun or by using a mechanical dryer until the moisture content reaches around 11%.

Dry Processing Method

The dry processing method, also known as the natural method, involves drying the coffee cherries in the sun before removing the outer layers.

The process begins with sorting the cherries to remove any damaged or unripe ones. The cherries are then spread out on a large surface to dry in the sun for up to four weeks, during which they are turned regularly to ensure even drying.

Once the cherries are completely dry, they are hulled to remove the outer skin and fruit, leaving behind the coffee bean.

The beans are then sorted and graded based on size and quality before being packaged for export.

Both wet and dry processing methods have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of method depends on factors such as climate, availability of water, and local traditions.

Liberica Coffee Roasting

Roasting this species of coffee plant requires a specialized approach to bring out its distinct flavor and aroma.

In this section, we will explore the different aspects of roasting Liberica coffee.

How To Roast Liberica Coffee?

How To Roast Liberica Coffee?

Roasting Liberica is a delicate process that requires a skilled roaster. The roasting process is crucial in bringing out the unique flavors of Liberica. Roasting Liberica requires a slower and longer roasting process than other coffee types.

The temperature and time need to be carefully monitored to ensure that the coffee beans are roasted evenly.

The roaster must also pay attention to the beans’ moisture level to prevent over-roasting or under-roasting.

Roast Levels For Liberica

Liberica coffee is typically roasted to a medium or dark roast level.

The medium roast brings out the fruity and floral notes of the coffee, while the dark roast brings out the earthy and smoky flavors.

Reaching a medium roast level typically takes around 12-15 minutes, while roasting to a dark roast level can take up to 20 minutes.

Where To Buy Liberica Coffee?

If you’re on the hunt for Liberica coffee, there are a few places you can look.

Although Liberica is popular in Asia, getting your hands on freshly roasted pure Liberica in Europe and the US might be challenging.

Online retailers like Amazon or specialty coffee websites may stock this unique coffee type. However, they will typically sell large amounts of Arabica or Robusta, and Liberica will hang around for some time. So freshness isn’t always guaranteed.

It’s a good idea to check local markets or grocery stores, as Liberica may be available.

If you have a local coffee roaster nearby, it might be worth asking if they have this type of coffee.

Some may have fresh green coffee beans in cold storage and will be able to roast you a small batch.


So there you have it. Liberica coffee really is a unique and rare coffee variety with a distinct taste and aroma.

It’s grown in limited quantities in select regions around the world, making it a rare and sought-after commodity for coffee enthusiasts.

While it may not be as popular as other coffee varieties, Liberica coffee offers a unique flavor profile that sets it apart from the rest.

Its bold and smoky taste, coupled with its fruity and floral aroma, makes it a favorite among those who appreciate a strong and distinctive cup of coffee.

Despite its rarity, Liberica is still often available in specialty coffee shops and online retailers. So keep a look out.

And while it may be more expensive than other varieties, its unique flavor and aroma make it worth the extra cost for those who appreciate a high-quality cup of coffee and want to experience what Liberica coffee tastes like.

Have you tried Liberica?

Latest posts by Mark Morphew (see all)
🔥 Check out the latest discounts over at Volcanica Coffee. One of our favorite online specialty coffee roasters > Click Here