% Arabica’s Global Guide to Coffee Beans

Specialty coffee roaster % Arabica has 200 shops worldwide, but its first U.S. store opened in Brooklyn in 2020. CEO Mieke Fonteyn explains that the brand seeks inspiration from local geography and aims to feel relevant to the environment. The newest location opened at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in January, a balanced inspiration of the New York subway line, the golden center of a coffee bean, and the Art Deco style that 30 Rock has long been known for.

The brand’s commitment to serving incredible coffee keeps customers coming back. Fonteyn, who has worked in the coffee industry for 25 years, says she’s never seen a more rigorous system dedicated to serving a top-quality cup of caffeine. The company has the most aggressive freshness standards, so customers never get a cup that’s more than 72 hours from roasting.

Founder Kenneth Shoji coined the brand’s slogan, “See the world through coffee,” and that’s exactly what he has done — and what he allows every customer to do as they sip beans sourced from the world’s top coffee-growing regions. Many of % Arabica’s bean offerings vary based on what is best in season, but the signature % Arabica Blend is used for espresso in every store around the world.

Four sources of single-origin coffees served at % Arabica stores include Colombia, Guatemala, Ethiopia, and Indonesia. Colombia’s coffee is grown on family-owned farms across its 20-plus coffee regions, with high humidity and moderate rainfall making tight quality control possible. Guatemala’s coffee has been exported since the mid-19th century, and its beans tend to be more acidic and full-bodied than Colombia’s. Ethiopia’s Kafa Biosphere Reserve is cited as the birthplace of the Arabica bean, with almost 5,000 varieties growing wild.

Indonesia’s Java beans, like those from neighboring Sumatra, are low in acidity and ideal for coffee drinkers with sensitive stomachs. % Arabica’s Indonesia Sumatra Karo Simalem is medium-bodied and tastes of “lychee syrup and cocoa tea.”

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