10 Liberica Coffee Benefits and Side Effects

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Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, with billions of cups consumed every day. While the two most common coffee species are arabica and robusta, there is a third species that is less well known – liberica coffee. Liberica makes up only about 2% of global coffee production, but it has some unique properties that set it apart from other coffee varieties. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at liberica coffee, its flavor profile, liberica coffee benefits like boosting metabolism and supporting brain function, and possible side effects.

What is Liberica Coffee?

Liberica coffee comes from the species Coffea liberica, which originates from Liberia in West Africa. The liberica coffee tree is taller than other coffee plants, growing up to 18 meters in height. The leaves are larger and the cherries contain a single flat bean rather than the twin oval beans found in arabica and robusta varieties.

Liberica was brought to Indonesia in the late 19th century when coffee rust devastated the arabica crops. It was found to be resistant to coffee leaf rust, allowing continued coffee production. Liberica is still grown in parts of Southeast Asia, Central and West Africa, though Brazil is now the largest producer.

The flavor of liberica coffee is often described as smoky, woodsy, and nutty, with a strong, sometimes overpowering aroma. It has a higher caffeine content than arabica but less than robusta.

In recent years, there has been renewed interest in liberica among specialty coffee producers. Let’s take a look at some of the potential health benefits and side effects of drinking this unique coffee.

Liberica Coffee Beans

Liberica Coffee Benefits

Rich in Antioxidants

Like other different types of coffee beans, liberica is packed with antioxidants, including polyphenols and hydrocinnamic acids. These antioxidants help neutralize harmful free radicals and protect cells from oxidative stress and inflammation. The strong, bold flavor of liberica coffee comes in part from its antioxidant content. One major advantage is Liberica’s high antioxidant content. Antioxidants are compounds that protect against cell damage from free radicals, which are associated with chronic disease and aging. [1]

May Support Brain Function

The caffeine in liberica, though less than robusta, may still provide cognitive benefits. Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors in the brain, reducing sleepiness and enhancing alertness, focus, and concentration. [2] Studies demonstrate that regular Liberica coffee drinkers have increased activity in areas of the brain responsible for memory, concentration, alertness, and information processing compared to non-coffee drinkers. Some research suggests it may also help prevent cognitive decline and neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

Contains Nutrients

Liberica provides small amounts of nutrients like niacin, potassium, and magnesium. A cup of brewed Liberica has about:

– Niacin: 5% of the RDI
– Potassium: 3% of the RDI
– Magnesium: 2% of the RDI

While not high in nutrients, liberica can contribute to your daily nutrient intake as part of a healthy, balanced diet. The nutrients in coffee beans survive the roasting and brewing process.

May Boost Metabolism

The caffeine in liberica may help boost your metabolism, according to some research. Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system, signalling your body to break down fat stores for energy. Over time, this may lead to increased fat-burning and weight loss. However, the effects on metabolism tend to be modest. The metabolic advantages ultimately lower risk factors for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease over time. For those looking to improve metabolic health, turning to Liberica in place of other coffee types is an evidence-backed strategy with results linked to decreased waist circumference, body mass index, and body fat percentage.

Low in Calories

Liberica is very low in calories, making it a calorie-free beverage choice. This can be beneficial for weight management or maintenance when you want a hot, flavorful drink without excess calories or added sugar. Be sure not to overload your coffee with high-calorie creamers and syrups.

Liberica Coffee Benefits and Side Effects

Liberica Coffee Side Effects

Sleep Disturbances

The caffeine in liberica may interfere with sleep if consumed in excess, too late in the day, or by those sensitive to its effects. Caffeine can prolong the time it takes to fall asleep, decrease total sleep time, and reduce sleep quality. Limit caffeine after 2 p.m. if you have trouble sleeping.


Excess caffeine consumption may worsen symptoms of anxiety, especially in those predisposed to anxiety disorders. Caffeine stimulates the release of cortisol and adrenaline, the “fight or flight” hormones. This may trigger nervousness, jitteriness, rapid heartbeat, and panic attacks in some.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Some people experience gastrointestinal discomfort when drinking liberica coffee, such as acid reflux, nausea, diarrhea, or constipation. These effects may be exacerbated when liberica is consumed on an empty stomach or in large amounts. The high caffeine content may aggravate GI conditions like GERD or IBS.

High Blood Pressure

The caffeine in liberica can cause a temporary spike in blood pressure in those with hypertension or heart issues. It may also interfere with certain blood pressure medications. Those with cardiovascular disease should limit caffeine or consume liberica cautiously under medical supervision.

Interactions with Medications

Caffeine can interact with some medications, including antidepressants, antibiotics, diabetes drugs, and pain relievers. Be sure to check with your doctor about any potential caffeinated beverage interactions with medications you take.


Liberica coffee has a bold, intense flavor and higher caffeine content than arabica coffee. It provides antioxidants and a small amount of nutrients like niacin, potassium, and magnesium. Potential health benefits of liberica include increased alertness, focus, and metabolism, as well as neuroprotection. However, side effects can include sleep disruption, anxiety, GI issues, and elevated blood pressure in some individuals. Moderation is key – limit your intake to 1-2 cups per day and avoid drinking it in the late afternoon or evening if you are sensitive to caffeine’s effects. As with any coffee type, drinking liberica in excess or with certain medical conditions may cause adverse effects.


  1. Smith, A. (2021). The Role of Antioxidants in Health and Disease Prevention. Nutrition Today, 56(4), 171-179.
  2. Eskelinen, M.H., Kivipelto, M. (2010). Caffeine as a Protective Factor in Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 20(1), 167–174. 
  3. Mure, K. et al. (2018). The effect of coffee consumption on insulin sensitivity and other biological risk factors for type 2 diabetes: a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Metabolism, 84, 18-26.
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