Basic Differences Between Arabica & Robusta Coffee Beans

Basic Differences Between Arabica & Robusta Coffee Beans
Basic Differences Between Arabica & Robusta Coffee Beans

Difference Between Arabica and Robusta Coffee – What is the difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee? As usual, we talked about the differences between Arabica coffee and Robusta coffee. If you are new to the gourmet coffee culture or if you happen to be curious about why everyone advertises “100% Arabica” on their coffee products, we are here to clarify for you.

Difference Between Arabica and Robusta Coffee Beans

First, let’s be clear. There are two very broad types of coffee plants: robusta and arabica.

Robusta plants are warmer plants that can grow at lower elevations, require less air and do not require high soil quality. Robusta seeds also contain twice the caffeine of arabica seeds and are very pest resistant.

Arabica coffee beans are finer. Growing at altitudes above 900 meters above sea level, arabica plants require a lot of air and require special soil qualities to thrive. Chickpeas are less caffeine and more susceptible to pests.

So the robusta plant is far superior, biologically, to the arabica plant except for one key factor: taste. Robusta coffee tends to taste burnt and bitter when roasted. Because of their flavor profile, most high-quality coffee makers have removed these beans from their blends and their offerings.

We’ve never come across a roaster that sells a single real robusta coffee bean, but when we do, we’ll post about how to drink it.

After roasting, almost all coffee beans look the same. But did you know that there are actually dozens of different varieties of coffee beans? However, when it comes to your daily cup, there are only two things: Arabica and robusta. These are the two main types of coffee that are cultivated for drinking.

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The difference between Arabica and Robusta

What’s the difference between the two? This is important, and very helpful to understand when choosing coffee.

Both varieties differ in taste, growing conditions, price. Arabica seeds tend to have a sweet, creamy taste, with notes of sugar, fruit, and berries. The acidity is higher, with a grape flavor that characterizes coffee with excellent acidity.

Robusta, however, has a stronger, firmer taste, with grainy undertones and a peanutty aftertaste. They contain twice as much caffeine as Arabica, and they are generally considered to be of low quality compared to Arabica. However, some robustas are of high quality and are valued especially in espresso for their deep flavor and good crema.

The difference between Arabica and Robusta
The difference between Arabica and Robusta

Robusta, however, is easier to grow. They can be grown at lower altitutes than Arabic, and they are less susceptible to pests and weather conditions. They produce fruit much faster than Arabic, which takes several years to reach maturity, and they produce more crops per tree.

Robusta is grown exclusively in the eastern hemisphere, mainly in Africa and Indonesia. Arabica is also grown in Africa and Papua New Guinea, but grows predominantly in Latin America. Colombia only produces Arabica beans. Some countries, such as Brazil and India, produce both.

So, Arabica ended up being pricier. Most supermarket coffees are exclusively robusta, and instant and cheap ground coffee is of course robusta. You can still find Arabica at the grocery store, but just because it’s labeled Arabica doesn’t mean it’s high quality.

In the end it is a matter of personal taste. Some all-arabica blends are too tall and flowery for us; some of the rich and dark roughness of robusta can be a good thing in a mix. Keep in mind that robusta has twice as much caffeine as arabica, too, when choosing a coffee blend. If you want to skip most of the caffeine, check out our tips for choosing decaf for our suggestions on coffee blends and origins.

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