Arabica and Robusta Beans: Details, Differences and Origin

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Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages worldwide, but not many know the difference between the types of beans and where they are coming from. Today’s article will focus on the details and characteristics of Arabica and Robusta beans, which are the preferred choice for coffee experts.

Arabica and Robusta Beans

Coffee beans are the seeds of the coffee plant and the source of coffee. There are several coffee beans and plants worldwide, but Arabica and Robusta lead the market with 60% and 40%, respectively. 

Arabica Coffee

This type of coffee is the most common globally, and it’s known as Arabian coffee. It is believed to be the first cultivated coffee species in history, with its origin can be pinpointed to Ethiopia. Still, the production comes from countries such as Brazil and Indonesia due to their tropical conditions and high elevations, making them perfect for the Arabica plant. There are two popular varieties of Arabica coffee: Typica and Bourbon. 

Robusta Coffee

This type of coffee comes from the Coffea Canephora plant, and it’s the second most-produced coffee in the world. It originates from sub-Saharan Africa, and the majority of the production can be located in East Africa, Indonesia, and Vietnam, which is the major producer of Robusta coffee in the world. Erecta and Nganda are the two most popular varieties of the Robusta beans. 

Differences Between Arabica and Robusta Beans

These two types of coffee are surprisingly quite different, even when at first they look similar, from taste to production, without forgetting characteristics such as price, caffeine, and more.

Taste 

Robusta

Thanks to its strong flavor, Robusta is the perfect bean for dark roasts like espresso, and it’s the preferred for instant coffee. It has a strong bitter flavor, with a peanut aftertaste and is even similar to dark chocolate. It has less acidity than Arabica, which means it possesses a harsher earthy taste that not everyone enjoys. 

Arabica

This coffee has a more extensive tasting range, from soft and sweet to sharp and tangy but most have a fruit-like aftertaste. It also has a higher acidity, giving Arabica a crisp and wine-like taste. All these details make it the most popular coffee bean.

Caffeine, Sugar and Lipids.

In this topic, Robusta leads the difference: a cup of Robusta coffee will have more caffeine than an Arabica one. Robusta has 2.2 to 2.7% caffeine per bean, while Arabica only has 1.2 to 1.5%. This is because Robusta has less natural sugar and lipids than Arabica, the latter having more than half of those. 

Cultivation and Price

Robusta is a very resilient plant, meaning that it has relatively easy cultivation and cheaper coffee. However, it’s a quality coffee due to its higher percentage of caffeine per bean. Pests detest that bitter taste, so they leave the plant alone, and for this plant, it is quite hard to get a disease. Arabica is more complicated; it’s a fragile plant that requires more nutrients and the perfect environment to grow, making it an expensive coffee. 

There is no such thing as the best coffee bean, as it will depend on the client’s preference in flavor and price. Robusta is cheaper, but it has a strong and bitter flavor, while Arabica is expensive with a smooth and sweeter flavor. Also, both can be paired with other flavors and components, creating the perfect match. 

Arabica and Robusta beans

Photo by Anastasiia Chepinska on Unsplash.

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