Educate the Curious: Arabica & Robusta Coffee

Educate the Curious: Arabica & Robusta Coffee

🤷 Do you know the difference between the two main species of coffee: Arabica & Robusta

Here's a quick video to help get us started.

Arabica and Robusta are the most common types of coffees produced around the world. However, even though they're so common, most people don't know the differences between them. Let's dive into what makes these beans unique!

Arabica coffee comes from the Arabica plant and was the first cultivated coffee species. It makes up about 70% of global coffee production and originates from Ethiopia, but was first cultivated in Yemen. The two most popular varieties of Arabica coffee are Typica and Bourbon. Arabica is normally used for single-origin coffees and most specialty coffee is Arabica. It gets it’s name from the Arabican peninsula. 

Robusta coffee comes from the Coffea Canephora plant and is the second most popular coffee in the world, making up about 30% of global coffee production. This species originates from the central and western sub-saharan African region, and is largely grown in the east, specifically Africa, Indonesia, and Vietnam, who happens to be the leading producer of Robusta coffee. The two most popular varieties of Robusta coffee are Erecta and Nganda. Robusta is mostly used in commodity grade coffee like blends and instant coffee. But there is now some Robusta specialty coffee grown in Vietnam! 



Arabica flavors can be anywhere from soft & sweet to sharp & tangy, fruit-like smell & aftertaste, with a higher acidity, complex, and balanced. It has a lighter mouthfeel. Robusta is more bitter, nutty, dark chocolate, with a lower acidity, earthy & woody, and heavier mouthfeel. 


Caffeine Content

Arabica is 1.2 to 1.5% caffeine per bean, while Robusta is 2.2 to 2.7% per bean. That’s almost double! Some insects and pests are deterred by the caffeine content, which also contributes to why it’s cheaper and easier to grow.



As far as price goes, Arabica is more expensive because it requires more energy and resources to grow the Arabica coffee plant. Robusta is much easier and cheaper to produce (and higher yielding), resulting in a cheaper coffee. 



Arabica is fragile and requires a lot of nutrients, and it’s a smaller plant. It must be grown at high elevation in cool, subtropical climates and is susceptible to pests and cold temperatures. The Robusta coffee plant on the other hand is very resilient. It can be grown at low altitudes and is resistant to pests and disease.



To learn more about the differences, check out this great article by Sip Coffee. 


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