It’s inevitable that you’ll come to the point where you wonder whether to choose arabica or robusta coffee to make your steamy cuppa in the morning. It comes somewhere after you find out these are the two types of coffee that exist and no wonder you will want to choose the best from the two.
Arabica or Robusta, what are the differences?
Here are some pointers to help you choose:
Arabica is the most widespread species of coffee tree in the world. It was in Ethiopia that it was discovered and used for its stimulating and medicinal properties and in Yemen that it was cultivated in the first place.
Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Ethiopia and Guatemala are the top 5 arabica coffee producing countries.
Arabica coffee beans are rather long, and their surface is smooth. They have a blue-green color.
The arabica grows in altitude on the Highlands, between 600 and 2000 m depending on the regions.
Arabica coffee offers you a fine and subtle Cup, with multiple aromatic notes: fruity and floral notes or notes of caramel, hazelnuts or citrus.
Note that its caffeine content is low: between 0.8 and 1.3%
The robusta, as its name suggests is robust i.e harsh and strong, bitter in taste! It grows at lower heights than arabica, usually on the plain. It is cultivated in Africa and more particularly in West Africa as well as in Southeast Asia.
Robusta is more vigorous than arabica and is well resistant to diseases.
The beans of robusta coffee are light brown and have a rounded shape.
Robusta coffee offers you a powerful cup, full-bodied, more bitter than that of Arabica coffee. It is on average 2 times more loaded with caffeine than arabica (from 2% to 2.5%).
Which is better? Well, there is no definitive answer, it depends entirely on your personal taste.
We prefer arabica for its finesse, subtlety and the aromatic palette it offers.
However for Our Two Origins Mexico and Great Lakes Africa, we have Associated a tip of robusta with arabicas. The finesse of arabica blends with the measured power of robusta for a perfectly balanced cup. To succeed in this marriage we have selected robustas of high quality.
Your palate will know how to choose!
Coffee Arabica and Robusta: what is the difference and which one to choose?
Anyone who has any interest in coffee will certainly hear about Arabica coffee and Robusta coffee. Some roasters only offer 100% Arabica single-origin coffees while others will offer you a mix consisting, for example, of 90% Arabica and 10% Robusta.
But, in the end, what is the difference between Arabica coffee and Robusta coffee and, above all, what to choose for your coffee at home or in the office ?
First of all, you should know that coffee comes from the seeds of a plant called Coffee Tree. Arabica and robusta are simply two different species of this plant. Despite popular belief, they come from Africa, not South America.
What is an arabica coffee?
Arabica is the most widespread variety of coffee tree in the world, its name arabica comes from the Arabian Peninsula, because it was in Yemen that arabica was consumed as a drink as we know it today. In addition, this coffee grows only in high altitude regions, at the limit of vegetation zones hence its name “coffee of the Highlands”.
An arabica coffee stands out for its low caffeine content, which is half as high as that of robusta. Indeed, for 150 ml, arabica contains 50-120 mg of caffeine against 100-250 mg for robusta. In addition, the aromas of arabica are richer than those of robusta.
Finally, arabica coffee accounts for about 70% of the world’s coffee production. The largest producer countries of arabica coffee are Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Ethiopia and Guatemala, where plantations find the ideal rainfall and temperature.
The coffee tree that gives arabica coffee is called coffea arabica or Arabian coffee tree. It is the most cultivated species in the world and arabica coffee is, in fact, also the most consumed coffee. Arabica coffee is estimated to account for 65% of the world’s coffee production.
This plant takes its name from the Arabian Peninsula: indeed, it was in the 15th century, in Yemen, that this plant was prepared and consumed for the first time in the form of coffee as we know it today.
The Arabica is a tree that grows at an altitude between 800 and 2000 meters. Relatively chilly and delicate, it requires temperatures between 15 and 24°C, a humid climate and a lot of shade. These somewhat special conditions make it more complicated to grow Arabica coffee than Robusta coffee.
An Arabica coffee will be softer in the mouth and will present more aromas than Robusta coffee. Generally speaking, Arabica coffee also contains less caffeine than Robusta.
Is 100% Arabica better?
Tastes and colors are often questionable! However, in general, most people prefer 100% arabica coffee because it will be thinner and less full-bodied.
Let’s say if you want to enjoy a good coffee, prefer 100% arabica. On the other hand, if you just need your shot of caffeine in the morning half asleep, an Arabica / Robusta mix will do. 😉
Is Arabica coffee more expensive?
Generally speaking, an Arabica coffee will be more expensive than a Robusta coffee because it is more complicated to grow and requires more attention and care.
The coffee tree that gives Robusta coffee is called coffea cenaphora or robusta coffee tree. It is estimated that this species accounts for about 35% of the world’s coffee production.
What is robusta coffee ?
The robusta or Coffea canephora takes its name from the robustness and resistance of its tree. Thanks to its very fast growth of its tree, this variety of coffee is simpler to grow than arabica. Arabica coffee is dissociated by its less developed aromas, which is why it is less appreciated than arabica by quality coffee producers. In addition, it differs by its more bitter and full-bodied taste as well as its higher caffeine dose than arabica as we have seen previously.
In short, robusta coffee accounts for about 30% of world production. The main producers of robusta coffee are Indonesia, Uganda, Ivory Coast, India and Vietnam.
What about a blend?
To achieve the ideal balance between the more intense and fruity aromas of arabica and the full-bodied and powerful side of robusta, there are alloys consisting of its two varieties. Typically, the blend contains 80% arabica and 20% robusta. You can find all our coffees from assemblage here.
Like arabica, Robusta is native to Africa and, more specifically, the region from Uganda to Guinea.
This coffee gets its name from the robustness of the plant. Indeed, it is particularly resistant to diseases, insects and difficult weather conditions. In addition to this, you can grow robusta coffee at an altitude lower than arabica (between 0 and 800m), in a warm climate (between 24 and 30°C) and in full sun.
Robusta coffee is a much more bitter and full-bodied coffee than arabica. It has fewer aromas in the mouth and, very often, is more caffeinated than its cousin from Arabia.
For these reasons, coffee lovers agree that a robusta coffee is worse than an arabica coffee.
100% Robusta coffee ?
Robusta coffee is very often used in mixtures with arabica in order to reduce costs and increase volumes. Robusta is also used in low-cost coffees such as instant or frozen coffees.
However, one can find 100% robusta coffees on the market. They are often offered at a ridiculous price and constitute the entry-level coffee.
Arabica coffee, Robusta or a blend … which one to choose?
Whether in grains, ground or ESE pods, you choose your coffee according to several criteria : provenance, flavor, intensity, time of consumption and caffeine content. Nevertheless, you may not know the difference between a pure arabica coffee, pure robusta or a blend ie the combination between its two types of coffee.
Why You Should Care About Coffee Bean Color
Why should you care?
Every coffee drinker should know that the color of the beans (and grounds) is a clear indicator of how it was roasted and if you will like it. If you like coffees that are “weaker” in taste than you will not want dark beans. Conversely, if you like coffee that has a bold taste and than you won’t want to buy lighter beans.
Light Roast – Breakfast Blend (Starbucks, Peets) or Morning Blend (Caribou Coffee)
Medium Roast – House Blend (Starbuckss, Peets) or Caribou Blend (Caribou Coffee)
Dark Roast – French Roast (Starbucks, Peets, Caribou Coffee)
If you don’t know which type you like than I urge you to start with a medium roast and see what you think as that is where differences start to become noticeable. If it tastes too strong for you than you probably will prefer the lighter roast coffees. If you like the slight boldness of it and want more of a real kick than go with a dark roast coffee.
You won’t regret finding the right roast of coffee for your palette, trust me.
As we have seen, there are quite a few differences between arabica coffee and robusta coffee. However, there is one thing to remember: if you want to drink a good coffee at home or in the office, prefer 100% arabica coffees ! 😉