Among the types of coffee beans in the market which one should you buy?
There seems to be a lot out there in the coffee shops, grocery stores, etc.
We see coffee brands and blends like Blue Mountain Coffee, Mocha Java, Indonesian, Barako Coffee and more. But these aren’t the types but are the products of two main types.
Today, we only have to choose between two types of coffee beans: Coffea Arabica (more known as just “Arabica”) and Coffea Robusta (Coffea Canephora or just “Robusta”).
These two make up for more than 90% of the coffee beans traded or sold around the world.
The ones you see in shelves of grocery stores mostly are Robusta coffee beans while the ones you see in specialty coffee shops are Arabica coffee beans.
Now, that we know what types of coffee beans are sold in shops, let us take a look at the difference between the two so the next time you go and buy your beans, you could be more aware of what fits your taste or coffee needs.
Arabica Coffee Beans
This type of coffee bean is often referred to as the premium coffee of the world and makes up for more than 70% of the world’s coffee consumption. The reason is simple as it produces the most complex flavors and aromas.
What adds to its more expensive price compared with other types or brands that don’t use Arabica is because this type is more fragile as the beans fall to the ground and spoil easily so constant care is required for this coffee bean to survive.
Arabica coffee beans are also more susceptible to attack from pests and can’t stand extreme cold or hot temperatures. The ideal temperature range for an Arabica tree is from 60 to 74 degrees fahrenheit (15 to 24° celcius). The tree grows best in higher altitudes ranging from 3000 to 6000 feet.
As for the taste of the Arabica, the extra care that coffee farmers have for this coffee bean give it a very rich flavor and extra complexity in taste.
It is mild, aromatic and rarely bitter. Arabica coffee beans do have a wider range of flavor as they can be sweet-soft or sharp-tangy. They have better aromas too when not yet roasted as some even compare it to the smell of blueberries.
When it comes to caffeine content, Arabica coffee beans contain about have the caffeine of Robusta with just 1.1 percent.
Robusta Coffee Beans
How many coffee brand names do you see when you enter a supermarket? There must be over 15 right? Most probably 2/3 of those are Robusta beans, or what most of us know as “instant coffee” as this is what most large coffee companies use. They’re cheaper than Arabica beans because their tree is more stable.
This type of coffee bean come from Robusta coffee plants, which are easier to grow and maintain. They don’t fall to the ground unlike the Arabica beans and they’re not that susceptible to extreme changes in weather. The coffee beans and plant are referred to its hardiness and grows very well at sea level.
The taste of the Robusta coffee beans has more body but is bitter compared with Arabica. This coffee bean is also known for its paper-bag flavor and for its burnt rubber flavor.
Not to add insult to injury (rubber flavor?), it is also mostly used as fillers for large coffee companies’ blends as this comes cheaper.
The good things about is that caffeine content of Robusta is about 2.2 percent, which is almost double the caffeine found in Arabica beans. So people looking for a good coffee fix and is used to taking lots of caffeine everyday, would be more inclined to drink Robusta.
Arabica VS Robusta: What to buy?
There are, of course, exception to the rules, and it may look like Arabica coffee beans are always the more superior coffee type bean of choice but when you compare a low grade Arabica against a high quality Robusta, it is safe to just go and try the latter.
There are some espresso blends that use Robusta because it has more strength and it gives better crema.
Among the types of coffee beans, we recommend buying Arabica coffee beans because of its high quality and when buying coffee beans in stores ask if it’s 100% Arabica or AA. But here’s the great thing about coffee, there are a lot of blends out there from different parts of the world that use the two basic types of coffee beans. Some may have stronger Arabica, while some may have little and so on.
Go out and try small batches of freshly ground coffee from different specialty coffee shops or brand names to know more about the different blends, roast types, grinds, and combination they offer.
In the end, it’s not about restricting yourself with just one type of coffee bean or blend but knowing the different mix and roasts out there.
These are just technical stuff and what’s important is you like what you are drinking. Coffee tickle your palette! They will thank you for mixing it up every now and then.
Enjoy trying different coffee blends from the two most popular types of coffee beans.