Arabica and Robusta coffee beans are varietals, varieties of commercially grown coffee for consumption. They are also two totally different species of coffee beans. The differences between the two are in the taste of each, which come from the conditions that each are grown under, and from the economical differences of the areas they are grown.

The differences between the two coffees can be thought of in the same matter one thinks of the difference in the taste of plum tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and of beefsteak tomatoes. With each coffee having unique qualities of their own, such as its hardness, caffeine content, taste, and its purpose. Also, each has a variation within the different varieties.

All Coffees Have a Different Taste

The Arabica coffees tend to have a wide range of different taste between the different varieties. The taste range from a sweet & soft to sharp & tangy. Before they are roasted, coffee beans sometimes have a smell similar to that of blueberries or other fragrances of fruits. When a dry or semi-drying process is being used, a roasted has a smell that is perfumery, having a lot of fruity flavors and sugary tones. This is why many of the flavors are left intact, making them the best to use for white roasted coffee beans.

Since Robusta has a range in taste that is neutral and harsh, they will often be described as having a grain like taste similar to oatmeal. However, others describe them as having a taste of burnt rubber, while usually having a smell of raw peanuts before roasting. Though rare, the higher quality Robusta’s that are on the market are reserved for coffee containing espressos.

Climates Needed for Growing Arabica vs Robusta

Arabica coffee beans are delicate, requiring cooler subtropical climates that has a lot of moisture, soil that is rich, and both, sun and shade. They are vulnerable to being mistreated, as well as to a variety of different pests. They must be grown at an elevation of 600 to 2,000 meters.

Whereas, Robusta plants are tougher and have the ability to grow at lower altitudes of only 200 to 800 meters. They are not as apt to problems related to being mistreated or to pests. Also, Robusta plants produce more of the finished goods, with the production cost being lower.

Economics

During the course of the past 150 years, the relative values of Arabica, as opposed to Robusta beans have been determined by the customs and trade, as well as supply and demands. In general, the best coffees will be Arabica. Meanwhile, the highest quality coffee blends are those of pure Arabica. However, these are also the coffees with a higher price tag.

Typically, in the United States, one will find Arabica coffee beans in a coffee store or specialty shop. However, the Robusta coffee beans will be found in cans at the supermarket. As a matter of fact, the jars of instant coffee are nearly always that of Robusta.

Home of Arabica Coffee Beans

Italy is the home of espressos, and there you will find that the highest quality brands available will be pure Arabica. Whereas, their popular priced coffee’s will be blended with Robusta beans, the same as they are in the U.S. Robusta beans can be found in many of the Italian brands for sale in the United States. When being “imported from Italy” an ordinary the quality is considered ‘gourmet’.

The coffee which a person chooses is considered to be a personal thing, whether you prefer an Arabica blend or you are content with something else. It is up to the individual what flavor they like, and that is alright. A big thank you goes out to the specialty coffee movement. Now, the American marketplace is rich in different species, varieties, roast types and blends. In addition, various types of brews, and grinds. The coffee price points can satisfy everyone’s taste and their pocketbook as well.

To avoid getting caught up in an Arabica vs. Robusta debate, simply remember between a low quality Arabica bean and a high quality Robusta bean, the Robusta is likely the inferior bean. Most of the great espresso blends are going to be using Robusta, for the benefits of its strength and crema.

However, not all Arabica coffees are of equal quality by default. More than 70% of the worlds coffee is Arabica. However, a lot of it is nothing more than garbage, so one should not just assume that they are buying quality coffee just because they are buying Arabica coffee.

Espresso blends, is it Arabica or Robusta?

Another thing that should be mentioned is that Robusta coffee beans have approximately two times the amount of caffeine compared to Arabica. These factors might be important to those who like their espressos. In fact, it takes a high pressure to make espresso shots, with a low contact time in creating the intense flavor in a small cup of 1-2 fluid ounces of coffee. Which does not leave time to extract the caffeine, so a shot of espresso will usually contain 30 to 50 milligrams of caffeine, compared to a full cup of coffee that contains 100 to 200 milligrams of caffeine.

In order to add the caffeine content to espresso blends so that they have a level that ranges from 15% to 30%, Robusta beans are used. Robusta have the added advantage because of a higher crema production compared to Arabica.

What is your favorite type of coffee? Share in the comments below!