Robusta vs Arabica Coffee Beans: What Sets Them Apart?
Any casual coffee lovers can mention Arabica and Robusta, but do they know the difference between Robusta and Arabica coffee beans? Coffee is generally grouped in Coffea genus, with only two species consumed by humans: Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora (Robusta).
Despite being the only two consumable species from the same genus, Arabica and Robusta differ in many ways. If you are a true coffee lover, make sure to learn their major differences, seen from several important aspects.
Table of Contents
From the Taste
Arabica and Robusta have different growing conditions, which result in different flavor profiles. Arabica coffee is generally considered superior, with high acidity and crisp taste. A cup of well-made Arabica coffee may offer a fruity, tangy, or sweet flavor profile, and it is usually more complex and balanced than Robusta. These characteristics make Arabica coffee flavor able to stand on its own.
On the contrary, Robusta coffee tends to be earthier and heavier, making it less desirable than Arabica. The sometimes-undesirable flavor results from the production of chlorogenic acids, a natural protection against disease and pests. This defense mechanism makes Robusta hardy but can compromise the flavor.
From the Caffeine Content
Arabica vs. Robusta caffeine, who wins? Despite the less favorable profile, Robusta has more caffeine than Arabica. The caffeine content in Robusta is around 2.7 percent, while Arabica only holds 1.5 percent. The production of chlorogenic acids in Robusta contributes to this extra kick.
Robusta is a better choice for making instant coffee, blend additives, and other coffee products thanks to the combination of heavier flavor and higher caffeine levels.
From the Coffee Bean Growing Conditions
Robusta is considered hardier species than Arabica, and it is true. Growing on low elevations and even the sea level, Robusta is less susceptible to disease and pests. The fruits are hardier, making them cheaper and a better option for coffee product manufacturing.
Meanwhile, the more delicious Arabica is also the delicate one. It grows at a higher elevation than Robusta (more than 600 meters above sea level) and is usually cultivated in tropical regions. Arabica is more susceptible to pests and disease, making it more expensive.
Also Read: Best Climate For Growing Coffee, There are Interesting Facts
From the Sugar Content
What makes many people prefer the flavor of Arabica as a standalone coffee drink? One cause is the sugar content; Arabica has higher sugar content than Robusta. It has twice sugar concentration level, which is also responsible for releasing important aromatic compounds during roasting.
Sugar content also contributes to Arabica’s heavier “body” in the flavor profile. It is thanks to the higher soluble that dissolves in making coffee drink.
From the Physical Characteristics of Coffee Beans
Can you tell the difference between Robusta and Arabica coffee beans just by looking? Turn out you can! But only if you pay real attention to the individual beans.
If you place Arabica and Robusta coffee beans side by side, you will notice that Robusta is slightly rounder. Arabica has a more oval-like shape, which gives it a slender appearance.
You can also notice the difference between their brown colors. Robusta has a darker brown shade, while Arabica is lighter.
Cultivations of Robusta VS Arabica Beans
Around 75 to 80 percent of coffee production in the world consists of Arabica, thanks to its more favorable flavor. However, Robusta is also a precious commodity because of its many uses.
According to the statistics of coffee producers from 2003 to 2021, Brazil is still the largest producer in the world. It produces around 3,556,000 metric tons of coffee annually, with Arabica dominating 69 percent of that.
Vietnam is the second largest producer in the world, coming with 1,830,000 metric tons. However, 95 percent of those beans are dominated by Robusta.
Robusta VS Arabica Coffee Beans: Which One Is Better?
While Arabica has a smoother, crisper, and more complex flavor compared to Robusta, it does not mean one coffee type is “better” than the other.
Arabica is a great blend that gives you a wonderful coffee-drinking experience. Depending on the origins, you can experience variations in flavor profiles, from floral to fruity and even chocolate-like.
On the other hand, Robusta is not only good as instant coffee. It is a preferred bean for espresso and other beverages, like cappuccino and café latte. Robusta can give espresso the sought-out crema and kick thanks to its higher caffeine content and heavier flavor.
Therefore, when comparing Arabica and Robusta, it is not about which one is “better” but more like “how you will use them.”
Also Read: Green Coffee Vs Black Coffee, Different and Which One is Better?
In conclusion, Arabica and Robusta differ in many aspects, such as flavor profiles, caffeine level, hardiness, cultivations, and sugar level. However, they are useful for many uses, from traditional brewing to quick instant coffee and various coffee recipes. The most important thing is getting the best quality beans.
FnB Tech is the best Indonesian supplier of high-quality Arabica and Robusta beans. After knowing the difference between Robusta and Arabica coffee beans, make sure you order only the best beans from this supplier to get the most out of them!