Coffee Knowledge Base

15 February 2024

Arabica vs. Robusta coffee, what's the difference?

Arabica vs. Robusta coffee, what's the difference?

Welcome to the captivating universe of coffee, where the distinction between Arabica and Robusta beans shapes the very essence of your coffee cup. These two prominent varieties, each with its unique characteristics, offer coffee aficionados a diverse and enriching tasting experience. If you would like to know the difference between these two types of coffee beans, we advise you to keep reading below.

Arabica vs. Robusta coffee bean

Arabica: The Delicate Connoisseur

Arabica, claiming a dominant 70% share in global coffee sales, is the epitome of elegance and nuanced flavor. Originating from Abyssinia, Arabica is the oldest coffee plant, with its wild-grown roots in Ethiopia. Grown at higher altitudes, typically between 1,000–2,000 meters, Arabica demands a meticulous cultivation process characterized by finesse, monitoring, and care.

The mild days and cool nights in the high-altitude plantations contribute to Arabica's delicate and diverse flavor profile. With around 4 kg of berries needed to produce 1 kg of green coffee beans, Arabica requires time to mature fully and develop its rich flavor. The higher the altitude, the more time the coffee berries need to ripen, resulting in a distinct taste that varies based on the altitude of cultivation.

Arabica coffee is predominantly grown in the equatorial regions between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, spanning Central and South America, East Africa, and South East Asia. Renowned for its numerous flavor nuances, Arabica offers a vast array of varieties, some of which are cross-bred, leading to an ever-expanding spectrum of flavors. Despite the challenges in cultivation, Arabica's captivating taste and potential for innovation ensure it remains a favorite among coffee connoisseurs. If you want to know a little bit more about the Arabica coffee bean, make sure to read our blog 'Arabica coffee, what is it exactly?'.

Robusta: The Robust Powerhouse

Robusta, representing 30% of the world's coffee production, stands as a sturdy and resilient coffee bean. Thriving in regions like West and Central Africa and South East Asia, Robusta's solid bean structure is complemented by a robust flavor profile. With double the caffeine content of its counterpart Arabica, Robusta delivers a bold and intense brew, making it an ideal choice for those seeking a more robust coffee experience.

Resistant to various plant diseases and capable of withstanding tropical storms and extreme heat, Robusta is a hardy plant that contributes to the backbone of many coffee blends. Its strong, bitter taste with woody undertones adds depth to classic Italian coffees. While some may find its flavor less complex than Arabica, Robusta remains a compelling option, especially as coffee enthusiasts and roasters continue to explore the potential of this unique species.