Robusta & Arabica Coffee: 10 Notable Differences

You may have seen that certain coffee bag tags talk big about the point that their coffee beans are 100% Arabica. Though it hums a bit like the magician’s words, it isn’t babble – it denotes the type of coffee species in which the beans are from.

Over 100 coffee species are there, however, the two topmost ones that are widely cultivated and traded are Coffea Arabica and Coffea Canephora (also famous as Coffea Robusta).

Here’s a list featuring the major 10 differences between the two coffee types:

  1. The most usually known: Taste. Often Robusta has its taste like that of burnt tires or rubbery, which sounds terrible (can you think one of our taste samples on the front page being a burnt tire?). Why the bad taste? One cause that the taste isn’t as good for Robusta is that it possess more caffeine compared to that of Arabica.
    This may seem like a positive thing but caffeine brings a bitter taste which makes it an unpleasant drink. In fact, the Robusta bean has 2.7% caffeine content, almost twice the 1.5% of Arabica.
  2. Lipid & Sugar content: Arabica has 60% more lipids and double the amount of sugar than the Robusta. This factor also perhaps has a big wave on why we prefer the taste of Arabica.
  3. From the price angle, Robusta green beans are about half the price of Arabica green beans on the product market.
  4. Robusta is cooler to grow on the farm, has a greater harvest, and is less sensitive to insects – the additional caffeine is a chemical defense for the coffee seed as the content in the Robusta is fatal to microbes. All of these factors benefit bring up the supply and lower the input costs for farmers to yield.With this more eye-catching price point, a lot of roasters back in the day would add Robusta to their blend in an effort to reduce their costs and raise their profits. When coffee was firstly merchandized in the 1900s, the quality of coffee gradually faded in an effort for enterprises to squeeze the maximum profit.
  5. Where you’ll find it: Nowadays, it’s not often you’ll discover Robusta in a coffee mixture. Sipping instant coffee? Well, that’s probably all Robusta… but you may don’t care very much about the taste. In your espresso blend? That’s a diverse bag, literally. Robusta is still chiefly used as part of espresso blends – especially the Italian-style blends. It is said to support improving the Crema.One thing to mark is despite the association with Arabica of being greater quality, and Robusta being lesser quality, it’s not always the instance. Top-end specialty Robusta coffee will generally taste as decent as or better than low-end Arabica. However, high-end Robusta isn’t widely used or accessible. Rather, Robusta is typically used as a stuffing or cost-reducer.
  6. The Shape: Robusta beans are much more round, whereas Arabica is more oval.
  7. Plant Height: Arabica plants grow from 2.5 to 4.5 meters whereas the Robusta coffee plants nurture from 4.5 to 6 meters in height.
  8. Chlorogenic acid (CGA) content: It’s an important antioxidant and an insect deterrent. Robusta contains 7 to 10% CGA and Arabica comprises 5.5 to 8% CGA.
  9. Coffee Production: Almost 75% of the world’s coffee-making is Arabica, about 25% being Robusta. Here’s the Arabica Coffee Production Chart as per the latest reports.

In 2020-21, global Arabica coffee production amounted to around 102.1 million 60 kilogram bags and about 70 million 60 kilogram bags of Robusta coffee were produced during the period.

Brazil is the leading Arabica producer and Vietnam harvests the most Robusta.

Ethiopia- the home land of Coffee Arabica that gifted the world with the coffee species that we drink the most today, is the largest coffee producer in the Africa. The nation also accounts for around 4.3% of the worldwide coffee market.

In addition to these, Ethiopia ranked 5th in the world’s total coffee production and raised to the 3rd position in producing the fresh and pure Arabica coffee of 2018–2019 year, just edging out Honduras, which had bagged its place from Ethiopia in the 2016–2017 marketing year.

In a nutshell

Coffee is the most beloved and consumed beverage around the world and Arabica is the most relished species of coffee. Arabica coffee – that originated from the highlands of Ethiopia, has a smoother, sweeter taste with flavors of chocolate and sugar. They often give hints of fruits or berries that made Arabica the most prominent cultivar in the world. Robusta, on the other hand, comprises a stronger, harsher and bitter taste with grainy or rubbery overtones, but can be cultivated easily.