Arabica coffee beans vs robusta information? You’ve come to the right place. Coffee beans are the seeds of berries that grow on evergreen shrubs called Coffee Plants. There are two types of beans-Arabica and Robusta.
Arabica is the most popular bean used in coffee production. Still, it’s also the type that’s grown at lower altitudes because it can be more sensitive to weather changes than Robusta.
Arabica beans are grown at elevations of 3,000 to 6,000 feet. Robusta beans grow best at elevations below 3,000 feet. Arabica is often more delicate than Robusta and roasts lighter in color and with a more subtle flavor than the earthy tones of Robusta.
Coffee Bean Types
There are two types of beans-Arabica and Robusta. To understand the differences between arabica vs robusta beans, we need to look at the variables. They can both be used to create coffee, but Arabica is the most commonly used type. Here are the similarities and differences:
- Varieties: There are over 1700 varieties of Arabica; there are only two varieties of Robusta.
- Flavor: Arabica is the best bean for quality coffee because it’s high quality, making it more expensive than Robusta. It typically tastes smoother, less bitter, and less acidic than Robusta. It also has a more decadent aroma and odor.
- Caffeine Content: Robusta coffee has a higher level of caffeine, typically preferred by people looking for an extra boost in energy.
- Growing: Robusta has a much more bitter taste because it’s grown at lower altitudes where the growing cycle is longer, and there are fewer opportunities for rainfall.
- Harvesting: The harvesting process is different for Arabica beans due to their higher sensitivity to moisture levels in the air. Typically, they’re harvested later in the year when moisture levels are lower to avoid mold.
- Processing: The processing methods are the same for both types of beans, but Robusta typically needs to be processed more than Arabica because it’s grown at lower altitudes where the growing cycle is longer, and there are fewer opportunities for rainfall.
Don’t worry; I’m going to talk a bit more about each so that you can get the whole story.
Varieties Of Arabica Versus Robusta Beans
If you want to know about the arabica bean or the robusta coffee plant varieties, we’ll need to go over some of the Arabica vs Robusta bean types and how they differ.
Arabica belongs to the Coffea family, and there are also two types: Hard Arabica and Soft Arabica.
Hard Arabica (also known as Typica)
Hard Arabicas have been cultivated since the 1800s and are cultivated at higher altitudes. They have a more delicate taste with fruity, winey notes because they contain less caffeine than other types of beans.
In general, hard Arabica’s have a better flavor profile for espressos because they’re sweet and balance the bitter notes of coffee.
Soft Arabica (also known as Excelsa)
Soft Arabicas have been cultivated since the 1400s and are also grown at higher altitudes. They have a rich, round taste with chocolatey notes that can be savory as well as sweet, making them better for brewing methods where you’re not filtering out the coffee oils.
Soft Arabicas are more sensitive to weather changes than hard Arabicas, have a lower yield, and are less resistant to insects. Their taste is also sweeter with fruity flavors like Arábica do Sul’s Catuaí Valley‘s coffee berries.
Top Ten Varieties of Arabica Beans
- Sao Tome
- Ethiopian Harrar
- Kenya AA
- French Bourbon
- Sumatra Mandheling
- Jamaica Blue Mountain
- Espresso Blend #9
- Arabica Espresso Blend #3
- Georges Orleans Finca El Injerto
- Java Supremo
These are all different types of Arabica. Many people have their favorites when it comes to coffee, but I’ll just give you the top ten most popular in the world. The good news is they’re all delicious in their unique way!
I’m not going to go into specifics about them because there’s already tons of information out there. I’ll just give you an example of their quality and characteristics if that makes sense.
- Sao Tome: This is a very earthy bean with flavors like honey, nuts, and berries. It’s also the slowest roasting bean (meaning it takes longer to prepare for consumption) because it burns easier than other beans.
- Ethiopian Harrar: This coffee has a spicy and smoky flavor with oranges and black tea notes in its finish. The finish is the last taste you experience before swallowing your cup of coffee.
- Kenya AA: This bean is very fruity, not bitter, commonly enjoyed as an after-dinner treat.
- French Bourbon: This Bean is very rich and velvety with a strong body. It’s often used for espresso blends.
- Sumatra Mandheling: This bean has an earthy taste that the Sumatran people swear by. People who don’t like a dark roast or French Roast might want to try this one out.
- Jamaica Blue Mountain: This bean is pretty hard to come by and has a very smoky taste with grapefruit notes in the finish. People who prefer medium roast should definitely try this one out.
- Espresso Blend #9: This blend of Arabica beans goes well with a pour-over style coffee machine or filter coffee. It has a vibrant but balanced flavor that goes well with milk or cream.
- Arabica Espresso Blend #3: This bean is more of an Arabica Robusta coffee blend because it’s not as strong, though some people prefer this blend (I tend to like the other one better myself). It still tastes yummy even though it’s not 100% Arabica.
- Georges Orleans Finca El Injerto: This bean has a robust, smoky taste with hints of lemon and grapefruit in the finish. It’s often enjoyed at breakfast time or after dinner like Jamaican Blue Mountain.
- Java Supremo: This is another bean that’s often enjoyed after dinner or with milk. It has a very rich, balanced flavor, so it pairs well with both.
So now you know about the top ten most popular Arabica beans in the world! Just like I said before, there are so many types out there that I couldn’t even begin to mention them all in this article. Let’s move on to Robusta coffee varieties next.
The Robusta coffee plant belongs to the Coffea family, and there are two types of plants: Hard Robusta and Soft Robusta.
Hard Robustas have been cultivated since the 1830s and are grown at lower altitudes up to 2000 feet. They’re more bitter than Arabica coffee, so they’re best used in coffee blends because they balance the acidity of Arabicas. Coffee made with hard Robustas is often described as ‘heavy’ and harsh tasting.
Soft Robustas have been cultivated since the 1500s and are grown at lower altitudes up to 3000 feet. Soft Robustas are more acidic than Hard Robusta, but the acidity levels depend on where they’re grown and how ripe they are when harvested. Coffee made with soft Robustas is described as ‘light’ and acidic.
Both Robusta beans produce similar flavors when used in coffee production because the growing cycle is shorter at lower altitudes, resulting in a faster-growing season. They’re also ripe longer than other coffee beans.
Robusta coffee beans are often used in instant coffee because they contain more caffeine than Arabica and provide a more robust, more bitter flavor that can replace added sugars or creamers. However, in some countries like Germany where you’ll find Robusta coffee brewed as an espresso with sugar and cream.
Coffee from a Robusta bean is also favored in Eastern Europe, where they drink coffee almost like most countries drink tea.
Flavor Differences Between Arabica Coffee And Robusta
Although Arabica and Robusta beans are different, they both produce similar flavors when used in coffee production. There are a few known differences; however, the differences in the varieties within each group are typically more significant than the differences from one group to another, or at least they can be. Here’s the basic rundown:
Robusta coffee is a type of coffee that is grown at higher altitudes and can withstand harsher weather. It has a higher caffeine content than Arabica coffee, which means it is more suited for those who need a potent pick-me-up in the morning. Robusta beans can contain twice as much caffeine as Arabica coffee.
Arabica beans are prized for their floral aroma and subtle nuttiness, but they lack the bitterness of Robusta beans. They are low in caffeine, making them perfect for those who want to drink coffee throughout the day without getting jittery or having heart palpitations from too many cups of coffee after dinner.
Caffeine Content Of Arabica Coffee Vs Robusta
As we just mentioned, there’s more caffeine in Robusta than Arabica. Let’s get a little more detail about this.
Caffeine level in Arabica coffee- Arabica has about 1/3 less caffeine than Robusta.
Caffeine level in Robusta coffee – Robusta coffee can contain twice as much caffeine as Arabica depending on where it’s grown and the growing time.
Robusta beans are more acidic than Arabicas, and as such, they produce a harsher flavor than Arabica. Arabica is more rich and complex than Robusta.
Growing Differences For Arabica Versus Robusta Plants
Coffee grown at high altitudes tends to taste better than coffee grown at lower altitudes.
It usually takes longer for them to grow at higher altitudes, and there are fewer opportunities for rainfall.
Arabica coffee is the type preferred for quality coffee because it’s high quality, and it’s also the type that is usually grown at higher altitudes because it can handle the weather changes and lower temperatures better than Robusta.
Robusta coffee beans are grown at lower altitudes (below 3000 feet) because they can be more tolerant to weather conditions there. It’s also the type grown in countries like Brazil, Vietnam, and Indonesia as it requires a hot climate.
Several varieties are also grown in Central America, where the volcanic-rich soil and the low altitudes farms with hot climates do many coffee varieties well.
Although Coffee Plants produce different flavors depending on where they’re grown, it’s typically true that coffee beans produced at higher altitudes are of better quality because the growing cycle is longer with fewer opportunities for rainfall. It creates a more potent taste without being washed out.
Harvesting Differences For Arabica Versus Robusta Plants
Knowing the differences in harvesting arabica coffee species and robusta plant species, as well as processing, can help you understand the best way to deliver maximum taste for our coffee consumption preferences as coffee aficionados.
Arabica coffee beans are typically harvested later in the year when there’s less chance for mold. At the same time, Robusta coffee doesn’t have as high of a level of sensitivity to weather changes so that it can be harvested earlier.
In order to harvest Arabica coffee beans, the process begins with strip picking. It is one of the most popular methods of harvesting coffee beans.
It means that they pick all of the ripe beans at once, rather than picking them individually as they do with other branches on the coffee plant. Some farms use different kinds of tools to knock or shake loose, ripe beans from branches, but others still use handpicking methods to remove ripe beans from branches one at a time.
When handpicking is used, all of the ripe beans in any one branch are harvested at once, and then they’re sorted by size and weight.
After sorting through each kind of bean, they’re set out on tarps to dry before roasting them individually.
In order to harvest Robusta plants, pickers can pick the ripe fruit by hand or they can use tools to shake them off of the plant.
They’re then taken directly to a processing station where they are stripped from their shells, which are discarded immediately to prevent mold that might affect the beans.
Depending on how fresh Robusta tastes you prefer, some people choose to roast them right away while others allow the Robusta to sit for a few days. The longer they’re allowed to sit, the more freshness is lost, therefore producing a harsher flavor profile than other coffee beans.
Robusta beans are often used in instant coffees and low-grade blends because less of them are needed to produce a proper blend that tastes good enough to drink.
Even though Robusta coffee has a harsher flavor profile, it’s still popular because of its low price point compared to Arabica beans.
Differences Between Brewing Arabica And The Bitter Robusta
The processing methods are similar, but Robusta typically needs to be processed more because it’s grown at lower altitudes where the growing cycle is longer, and there are more opportunities for rainfall.
Brewing coffee with Arabica plants will generally create a lighter, less acidic taste. Arabica beans are the most popular beans used in coffee production. On the other hand, Robusta-derived coffees are typically brewed to produce a darker roast with a more pungent, more bitter taste.
How To Brew Arabica Coffee For Optimal Taste
We found this great Arabica coffee brewing recipe; take a look:
- Grease your machine with a bit of oil to keep the machine clean and prevent flavor transfer.
- Measure out 245ml of water. Put it on a gram scale and tare it to zero; this will give you the weight of the water you’re adding, so you don’t have to figure that out.
- Add 5g of ground Arabica coffee and give it a good mix for 15 seconds.
- Close lid and go!
How To Brew Robusta Coffee For Optimal Taste
The Robusta beans are boiled in water before they’re ground up. The result is an aromatic, strong-tasting coffee that has more caffeine than the other varieties.
If you want to make a cup of robusta coffee, it’s essential to use one tablespoon of finely ground coffee for every 6 ounces of water. You should heat the coffee until it’s boiling before it’s removed from the heat. It’s then left to boil for another 20-30 seconds and then retaken off the heat.,
The coffee is then left to “brew” for at least three minutes before it’s served.
The Robusta beans are boiled twice because boiling them siphons out most of their fats and oils, resulting in a bitter flavor. By boiling the same amount of ground coffee twice, you’re essentially doubling its volume and concentrating its flavor.
It results in the strong taste favored by many people who drink coffee, especially if it’s mixed with milk or cream.
When you’re making a pot of coffee with Robusta beans, use more of them than you would for Arabica. Consider two tablespoons per cup instead of 1 tablespoon. The extra quantity is necessary to produce the same depth of flavor that’s associated with Arabica beans.
Conclusion Of Arabica Coffee Vs. Robusta Coffee
Arabica and Robusta plants both produce good-tasting coffee with their own unique flavor profiles. Still, they’ve grown in significantly different climates that take into account altitude, weather conditions, and harvesting methods.
Robusta coffee is more acidic than Arabica, which means it tastes harsher when brewed, but its plentiful availability makes it much easier to produce coffee in bulk quantities.
Arabica is the type of plant that produces quality beans because its higher altitude environment is more suited to this type.
Arabicas are also more sensitive to weather changes, but they’re picked later in the season when there’s less chance of them getting mildew.
Their less acidic flavor profile makes them ideal for blending with other coffees from different regions and altitudes because it tends to complement other flavors rather than overpower them.
In general, Robusta is the type of bean that has a higher caffeine level, but it’s typically chosen for its more bitter taste profile and lower price point.