Bean Talk: The Difference Between Arabica & Robusta Coffee Beans


As usual, we're talking coffee with this bean talk. If you are new to the gourmet coffee culture or if you just happen to be curious why everyone seems to be advertising "100% Arabica" on their coffee products, we're here to clarify it for you.

So first, let's make something clear. There are two very broad species of coffee plants: robusta and arabica.

The robusta plants are a more hearty crop that can grow at lower elevations, require less water and do not require a high soil quality. Robusta beans also contain twice the caffeine of arabica beans and are very pest-resistant.

Arabica coffee beans are more delicate. Growing at high elevations, arabica plants require a lot of water and need specific soil qualities to flourish. Arabica beans are less caffeinated and are more susceptible to pests.

So the robusta plant is far superior, biologically speaking, to the arabica plant except for one key factor: taste. Robusta coffees tend to taste burnt and bitter when roasted. Due to their flavour profile, most high quality coffee roasters have eliminated these beans from their blends and their offerings. I have not encountered a roaster that sells a single origin robusta coffee bean yet, but when I do, I'll post about how drinking it almost killed me.

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