12 Differences between Arabica and Robusta coffees

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Ever wondered why so many packets of coffee beans and grounds at your local grocery store have '100% Arabica' boldy displayed on the packaging? Ever over-hear coffee lovers quarelling over coffee blends with added Robusta and not having a clue as to what they were talking about? Well, here are tweleve differences between Arabica and Robusta coffee beans that should clarify things just a little for you.

1. Taste

Possibly the most recognisable difference between these bean categories is that Robusta tends to have a more bitter and burnt taste in comparision to Arabica due to the higher amounts of both caffeine and chlorogenic acid (CGA) within the Robusta beans. Arabica tends to be sweeter than Robusta due to the higher sugar levels in the beans.

2. Flavour Profile

Arabica coffees generally have a flavour profile that can best be described as ranging from fruity to nutty with hints of caramel and chocolate. On the other habd, Robusta coffees tend to have flavour profiles which are more earthy with wood and grass notes.

3. Caffiene

Robusta coffee beans on average have a caffeine content of arround 2.7% (range: 1.8 - 4.0%), which is almost twice that of Arabica coffee beans, which on average contain about 1.5% of caffeine (Range: 0.9-1.4%).

4. Sugar

Arabica coffee beans contain on average about 60% more sugar than Robusta beans which contribute to both a sweeter flavour and more unique roast profiles.

SCAAPosterCoffeeTastersFlavorWheelImage: coffeebooks.com

5. Quality

Robust coffee beans are often regarded as being of a lower quality in comparision to Arabica coffee beans which are more sort after. Generally, Arabica coffee is grow for quality while Robusta is grown for quantity.

6. Antioxidants

Robusta coffee beans contain about 7-10% chlorogenic acid (CGA) which is an antioxidant found naturally in coffee. Arabica coffee beans contain less antioxidants, with only 5.5-8% CGA on average.

7. Price

On the commodity market, green Robusta coffee beans are on average half the price of Robusta coffee beans.

8. Shape and Size

Arabica coffee beans tend to have a slightly larger and more elliptical shape incomparision to Robusta coffee beans that are generally smaller in size and more round in shape.

9. Quantity

Around 70-75% of the world’s coffee production is Arabica, leaving 25-30% being Robusta coffee beans.

10. Location

Brazil is the most significant Arabica coffee bean producer and Vietnam produces the most Robusta.

coffee bean growing beltImage: coffeeforless.com

11. Cultivation

Robusta coffee beans are easier to grow, are more disease and insect resistant and can produce up to three times as much as Arabica coffee plants.

12. Signle Origins and Blends

Arabica coffees are usally used for single origin coffees and high quality blends while Robusta coffee beans are used as fillers in cheaper blends and instant coffees.

We hope these help demystify the differences between Arabica and Robusta coffee beans. Let us know in the comments below if there are any differences between these beans which we should consider adding to the list.




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Brendan Ihmig

Creating Success & Inspiring Significance; On Stage, In Business & Throughout Life | ★★★★★ Speaker & Consultant | President of the Professional Speakers Association of Namibia | Chairman of the Global Speakers Summit 2020


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