Difference Between Arabica and Robusta

Arabica vs Robusta
 

Though sounding alien, Arabica and Robusta are two major species or types of coffee grown and consumed around the world. Most people only think of espresso or their home made cup of coffee that gives them energy shot to begin their day. They are not even aware of these two species of coffee. To the uninitiated, it is hard to differentiate between these two coffee varieties as they are very similar. However, there are differences in taste and aroma, in addition to other differences, which will be talked about in this article.

Robusta

Nearly one fifth of the coffee produced and consumed in the world is Robusta. The origins of these coffee beans are traced to Ethiopia and western and central Africa are considered indigenous areas for this coffee variety. It was recognized as a coffee variety only as late as 19th century. It happens to be a flowering plant with two sub varieties called Nganda and Robusta. The plant grows to be a robust shrub of around 10m height and its flowers produce cherries that upon ripening give coffee seeds. The plant is strong and not susceptible to pests. This is why it requires very little pesticide.

Today, Vietnam is the country that produces maximum quantity of Robusta coffee though Brazil is the largest producer of coffee in the world.

Arabica

Coffee Arabica is a very popular type of coffee that is believed to be indigenous to Arabia. It is also referred to as Mountain coffee as it is grown in the mountains of Ethiopia. Though it contains less caffeine, Coffee Arabica is considered very tasty by coffee lovers around the world. This is a white flowering plant that grows to a height of 9-12 meters. The fruit is red colored and upon ripening, gives two coffee seeds.

Arabica vs Robusta

• Arabica is considered to be more flavorful than Robusta

• Nearly 20% of the world’s coffee production is that of Robusta

• Robusta is more bitter in taste than Arabica which is why Arabica is grown much more than Robusta. This is because of higher caffeine content in Robusta.

• Robusta is used to make instant coffee

• As the name indicates, Robusta is robust and requires much less pesticide than Arabica

• The cultivation and harvest of Robusta is more mechanized than Arabica. This means Arabica cultivation generates more employment opportunities for local people

• Robusta grows at a lower altitude than Arabica that can grow at high altitudes of nearly 8000 feet.

• Robusta is less expensive than Arabica coffee

• Before they are roasted, Arabica beans are darker in a shade of green than Robusta beans

• Robusta beans are round in shape, whereas Arabica beans are elongated and have a flat shape

• Arabica has fruity flavor, whereas Robusta has earthy flavor

• Robusta is too strong to be sold as 100% Robusta, and it is available in blends

• Robusta has 2.2% caffeine, whereas Arabica has 1.2% caffeine