You’ve likely heard of arabica coffee before because it makes up about 75 percent of the coffee drank around the world. But if you want more info on the delicious coffee you’re drinking, we’re diving into all things arabica coffee and its similarities and differences to robusta.
What is arabica coffee?
To get a little 8th grade science class on you for a minute, arabica coffee beans come from the Coffea arabica plant, which originated in Ethiopia. They have a fairly high acidity, which can give your coffee a sweeter taste. There are some different types of arabica coffee beans, like typica, kona, and villalobos – but not robusta. Arabica and robusta sometimes get confused, but they’re pretty different.
What is robusta coffee?
Robusta coffee beans come from the Coffea canephora plant, which originated throughout Africa. While arabica is sweeter, robusta is bitter. It gets a bad rap for sometimes tasting burnt. Robusta is usually used for instant coffee or in blends of ground coffee. It’s easier to grow and less delicate than arabica, so it can be cheaper and more widely available in stores.
Arabica vs. robusta
So arabica is sweeter and robusta is more bitter, and they have quite a few more differences. Arabica beans are more oval, and robusta beans are rounder. Robusta has much more caffeine than arabica. Arabica has a higher sugar content and 60 percent more lipids. Robusta can be easier to find because it’s cheaper and easier to produce. Arabica can have more complex and diverse flavors. High quality robusta makes a delicious traditional espresso.
Neither arabica nor robusta is necessarily more high quality than the other.There can be low quality arabica just as much as high quality robusta. So the taste and quality can really depend on the coffee brand.
Which bean is best?
That’s up for you to decide. If you prefer sweeter, more delicate coffee, arabica is probably the one for you. It can sometimes taste almost fruity, and we know that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea coffee. But if you prefer harsher coffee and if you’re working a night shift or your kids kept you up all night, robusta’s higher caffeine is probably what you need. Or if you don’t want to choose between the two, you can always get a blend.