The difference between Arabica and Robusta beans
Compare Arabica beans to Robusta beans
|Appearance||Oval, light brown, larger||Round, dark brown, smaller|
|Aroma||Refined, sweet, or sour||Strong, bitter|
|Amount of caffeine||Little||A lot of|
|Origin||High altitude, around the equator||Low-elevation regions, around the equator|
|Production||Labor intensive and expensive||Less labor intensive and more affordable|
The Arabica bean
An Arabica bean has an oval shape and is light brown. Moreover, it is larger than a Robusta bean.
The Robusta bean
A Robusta bean is rounder and smaller compared to an Arabica bean and it has a dark brown color.
Taste of Arabica beans
Arabica beans have an aromatic taste and often have fruity or floral notes These tend to be more sweet or sour than bitter. Coffee from 100% Arabica beans is seen by many as perfect thanks to its refined taste. The soil on which the coffee bean grows (terroir) strongly influences the taste of the coffee. For example, an Arabica bean from Brazil has very different flavor accents than an Arabica bean from Ethiopia.
Taste of Robusta beans
Robusta beans have a strong, round taste. The flavors vary from cereal to woody and are more bitter than sour. You hardly ever find coffee from 100% Robusta beans, as this would be much too bitter in terms of taste. Robusta is often added to a blend, because the fat content of the bean provides a nice crema and Robusta can add the right bitterness and some extra caffeine to a coffee blend. The taste of Robusta beans also depends strongly on the country of origin.
Origin of the Arabica bean
Arabica beans are grown at great heights. They grow on shrubs on which elongated pods grow that contain the coffee beans. Most Arabica beans are grown in regions around the equator. They grow there at heights between 1000 and 2000 meters. This makes production more expensive and labor-intensive, which makes the coffee more expensive.
Origin of the Robusta bean
In contrast to Arabica beans, Robusta beans grow in lower areas around the equator. They grow like small berries on large plants and are grown in fields. Because the plants grow lower, they are much more resistant to heat, moisture, and diseases. This makes them easier to grow and cheaper than Arabica beans.
Which one do you choose?
Which bean you choose depends on your taste and wishes. You'll probably never drink 100% Robusta coffee, as the rather bitter bean does not lend itself to this. If you go for 100% Arabica coffee, you will have a refined, somewhat sweet taste experience. The more Robusta is added to an Arabica, the stronger and more bitter it will taste. Moreover, Robusta contains more caffeine and whether you want that is up to you.