Differences Between Arabica and Robusta Coffee Beans
Indonesia is among the world’s top coffee producing countries, famous for having several specialty coffees such as “Kopi Mandailing” and “Kopi Luwak” (known as world’s most expensive coffee). Now, as one of the best and largest coffee bean producers in the world, people in Indonesia should’ve put on their learning caps and learn a thing or two about some bean facts!
Before anything, we need to take a trip back in time for a while to know on the origins of the coffee plant. It was discovered in Ethiopia in the 11th Century. It was called the “magical fruit” back then, which were boiled in water and the resulting concoction was thought to have medicinal properties. As it grows popular, the coffee plant journey soon will begin to spread to other lands.
As we know it already, coffee bean today is more popular for brewing to be drank than for medicinal purpose. There are over 100 coffee species, but the most well-known and sold around the world are Robusta and Arabica.
So what distinguishes one from the other type of coffee bean mentioned above? Of course, the most commonly is the taste. Robusta has a neutral to harsh taste range, with a peanutty aftertaste. They contain twice as much caffeine as Arabica beans, which can result to a more bitter taste compared to Arabica. Whereas Arabica tend to be sweeter, have a softer taste, with tones of sugar, fruit and berries. They are considered as the superior quality compared to Robusta. However some Robusta are of high quality and valued for their good crema and deep flavor.
Robusta is easier to tend to on the farm compared to Arabica. They can grow at lower altitudes, and less vulnerable to pests and the weather. On the contrary, Arabica coffee beans are fragile and must grow in cool, subtropical climates. They need a lot of moisture, rich soil, shade and sun.
Price-wise, definitely Arabica is pricier than Robusta because of those differences. But in the end, it’s a question of personal taste. Some people find Arabica blends are too floral; some of the rich, dark harshness of Robusta can be a good thing in a blend. So, it’s your choice!