Arabica or Robusta Coffee Beans...The Difference!
Coffee is grown around the world and we all have a preference for coffee from a certain region. Have you looked at the package your coffee comes in and seen where it says 100% Arabica Coffee? Did the package say 100% Coffee? Maybe it mentioned being blended or having a High Caffeine content? These statements help to give us some insight to what coffee bean(s) was used for the particular coffee you are using. It really comes down to coffee being Arabica, Robusta, or a blend of the two coffee beans.
Coffee is from the plant family Rubiacea, which makes up around 450 genera and about 6,500 species worldwide. The genus is Coffea and this genus has about 100 species in it. Only a couple of these species are viable for commercial production and farming. The two major species commercially produced are Coffea Arabica and Coffea Canephora (Robusta). Roughly 70% of the world coffee production is Arabica and 25% is Robusta. Coffee shrubs can grow to the size of medium trees or be pruned down to shrubs. They produce cherries, or fruit, that has two seeds (beans) inside. There isn't much "fruit" in the cherries as most of the space is taken up by the beans. Both Arabica and Robusta look about the same once roasted, but their flavor and caffeine characteristics are quite different!
Coffea Arabica has 60% more lipids and almost twice the sugar concentration of Coffea Robusta, which is a major reason most people like the flavor of Arabica coffee.
Coffea Arabica flavors are normally described as sweeter, softer taste, berries, fruit, sugar tones, higher acidity, winey taste.
Coffea Robusta flavors are normally described as stronger flavor, grain-like notes, harsher taste, earthy, peanut aftertaste, rubbery.
Most Specialty Coffee or Craft Coffee uses Arabica coffee beans. The flavors are complex and with selection and roasting techniques, very unique flavors can be extracted. But there are some blends that are targeted towards those wanting a major caffeine boost. These are loaded with Robusta coffee beans. Robusta coffee beans can have 50 to 80% more caffeine than Arabica coffee beans. Many espresso blends and Italian blends use Robusta beans. It's said the Robusta beans are great for deep flavors and a good crema for espressos!
Bonus: Almost all Instant Coffee is made from Robusta Coffee Beans. And Arabica Coffee beans are usually considered higher quality compared to Robusta Coffee beans. But this is not always the case. High-end Robusta Coffee beans are usually considered better than most low-end Arabica Coffee beans and some mid-level Arabica Coffee beans.
Next time you are looking at the labels of the coffee at your local spot, you'll be able to understand the differences, like 100% Arabica, 100% Coffee, High Caffeine, and Blended.
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