All coffee beans look pretty much the same once they’re roasted. What sets them apart is taste. When choosing a type of coffee for your daily java, only two types matter: Arabica and Robusta.
Where do they come from? Is one better than the other? What do they taste like?
Since we know there are many coffee lovers like us out there, we wanted to learn everything about these two coffee types. So we decided to create our own Arabica vs. Robusta coffee standoff.
Let’s get started.
Arabica vs. Robusta
So, is there a difference between these two coffee types? The quick answer: Yes.
In fact, they have more differences than similarities. The only thing they have in common is that they’re used to make delicious coffee.
Read on to learn about each type of coffee beans in more detail.
Robusta coffee beans have somewhat of a bitter aftertaste and strong flavor. They’re infused with grainy overtones that have an earthier aftertaste.
Many coffee experts seek out Robusta coffee beans for their rich, deep flavor. They’re especially valued for their flavorful crema when making espressos.
In 2019, the worldwide production of Robusta coffee came to about 73 million bags of 60 kilograms each. It’s predicted to increase to 74 million in the next market year.
Robusta coffee comes from Coffea canephora plants. They grow in Indonesia, Brazil, and some areas of Africa, such as Ethiopia.
These plants grow like vines with white flowers and berries that turn red when fully grown. Each berry contains two seeds, which mature into coffee beans.
The Robusta plants are able to grow large amounts of fruit in a short amount of time, even at low altitudes. They’re less susceptible to fluctuating weather conditions and harmful pests.
The Coffea Arabica plant looks like a large bush. As with other coffee plants, it also grows flowers and berries. The only drawback to this plant is that it takes nearly seven years to mature and begin producing fruit. It’s also more vulnerable to weather changes and pests.
Arabica coffee, also called ‘Arabian coffee,’ has a smoother, sweeter taste with subtle tones of sweet berries. It also contains twice the amount of natural sugars than Robusta and over 60% more lipids.
Fun fact: did you know that Arabica coffee is responsible for over 70% of the world’s coffee production? In 2019, Arabica coffee production reached almost 94 million bags, each weighing 60 kilograms. This number is expected to jump to over 100 million bags in the upcoming market year.
An important health benefit is that Arabica coffee beans are full of antioxidants. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, antioxidants can help lower your risk of chronic inflammatory diseases and infections.
Another health benefit is that Arabica contains less caffeine than Robusta coffee. In increased doses, caffeine can result in restlessness, anxiety, and insomnia. It’s also been proven to cause sudden spikes in blood pressure levels.
You’ll be surprised to know that Africa is one of the world’s leading coffee manufacturers in the world. Its coffee beans are highly valued by coffee connoisseurs for their distinctly rich and unique flavors.
What makes Africa such a coffee hub? For starters, its climate and geography are perfect for growing and cultivating coffee plants. Another reason is its deeply established legacy as a renounced coffee producer.
It’s believed that the beginnings of coffee originated in Ethiopia back in 850AD. Ethiopia is now the 5th largest coffee producer in the world. The top-selling Ethiopian coffee is the french roasted Yirgacheffe Kochere.
Kenya also has made a name for itself in the coffee world. Its coffee origins begin in the late 19th century. Since then, Kenya has managed to become the 16th biggest coffee producer in the world. One of Kenya’s highest grade coffee beans is called AA coffee.
How to Make Arabica Coffee
Here’s a simple yet delicious way to make Arabica coffee at home.
- Arabica coffee
- Cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves (optional)
Typically, sugar isn’t added to Arabica coffee because it already contains high amounts of sugars. Yet, some people prefer to sweeten it to help reduce acidity.
Using a Coffee Pot
Pour three cups of water into a coffee pot. Place it on the stove to boil. When it boils, turn down the heat.
Add the coffee. Boil for several minutes over low heat. Then, turn off the stove and leave the coffee in the pot for several minutes. Add your preferred spices before serving.
Using a Cezve
Another way to prepare it is by using a metal pot also called a cezve or kanaka. The only drawback with this cezve is that it can only handle making one cup of coffee at a time.
For medium brew, add one teaspoon of Arabica coffee and one teaspoon of sugar. If you want something stronger, add two teaspoons of coffee and one and a half teaspoons of sugar.
Next, add two teaspoons of water. Mix well until the sugar dissolves. Add more water to fill the cezve. If you want coffee with milk, fill half the cezve with milk and half with water.
Place the cezve on low heat. Watch for the coffee mixture to start bubbling on the sides. That’s when it’s time to remove it from the stove.
To achieve that top layer of foam you typically see in Arabica coffee cups, lean the cup slightly, and carefully pour in the coffee. Leave for a couple of seconds to give the coffee grounds time to settle down.
When it comes to Arabica vs. Robusta coffee, it’s purely a matter of taste preference. If you like adding cream and sugar to your coffee, go with the Robusta. Yet, if you prefer black coffee, then Arabica would be a better choice.
You can also combine the two for a unique flavor. Many coffee experts mix 90% Arabica coffee and 10% Robusta. What you get is a rich, smooth blend of sweet floral Arabica with the earthiness of Robusta. Life doesn't get much better than that!