The Difference between Robusta and Arabica Coffee Beans
Robusta and Arabica coffee beans are the two most common varieties of beans used.They are however very different.
Cultivation and cost
Robusta coffee is much easier to grow than Arabica and as the name suggests, it is much more robust to adverse weather conditions. Robusta beans are mainly grown in Vietnam, and Brazil is one of the major producers of Arabica. Robusta beans are usually far cheaper as they are easier to grow in volume.
Robusta beans contain much more caffeine than Arabica. The robusta bean is around 2.2- 2.7% caffeine, and the arabica bean is around 1.2 – 1.5%. The higher caffeine content is one of the things that makes the robusta coffee plant less susceptible to pests and disease.
Arabica beans contain almost double the amount of sugars compared to Robusta. The result is a completely different taste.
Coffee beans are a rich source of biologically active compounds such as caffeine, chlorogenic acids, nicotinic acid, trigonelline, cafestol, and kahweol, which have significant potential as antioxidants. Arabica beans have around 15% more Trigoneline but have around 29% less Nicotrinic acid.
Robusta beans tend to be used in Italian dark roasts and instant coffees, where as Arabica beans are used much more in upmarket coffee shops and for home roasting.
Robusta basically does not taste as good as Robusta. Arabica beans are usually far fruitier and sweeter than Robusta beans. For those who like strong coffee though Robusta beans may be their preferred taste.