You would have seen that some coffee labels advertise on the packaging that their coffee beans are 100% Arabica. It may seem like a foreign concept but it really isn’t gibberish – it introduces you to the type of coffee species where the bean comes from.
There are over 100 coffee varieties, but generally the two main ones that are manufactured and sold are; Coffea Arabica and Coffea Canephora (also known as Robusta).
Here’s a list highlighting the 10 differences between these two coffee varieties:
- Taste: Normally the Robusta’s flavor is bitter and rich. The Arabica is a naturally sweet coffee with well-balanced acidity.
- Caffeine content: The Robusta beans contain almost double the amount of caffeine compared to the Arabica beans. This is one of the reasons why the Robusta flavor is slightly bitterer than the Arabica. The caffeine content of the Robusta is around 2.7% whereas the Arabica has around 1.5%.
- Lipid and Sugar content: Arabica holds approximately 60% more lipid than Robusta beans and has double the amount of sugar than Robusta. This may be the reason behind why the Arabica is more appreciated amongst coffee connoisseurs.
- Cost aspect: Arabica green beans are approximately double the cost of the Robusta beans on the goods market. This therefore makes the final cost of the product, in this case the Arabica beans, more expensive compared to Robusta.
- Greater yield: The Robusta bean is easier to manage in the fields. It has a greater yield and is less susceptible to insect attacks. (The amount of caffeine in the Robusta bean works like a chemical defense for the bean, as it’s toxic to the bugs).
- Where it’s found: The Robusta is often found in instant coffee’s. The Robusta is commonly used in the espresso blends, particularly the Italian style blends. It is said to provide the ‘crema’ creamy aspect to the coffee.
- The Shape: Robusta beans are much more circular in shape while the Arabica have a more oval form.
- Plant Height: The Arabica plant normally grows within the 2.5 – 4.5 meter range compared to 4.5 – 6 meter height of the Robusta.
- Chlorogenic acid (CGA) content: CGA is an important antioxidant and also a insect deterrent. Robusta has 7-10% CGA whereas Arabica has a 5.5-8% CGA content.
- Cultivation: About 75% of the world’s coffee stock is Arabica, whereas approximately 25% is Robusta. Brazil is the most popular Arabica producer and Vietnam is the largest Robusta producer.