Arabica Vs Robusta: Which Coffee Bean is Better?

Many serious coffee drinkers will debate how to make high-quality coffee drinks. There are different types of coffee beans, and that alone can affect how easy it is to make the best cup of coffee. Using either Arabica vs Robusta coffee is one decision coffee roasters and drinkers discuss, but what is the difference between them?

What is Arabica?

Arabica is a type of coffee plant that originated in Ethiopia. It is the most popular bean in coffee production and equals over 60 percent of consumed cups, making it a huge part of the world's coffee production, according to The Roasterie. Arabica coffee bean types include Typica, Caturra, Kona, Pacamara, and Villalobos. Arabica is grown in Africa and Papua New Guinea as well as Latin America. In fact, Colombia only produces arabica beans, usually from the plant Coffea arabica.

What is Robusta Coffee, Then?

Robusta is instead made from the beans of the Coffea canephora plant. Its origins are in Africa and it's mostly grown there or in Indonesia. Some countries, like Brazil and India, produce both types of beans. It's a bitter flavored coffee and often used in instant coffee and espresso. When making espresso blends, Robusta is usually selected due to its smooth aftertaste and thick, plentiful crema. It is a favorite in classic Italian espresso blends for this reason.

?What's the Difference Between Arabica vs Robusta?

There are a few major ways each type of beans differs.

When unroasted, Arabica beans smell like blueberries, according to The Roasterie. When roasted, they have fruity and sugary flavor profiles. Unroasted Robusta beans instead have peanut overtones.

"Arabica contains almost 60 percent more lipids and almost twice the concentration of sugar than Robusta," The Roasters Pack notes. Sugar content obviously matters when it comes to the difference in taste between two species of coffee. Robusta has higher caffeine content than Arabica, too, and less acidity.

Robusta is cheaper than Arabica to produce, and Robusta plants are more resilient than Arabica plants. Some companies will even mix the two types, which some people think results in lower quality coffee.

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If you want to be sure to get one or the other, look for either Robusta coffee beans, high-quality Robusta, or 100 percent Arabica when you're shopping or ordering at the coffee shop for the best coffee.

Do you prefer a sweeter coffee or one with a more bitter taste? Are you okay with your ground coffee having some filler or do you like a purer cup brewed by your barista? Those things all matter when it comes to choosing Arabica vs Robusta coffee.

Watch: Why You Should Add Baking Soda to Coffee