If you are not an avid coffee drinker, you may not know that more than one variant of coffee bean. But in reality, there are almost 120 different types of coffee plants and beans grown. But only a small number of types make up most of the coffee production and consumption in this world. There are chances that when you visit a coffee shop to purchase a bag of coffee, you must have heard about the Robusta coffee beans. It is one of the most popular, commonest, and cheaper types of beans, and Arabica is another most popular one.
Now let’s have a look at the main differences between Arabica and Robusta coffee:
The main difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee beans is that the Robusta beans are woodier, heavier, bitterer, and earthier. On the other hand, Arabica beans are fruitier, lighter, more floral in aroma and taste, and acidic. Besides, both of these coffee beans have different amounts of sugar, caffeine, antioxidants, and lipids. Although both of these beans belong to the overarching genus of coffee beans, there are some other important differences between both these beans, which are manifested in each step of growing and harvesting coffee, then in the roasting and consumption procedures.
About the Arabica beans:
It is one of the most dominant and oldest varieties of coffee that represents around 60% of the coffee production and consumption of the entire world. The Arabica coffee origin in USA is mainly native to Ethiopia, Yemen, and South Sudan, where they are cultivated and grown since the 12th century. But these days, these beans are grown all across the globe. Arabica coffee plants are quite similar to large bushes or trees with bright red berries and white flowers. Every berry comes with two seeds that gradually convert into coffee beans. One of the major drawbacks of harvesting and planting Arabica coffee plants is that it takes around 7 years to them to get matured and start producing fruits. Another thing about growing Arabica coffee plants is that they are more fragile compared to Robusta coffee plants.
Therefore these plants are more susceptible to getting damaged from shifts in climate, pests, and different diseases.
About the Robust beans:
Robusta coffee beans form another 40% of the total coffee production and consumption in the world. These plants are native to Central and Western Africa and they mainly grow in the cou
ntries like Tanzania, Ethiopia, Angola, and Liberia. At present, countries like India, Brazil, Indonesia, and Vietnam are the leading exporters of Robusta beans in this world. Unlike Arabica coffee plants that look like large bushes or trees, Robusta coffee plants are quite similar to wild shrubs or vines. The best thing about growing Robusta coffee plants is that they are more resilient and much tougher compared to Arabica plants. Therefore, they don’t need any pesticides, herbicides, or regular upkeep compared to the Arabica plants. Robusta beans are also higher in Chlorogenic Acid (CGA) content. Even though CGA doesn’t have any effect on the taste of the coffee, it plays a big role in the complete health of the coffee plant offering insect-repelling properties and natural antioxidants. Last but not least, Robusta coffee plants can yield more coffee beans quickly when compared to the Arabica coffee plants.
How differently are Arabica and Robusta coffee harvested and processed?
Irrespective of what kind of bean you are planning to use, the process of coffee production remains almost the same. Coffee cherries are usually picked off by the hands of the plants. After harvesting the coffee cherries, they are passed through machines where the fleshes of the berries are removed from the seeds to get the coffee beans. After that, the seeds are gone through the fermentation and rinsing method, which successfully removes the remaining mucous membrane still they cling on. Then the beans are dried at the drying tables. Last but not least, the dried, fermented beans or the “green coffee” beans are roasted. The majority of the times, the coffee manufacturers roast the beans. But depending on your preference, you can even purchase the green beans of Sidama coffee profile and can roast them at your home.
Is there any difference in taste?
The biggest difference between Robusta and Arabica coffee is the complete taste profiles that emerge after the completion of the roasting job. The best-quality Arabica beans come with a slightly acidic flavor and bright profile with different layers of aromatic fruit, sugar, berry, and floral notes. But the best quality Robusta beans come with a bitter flavor and earthy profile with an almost peanut-like aftertaste and much less acidity. But one thing you need to remember here is that not all the Robusta beans are of the best quality. As these plants are very hardy, farmers often get away with growing these plants in less-than-perfect climates which leads to the production of less-than-ideal coffee.