Raw coffee beans can be divided into two broad categories: Robusta and Arabica. Arabica coffee is considered superior to Robusta due to its low acidity and delicate flavor. It is grown at higher altitudes and can be more difficult and costly to grow. Though they are labor intensive, Arabica coffee trees produce a high demand bean that sells at a higher price. Robusta coffee tends to be more acidic than Arabica and has higher levels of caffeine. It is grown at lower altitudes, in hot climates and with less moisture. Since Robusta coffee has fewer growing restrictions and a generally desirable flavor it is sold at a lower price than Arabica beans. Here are some essential characteristics to know about the two different types of raw coffee beans.
Origin and Production Conditions
Robusta coffee originated from Africa and is grown primarily in Vietnam, Brazil, and Africa. It is usually grown at low altitudes of 200 to 800 meters. Robusta coffee is less subject to problems related to pests and rough handling. Arabic coffee, on the other hand, originated from Ethiopia and Yemen. It must be grown at higher altitudes of 600 to 2000 meters. Arabica coffee requires sun, shade, rich soil and lots of moisture to grown and produce. It is subject to attacks from different pests and is extremely vulnerable to cold and bad smelling. About 25 percent of the world coffee production is Robusta, and 75 percent Arabica. Brazil is the leading producer of Arabica coffee and Vietnam produces the most Robusta coffee.
Taste and Smell
Robusta coffee’s taste may range from harsh to neutral. It is usually described as tasting grain-like, oatmeally. The smell of unroasted bins is often described as raw-peanutty. There are high quality Robustas on the market, but they are rare and reserved exclusively for the best Robusta containing espressos.
Arabica coffee has a wider taste range, among varieties. The taste ranges from sharp tangy to sweet-soft. The smell of unroasted beans is nearly like that of blueberries, while that of roasted beans is perfumey with sugary tones and fruity notes.
Caffeine and Sugar Content
Robusta coffee beans have more caffeine compared to Arabica coffee beans. Although this may look like a positive thing, the fact is that caffeine has a bitter taste that makes coffee unpleasant to drink. Statically, raw Robusta coffee beans have 2.7 percent caffeine content, almost double the 1.5 percent of Arabica beans. When it comes to sugar and lipid content, Arabica contains nearly 60 percent more lipids and twice the concentration of sugars than Robusta. This is why most people prefer the taste of Arabica.
Shape and Plant Height
Raw Robusta coffee beans are much more circular, while Arabica beans are more oval. Robusta coffee tree grow to a height of 4.5 to 6 meters, while Arabica tree grow to a height of 2.5 to 4.5 meters.
Chlorogenic Acid Content (CGA)
Chlorogenic acid is an important antioxidant and insect deterrent. Arabica coffee has a CGA content of about 5.5 to 8 percent, while Robusta coffee has a CGA content of 7 to 10 percent.
The types of coffee beans used to make the morning coffee everyday are a major concern to true coffee lovers. The two commonly used types of raw coffee beans are the Arabic and Robusta beans. These beans are used more than any other variety of beans, either in their pure form or in coffee blends.