Arabica Coffee vs Robusta Coffee: What’s the Difference?

Arabica Coffee vs Robusta Coffee: What's the Difference?

You may have, at some point, noticed a sign or label that says, 100% Arabica. There is also another coffee variety that's not as prominent as Arabica, but abundant in the marketplace. It's called Robusta. Which one is better? Arabica coffee vs Robusta? Let's put these popular coffee bean varieties side by side and see how they match up against each another.

Arabica Coffee vs Robusta

Arabica Coffee vs Robusta Coffee Beans

Weighing an average of 0.14 grams per bean is the Arabica coffee bean. On the other hand, Robusta weighs an average of 0.13 grams per bean.

We will examine them side by side using the characteristics listed below:

1. Flavor Profile

Coffee Characteristics - Flavor Profile

Arabica: Premium quality Arabica contains more sugar per gram than Robusta, giving it a bit more sweetness. There are also some hints of fruitiness, chocolate, and caramel. It often has a light nutty aftertaste and an overall acidity that is well balanced.

Robusta: High quality Robusta coffee tends to have a stronger and more pronounced taste that's much like oak and nut. It also has a silky texture. Then again, low quality Robusta beans tend to have the scent of a screeching tire.

Winner: Arabica. People from all over the world simply love Arabica for its taste. There's no doubt that it is the winner in the flavor department.

2. Price

Coffee Characteristics - Price

Arabica: About twice as expensive as Robusta. Arabica requires special conditions in order to survive. More on this in a bit.

Robusta: Less expensive because it is easier to grow and is more resistant to pest infestations.

Winner: Robusta. Arabica coffee vs robusta is about half the price per gram.

3. Appearance

Coffee Characteristics - Appearance

Arabica: The Arabica bean has a slightly larger surface area and has an oval shape. The bean also has a lighter tone than Robusta's.

Robusta: The beans are usually smaller, thicker and rounder than Arabica beans. Raw Robusta beans are also a little darker.

Winner: None. Looks don't matter when it comes to coffee beans.

4. Elevation

Coffee Characteristics - Elevation

Arabica: The plant only grows in specific elevations - about 800-2,200 meters above sea level. It also requires a temperature range of 15-24 degrees Celsius in order to grow properly.

Robusta: The plant can grow in elevations below 800 meters.

Winner: None. It is said that the higher the elevation, the more complex its flavors are. Arabica may be a winner for consumers, but Robusta is easier to produce among growers.

5. Caffeine Content

Coffee Characteristics - Caffeine Content

Arabica: 1.2-1.5% caffeine content

Robusta: 2.2-2.7% caffeine content

Winner: None. There are positive and negative effects caused by caffeine. On one hand, it can increase alertness and decrease the likelihood of cancer. Conversely, it can also cause headaches and anxiety.

6. Production

Coffee Characteristics - Production

Arabica: Harder to produce because of the strict environmental conditions it needs. It is also more susceptible to being damaged by insects. In other words, it is high maintenance.

Robusta: Generally easier to grow since it more resilient to pest infestations. It also does not require strict growing conditions like Arabica. It is ideal for mass production.

Winner: Robusta. It is much cheaper than its Arabica counterpart. Price is one of the reasons why Robusta is used in instant coffee and some coffee mixes. Although less popular in coffee enthusiast markets, Robusta is still coveted by those who prefer high caffeine content in their coffee.

Coffee Characteristics - Conclusion

After comparing both coffee varieties, you'll eventually realize that each of them come with advantages and disadvantages. It has become apparent that there truly is no coffee that's superior over the other. It is, after all, a matter of personal preference.

Arabica coffee vs Robusta are like twins that always end up being matched against one another. Eventually, one becomes more popular than the other. Robusta may have a bad reputation for being the type of coffee bean that is used in instant coffee, but it also has more caffeine than Arabica.

Coffee Beans That You Should Absolutely Try

Now that you've seen the Arabica coffee vs. Robusta side by side comparison, you can try out these recommended coffee beans:

Kicking Horse Coffee, Kick Ass

Type: 100% Arabica
Deep, dark, and delicious - these are the best words to describe the Kicking Horse Coffee. You'll get the full on flavor of high quality Arabica beans and uncover hints of chocolate and licorice.

Death Wish Organic Coffee

Type: Robusta
This is the coffee for you if you prefer a strong cup. It contains twice the caffeine of your average coffee, hence the name. It starts off with a rich coffee flavor and ends of with a smooth and bold taste.

Lavazza Gran Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend

Type: 40% Arabica, 60% Robusta Blend
If you want to get the best of both worlds, then you should try out the Lavazza L'Espresso Gran Crema. It has the fruity flavors of Arabica as well as the intensity and depth of Robusta.

Don Pablo Gourmet Coffee - Signature Blend

Type: 100% Arabica
This medium dark velvety coffee from Cafe Don Pablo is made with pure Arabica beans. It is the perfect example of beans grown in highlands, and depict a full body with a deep, rich chocolaty flavor and a clean finish.

Verena Street Coffee

Type: 100% Arabica
From a quiet neighborhood along the Mississippi River, the memories of Verena Street live on in this specialty blend. This full-bodied and complex coffee brings out notes of smokiness and intensity. It is also sustainably sourced and freshly packed every single time.

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