Arabica vs Robusta
How to choose the perfect coffee
In total, about 120 types of coffee are known, but only two of them are of industrial importance: arabica and robusta are species of trees of the genus Coffea, which account for more than 99% of all coffee production, of which about 2/3 falls on arabica.
Robusta (Coffea canephora) is a strong tree (robustus is Latin for “strong”) with a strong root system. This species was discovered in the Congo (hence another name for robusta - Congolese coffee) at the end of the 19th century. Its area of origin is central, western and eastern Africa.
Robusta is unpretentious and grows at an altitude of 200 to 600 meters above sea level. Its trees are three to four times taller than Arabica and can reach 13 meters in height. The yield of robusta is much higher than that of arabica, the berry ripening period is 12 months. For robusta, warmth is important, so it grows only in tropical climates. Withstands heat and showers without problems, does not get sick and does not require careful maintenance. Robusta trees are resistant to some types of roya (coffee rust), but are susceptible to attack by the coffee driller beetle.
Compared to arabica, robusta contains more caffeine (2.5-3%) and chlorogenic acid, and is low in lipids and sugars. This makes it a good energizer, but the high caffeine content imparts bitterness and a heavy aroma. The taste of robusta is tart and flat. Usually it is nutty, bitter chocolate, woody, with a predominance of bitterness.
Usually robusta is grown without observing even a tenth of the conditions required for the production of specialty arabica, and is processed without much attention. However, with great care in growing trees, picking berries, and handling crops, rare and unexpected flavors can be created in the cup. We wrote in detail about fine robusta (robusta of the highest quality) in the blog. There are excellent examples of fine robusta in our catalog. Now these are two robustas from the Venturim farm: Classic - chocolate-nut, balanced, without acidity, and Carnival - bright and acidic robusta, with pear, dried fruits and spices in the taste.
There are other robustas in our catalog. We fry all robustas light enough, so their taste will be quite mild if cooked, for example, in a French press.
Arabica (Coffea arabica) is the result of natural crossing of two species of the genus Coffea (Robusta and Eugenioidis). Her homeland is an area in northern Kenya, southwestern Ethiopia and southeastern Sudan.
At 95% Arabica is self-pollinated: it only needs one tree to reproduce, whose flowers are fertilized with pollen from the same tree. Because of this genetic trait, natural crossings are rare.
Many varieties (varieties) of Arabica originated from the typology - coffee that got from Ethiopia to Yemen and spread throughout the world - and its first natural mutation - bourbon, first discovered on the French island of Bourbon (Réunion) in the Indian Ocean. Some varieties of Arabica appeared due to natural crossing, others due to selection or mutation. There are also more rare ones, which belong to the same as the typika, the upper level and are not its descendants, such as geisha, rume sudan, irgalem, seosies, dilya alie - they were named after the settlements where they were discovered.
Arabica is characterized by a low caffeine content (1.2-1.3%) and growing at higher altitudes than robusta - from 600 to 2000 meters and above. Growing Arabica is an expensive and complicated process. The berry ripens for 8-9 months. To get a good harvest, you need to constantly look after trees, fertilize the soil, and in some regions build artificial irrigation systems.
Arabica contains many organic acids, lipids and sugars, which creates a delicate, complex taste and acidity that distinguishes it from robusta. The versatility and richness of the taste of Arabica made many people around the world change their attitude towards coffee: we perceive it as a product that can open new taste horizons.
Choose coffee based on your preferences and favorite preparation methods.