In the battle of Arabica vs. Robusta coffee beans, which one reigns supreme? Well, there’s not a single answer, since it truly depends on your taste and preferences.
Although Arabica Coffee beans and Robusta coffee beans are similar in many ways, they also greatly differ. Both types of coffee beans are extracted from the seeds of coffee cherries, but there are some key differences in this process.
This may not sound like much, but it alters the texture of the coffee beans — and the drinking experience.
In this article, we break down the two famous types of coffee beans to help you make the best choice for your taste.
There are over 120 coffee species all over the world, however, the two main ones that are widely produced and sold are Arabica and Robusta.
Here’s a list featuring 17 major differences between the two coffee species:
Arabica Vs Robusta Coffee – The Shape Difference
Robusta beans are slightly smaller and rounder in shape while Arabica coffee beans are more oval and flat in shape.
I have identified this so that when you go to buy coffee beans, you would be understood by looking at the size of the bean whether it is Arabica or Robusta. So if you follow my advice, never buy coffee bean powder. Always prefer coffee beans in the whole form.
Robusta Vs Arabica Coffee – Plant Difference
Leaves: Arabica leaves are smaller, with a glossy dark upper surface, on the other hand, Robusta leaves are often lighter in color, less waxy, larger, and slightly undulating.
Height: 6 ft. 0 in. – 15 ft. 0 in.
Width:: 6 ft. 0 in. – 15 ft. 0 in.
Robusta plant grows as a robust tree or shrub to about 4.5 to 10 m tall.
Maturity: After three years, Arabica reaches maturity and usually begins to yield commercial crops. On the other hand, Robusta begins to yield commercial after one year.
Arabica Vs Robusta Coffee – Cultivation Difference
Robusta coffee trees can grow up to 32 feet in height, which is twice the size of Arabia, and grows well in high humidity. After flowering, the berries take about a year to ripen. Robusta is high in caffeine and CGA, so it has a lower risk of pests and weather conditions. Because cross-pollination by air, flies, and other insects is necessary to regenerate plants, Robustas are easy to develop. They can grow at lower altitudes than Arabica, and they bear fruit much faster than Arabica, and its trees produce more.
In contrast, the Arabica tree is half the size of a Robusta. It blooms less than Robusta. They are harder to grow and nurture than Robusta because they are always exposed to the weather and insects. And they give fruits even less than Robusta. Therefore, Arabica is an expensive and darling tree that has to be pruned
Arabica Vs Robusta Coffee – Region Difference
Robusta is mostly grown in Vietnam and it has become the world’s largest exporter of robusta coffee, though it is also grown in India, Indonesia, Africa, Uganda, and Brazil, where it is often called conilon.
Arabica is grown in Africa, Papua New Guinea, and Brazil, but the best known Arabica coffee beans in the world are from Jamaican Blue Mountain, Colombian Supremo, Tarrazú, Costa Rica, Guatemalan Antigua, and Ethiopian Sidamo.
Among all of the above countries, Brazil is still the biggest coffee producer in the world, producing one-third of the world’s Arabica coffee.
Arabica Coffee Vs Robusta – Market value Difference
Arabic accounts for 60% of the world’s coffee consumption. Robusta coffee, on the other hand, accounts for 40% of total consumption. And the difference in consumption of both coffees is gradually narrowing.
Coffee Arabica Price is at a current level of 3.658, up from 3.542 last month and up from 2.987 one year ago. This is a change of 3.25% from last month and 22.44% from one year ago.
Coffee Robusta Price is at a current level of 1.612, up from 1.559 last month and up from 1.501 one year ago. This is a change of 3.42% from last month and 7.43% from one year ago.
Because Arabica coffee costs more to grow and store than Robusta but its production is less in the contrast. Therefore, the price of Arabica coffee beans is also higher than that of Robusta.
Arabica Vs Robusta Coffee – Oil Difference
Arabica generally contains a higher number of oils (15-17%) than Robusta. It helps Arabica making for a sweeter cup with more complex aromas and a smooth and supple texture.
Arabica Coffee Vs Robusta – Lipids and sugar content Difference
Arabica coffee beans have a lipid content of about 15%, while Robusta coffee beans have a lipid content of 10%, the conclusion of a recent study.
Similarly, Arabica contains almost twice the concentration of sugars as compared to robusta. These sugars play an important role during the roasting process causing to create several key aromatic compounds.
Arabica Vs Robusta Coffee – Antioxidants Difference
A recent study found that Robusta coffee extracts showed more antioxidant benefits than Arabica coffee bean extract from similar samples. The most effective way to extract antioxidants was to boil ground coffee beans in water under high pressure.
Arabica Coffee Vs Robusta – Chlorogenic acid Difference
Robusta contains about twice the concentration of CGA, which means the plant is much more ‘robust’ in the wild. Due to its bitter taste, chlorogenic acid (CGA) is believed to act as a deterrent for insects and animals. And the same situation of caffeine is in Arabica and Robusta
Arabica Vs Robusta Coffee – Acidity Difference
Arabica is much higher in acidity as compared to its counterpart Robusta. And due to this high but excellent acidity Arabica beans tend to have a sweeter, softer, and winey taste, with tones of sugar, fruit, and berries. On the other hand, Robusta has lower acidity levels than Arabica coffee, meaning it generally tastes much less sweet.
Arabica Vs Robusta Coffee – Health Benefits Difference
So, when it comes to the battle between red vs. white wine, the winner depends on your health situation.
Because both Arabica and Robusta coffee beans have unique characteristics, that match your health more, they are better for you. For example, Arabica has less caffeine and Robusta has more caffeine. So if you have a problem with caffeine then you will like Robusta. Similarly, acidity is high in Arabica and low in Robusta. So if you have a problem with acidity then Robusta will be beneficial for you.
Content of Caffeine Arabica Vs Robusta
Caffeine is a naturally occurring compound that is found in coffee cherry trees— especially in its fruit skins, leaves, and beans.
Since the Robusta coffee beans are high in caffeine quantity, a cup of coffee prepared with Robusta has a far higher caffeine level than a cup prepared with Arabica coffee beans.
Yes, caffeine has a flavor. On its own, it tastes bitter, alkaline, and slightly soapy.
You can tell if a cup of coffee is high in caffeine as it will leave a bitter sensation on the back of your tongue after sipping. While Arabica coffee beans can have this effect too, it occurs most often with Robusta coffee beans.
Some people enjoy this intense drinking experience, but it’s not for everyone. If you prefer a lighter mouth sensation, consider a low caffeine Arabica, or stick to Robusta.
Although it’s rare, some people are sensitive to caffeine. Caffeine sensitivity can cause jitteriness, unease, irritability, anxiety, and stomach pains. If you have any of these symptoms after a night on the Robusta coffee beans, try switching to Arabica and see if there is any difference.
Arabica Vs Robusta Coffee – Taste and favor Difference
Arabica tastes fruity, zesty, sweet while Robusta has a stronger, bitter, and powerful taste.
Choose Arabica beans if … you absolutely love berries
It’s hard to generalize what coffee beans taste like — flavors can range from flowery to herby to smoky (seriously!). But for those who love anything berry flavored, Arabica is probably the best bet.
While it’s common to detect notes of chocolate, nuts, and caramel in a cup of Arabica Coffee and bitter, rubbery/grain-like are common Robusta coffee beans flavors.
Of course, this isn’t true for all coffee beans. Robusta coffee beans take on more savory flavors, such as tobacco, leather, and grainy or rubbery. However, if you love a smoother, sweeter taste, with flavor notes of chocolate and sugar flavors and aromas, chances are you’ll find Arabica you love.
Choose Robusta If … You Love grainy and rubbery flavors. Robusta flavors are often harsher than those of Arabica. Think bitter, earthy, stone fruits, and aromatic hints of peanutty aftertaste. If you gravitate towards stronger flavors, Robusta might be the one for you.
Who wins the Robusta Vs Arabica
coffee beans battle?
As you can see, there are plenty of factors to consider when choosing between Arabica and Robusta coffee beans.
While Arabica has its health benefits, such as its vitamins and minerals, Robusta is an excellent choice for those looking to lower their sugar intake.
Arabica is also lower in caffeine, meaning those who don’t enjoy the anxiety and irritability effects of high caffeine drinks, or those with caffeine sensitivity should choose Arabica over Robusta.
By contrast, chocolate lovers would be wise to fill their coffee cellar with a good selection of Arabica beans, due to its wonderful food pairing qualities. On the other hand, cheese lovers may find it easier to pair Robusta with their meal choices.
If you gravitate towards a stronger, harsher, and more bitter taste, with grainy or rubbery overtones, you’ll likely find Robusta coffee beans to enjoy. If you can’t resist a smoother, sweeter taste, with flavor notes of chocolate and sugar, there are plenty of Arabica coffee beans that will satisfy your chocolaty-lust.
All that said, take this advice with a pinch of salt. The truth is that both Arabica and Robusta bring something unique to the coffee world and should be recognized for that. There are so many wonderful coffee options on the market, there’s no reason to limit yourself. If you’re a coffee lover looking to expand your palate, treat yourself to a range of different coffees including Arabica and Robusta. When taking these primary characteristics into account, you may be surprised by what takes your fancy.