Arabica vs. Robusta
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Arabicavsrobusta

The two main green bean varieties grown throughout the world are Coffea Arabica and Coffea Caneaphora (Robusta).

Arabica

Arabica coffee is used primarily in fresh coffee. With its delicate flavour, it offers a balanced aroma and a sweet, sharp taste. It is considered higher grade and superior to Robusta, making up 70% of the world's coffee supply

Arabica coffee must be grown at a higher elevation of 600 - 2000 metres and requires a cool subtropical climate, lots of moisture, rich soil, sun and shade. It is subject to attack from various pests, and is extremely vulnerable to cold and bad handling.

Robusta

In contrast the Robusta beans have a more earthy flavour and a heavier body. Robusta beans have twice the caffeine kick of Arabica beans, giving them a slightly bitter taste.

The Robusta plant is hardier than the Arabica, and is capable of growing well at low altitudes of 200 to 800 metres. It is also less subject to problems related to pests and rough handling. 

Key differences between Arabica and Robusta Coffee

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Arabica

Robusta

 Date species first identified 1753 1895
 Time from flower to ripe cherry 9 months 10 - 11 months
 Flowering after rain irregular
 Ripe Cherries fall stay
 Yield (kg beans/ha) 1500-3000kg 2300-4000kg
 Root System deep shallow
 Optimum Temperature (yearly average)          15-24°C    24-30°C   
 Optimal Rainfall 1500-2000mm      2000-3000mm     
 Growth Optimum 1000-2000m 0-700m
 Coffee Berry Disease susceptible resistant
 Caffeine content of beans 0.8-1.4% 1.7-4.0%
 Shape of Bean flat oval
 Typical Brew Characteristics acidity bitterness, full
 Pollination self pollinating cross pollination
 Yield / Tree 450-680g/year 900-1400g/year
  • Arabica grows best at altitudes over 900 metres above sea level. It is used primarily in fresh coffee. It has a delicate flavour, and offers a balanced aroma and a sweet, sharp taste.Coffea Arabica
  • Robusta is more resistant to disease, and can grow at lower altitudes than Arabica.  The beans have a more earthy flavour and a heavier body. Coffea Robusta