Once roasted, pretty much all coffee beans look the same. But do you know that there is dozens of different varieties of coffee beans? With regards to your everyday cup, however, there are only two types: Arabica and robusta. Those are the two main types of coffee cultivated for ingesting. What is the distinction between them?
It’s quite significant, and is helpful to understand when choosing coffee. The two varieties differ in taste, growing conditions, price. Arabica beans have a tendency to have a sweeter taste, with tones of sugar, fruits, and berries. Their acidity is greater, with taste that characterizes the coffee with an excellent acidity.
Robusta, however, has a stronger, harsher taste, with a grain such as overtone and peanutty aftertaste. They contain double the amount caffeine as Arabica beans, plus they’re considered to be the inferior quality compared to Arabica. Some robustas, however, are of top quality and valued particularly in espressos for their profound flavour and crema. Robustas, however, is easier to grow. They could grow at altitudes compared to Arabicas, plus they’re susceptible to pests and weather conditions. They produce fruit more quickly compared to the Arabicas, which require a long time to come to maturity, plus they yield crop per tree.
Robusta is grown exclusively from the Eastern Hemisphere in Africa and Indonesia. Arabica is grown in Papua New Guinea and Africa, but it is grown mainly in Latin America. Colombia only generates arabica beans. Some nations, such as India and Brazil, make equally. Arabica, then, ends up being more expensive. Supermarket coffee is robusta, and instant and inexpensive floor grinders are robusta. You may still find the arabica in the grocery, store but only because it is labeled arabica doesn’t imply it is of top quality. It’s a question of personal taste, it all depends on what the individual likes. Some of all arabica blends are too high and flowery for us, a number of the dim harshness of robusta may be a good thing in a mix. Just keep in mind that robusta has double the amount caffeine like arabica, too, when picking a coffee blend. If you wish to skip majority of the caffeine, then see our tips for picking decaf coffee for our suggestions on coffee mixes and sources.
Other than that, the environmental of both coffee beans are different. The arabica coffee shrub typically grows between 2.5-4.5 meters (8.2-14.7 ft) in height, it requires a temperature between 15°-24°C (59-75°F) and annual rainfall of about 1200-2200 mm/yr. Robusta grows lightly taller at 4.5-6.5 meters (8.2-21.3 ft), requires a warmer temperatures of 18°-36°C (64-97°F) and lightly a bit more rainfall (2200-3000 mm/yr) than arabica. In terms of yield, arabica produces less coffee per hectare than robusta, making the cost of growing arabica much higher.
From the pictures shown, you can see that arabica coffee beans have a slightly larger or elliptical shape than the smaller, more round robusta beans. Structural differences also exist between coffee beans, which may explain why both beans are roasted differently under identical or different conditions.