Most coffee lovers have, at least once in their lives, been asked the million-dollar question: “Arabica or Robusta?” With over 100 species, coffee is the most consumed beverage in the world. Yet, Robusta and Arabica are the most memorable.
Even though Arabica and Robusta differ in taste, growing environments, and quality; the competition between the two coffee strains is fierce.
Robusta is the second most popular coffee in the world and makes up approximately 40% of the world’s coffee production. Robusta is a hearty coffee plant with twice as much caffeine as Arabica. Since caffeine is toxic to bugs, Robusta has a high resistance to pests and diseases. Additionally, Robusta is able to survive in low altitudes and hot environments (30℃), is easy to farm, and produces a high yield.
Robusta originated in west sub-Saharan Africa and is grown in Indonesia and Vietnam. Coffee farmers often use mono-cropping when cultivating Robusta. Mono-cropping is the practice of growing a single crop every year on the same land. This farming method is economically efficient and facilitates rapid crop care. However, mono-cropping is often done excessively which leads to soil erosion, demolished nutrients, increased crop vulnerability, and unusable soil.
Robusta has less sugar than Arabica and thus, is more bitter. As such, Robusta is good for espresso blends and instant coffee. People who like strong and bitter coffee will prefer Robusta’s earthy taste, grain like flavor, and peanutty aftertaste.
On the other hand, Arabica originated in Ethiopia in about 1000 B.C. and is indigenous to Yemen. It is believed to be the first cultivated species of coffee. Typically, Arabica beans are fragile and need cool, moist subtropical climates, rich soil, and the right combination of shade and sun to thrive. This sophisticated breed requires unwavering attention during cultivation. However, even though it takes more time to grow this coffee, the extra attentiveness leads to an impeccable balance of bitterness, richness, and sweetness.
Arabicas have a wide variety of taste ranging from sweet-soft to sharp-tangy. Moreover, they have a beautiful sweet fragrance with a slight and pleasant acidity. This well-balanced coffee has a caramel aftertaste with just the right hint of bitterness.
Due to its superior quality and taste, Arabica sells for a higher price than the tougher low-maintenance Robusta. As such, it is common for coffee manufacturers to blend Robusta coffee into their coffee mix as a way to save money or increase bitterness.
Grown in Ethiopia, 734 Coffee is an exquisite 100% Arabica coffee. With its flavorful and creamy taste, we cannot pretend that Arabica isn’t the better breed.