Arabica vs. Robusta
Coffee has such a deep culture with many intricacies. Different ways to produce, methods to prepare, and species. In this article, we want to discuss the different species of coffee beans, in particularly, Arabica and Robusta.
There are over 100 different coffee species that exist, but the two main widely produced and sold ones are the two we just mentioned: Arabica and Robusta. Coffee lovers must be familiar with these two names, but for those who aren't, what makes them unique and different from each other? Let's find out.
To summarize, Arabica beans have a wider taste range between varieties. In comparison to Robusta, Arabica is much more complex and flavourful. It can range from being sweet and soft to sharp and tangy. Arabicas in general are much more fruity, while Robusta is more harsh and grainy. Robusta is sometimes described as tasting like "burnt rubber", hence why Arabica is usually the more pricier option and more preferred.
One reason why Robusta doesn't taste as good as Arabica is because it contains more caffeine, with 2.7% caffeine content vs Arabica with only 1.5%. Caffeine carries a bitter taste, which may make the coffee taste less good. Another big reason why Arabicas taste better is that Arabica beans contain 60% more lipids and almost twice the concentration of sugar in comparison to Robusta.
Robusta is a lot easier to farm, due to its low sensitivity to insects and overall toughness. The extra caffeine content in Robusta coffee seeds act as defence mechanism against bugs since it is toxic to them. Robustas are also hardier plants and can grow in low altitudes as well, resulting in higher production rates with lower costs. They can be roughly handled without affecting its outcome.
Arabicas on the other hand are much more delicate, requiring cool tropical climates with lots of moisture, rich soil, and a mix of shade and sun. They are extremely sensitive to temperatures that are too cold, and are also extremely vulnerable to bug and pest attacks. Handling of Arabica plants require extreme care and attention, resulting in higher costs and lower production speeds.
After the above analysis, it's quite obvious that Arabicas are more expensive than Robusta. In general, Arabicas are considered to be the higher quality beans as the best coffees and highest quality of blends are Arabicas. Robustas are more marketed and sold as base level products such as instant coffees. You will see them sold mainly in supermarkets as cans and jars, and some lower end coffee shops while Arabicas are served in most cafes and coffee shops.
As a specialty coffee brand, Terminal 3 Roasters only serves high quality Arabica beans in light roast, with the main goal to allow the customers to fully experience all the complexities and flavours of each bean.