24 Oct 2017
The Geographic origin is one of the most important factors when comparing the beans as flavours vary greatly with geography. 75% of the world’s coffee production is Arabica coffee, with Robusta coffee being 25%. Arabica and Robusta are the two main coffee varieties with over 100 species of coffee in the world. It’s not just chance that Arabica is more common, in fact it would be easier if Robusta was but there are many reasons as to why it isn’t.
First and foremost and probably most important is the taste. Making sure the flavour of your coffee is perfect is paramount to any business. Robusta coffee has a higher caffeine level which may sound like a benefit but in reality it makes the taste more rubbery. Arabica coffee has a 1.5% caffeine level compared to Robusta’s 2.7%. Arabica beans are grown at over 600 meters above sea level compared to the Robusta beans that are grown at sea level and often used in instant coffee. Arabica has improved taste due to the fresher air, the higher you go the earthy taste you find in Robusta lessens and in the Arabica beans there is a more medium bodied, and the fruity and floral notes can be enjoyed by the consumer.
It isn’t all negative with the Robusta plant. It can easily be grown at sea level because it’s so robust and resilient. The Arabica plant is very delicate and needs careful handling. Robusta plants also grow to be between 4.5-6 meters with the Arabica plant only reaching maximum 4.5 meters. Latin America predominately grow Arabica bean whereas Vietnam/Ethiopia are known for their Robusta growing. The extra caffeine in the Robusta plant also keeps the bugs and insects at bay, as caffeine is toxic to the insects whereas the reduced content in the Arabica plant make them an easier target. The Robusta plant is also cheaper to produce as it is easier to grow, less temperamental, therefore cheaper to man and produce.
When picking your ideal coffee it really is up to you what you find more important. We personally will always pick taste, hence why our Street & Co. brand is purely 100% Arabica. We use a semi-washed and washed processing method ensuring a smoother and fruitier flavour is enjoyed. We do use a minimal amount of high quality Robusta beans in some of our blends should you require a richer full bodied mouth feel.