You’ve seen “100% Arabica!” emblazoned on packaging, but what does it actually mean? And what’s the alternative?

Arabica and robusta are just two of over 100 coffee species - the most popular ones, as it happens. Robusta is more… well, robust - high in caffeine, it’s more resistant to crop disease and insect damage. It’s also easier, and faster, to grow. That’s where the benefits end. Arabica is tastier, and will sell for much much higher prices - and it’s the only species we buy.

What’s the difference?

- The Taste: Robusta coffee is often described as tasting rubbery, and like burnt tires… though how they have that as a reference point, we don’t know. That’s because of the low sugar and lipid levels. Though it does have more caffeine, interesting…

- The Plant: Unlike our coffee bean-shaped coffee beans, robusta beans are round! Their trees are a lot shorter too. They also grow differently, with robusta needing to be cross-pollinated and able to grow at much lower altitudes.

- To Grow: Because life is cruel, it’s the very things that make robusta taste bad that make it also easier to grow. The high caffiene and chlorogenic acid content make it more disease and insect-resistant and able to grow at higher temperatures. So it’s easier and cheaper to produce, but sells for drastically less too.

Our takeaway:

Arabica is a superior species when it comes to coffee, and helping farmers mitigate the difficulties growing it will earn them a bigger paycheck in the end.