Which is the best coffee - arabica coffee or robusta coffee?

Which is the best coffee - arabica coffee or robusta coffee?

Posted on 18-05-2016
By Pact Coffee

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You’ve probably seen “100% Arabica Coffee!” emblazoned on packaging, but what does it actually mean? And what’s the alternative? Read on to find out.

What is Arabica Coffee?

Coffee beans come from either the Arabica or Robusta plant species. Arabica makes up around 75% of global coffee production. Although it’s more difficult to grow than Robusta, the results are better and Arabica is capable of much more complex flavour notes. Only Arabica can be deemed speciality coffee which is why we only use 100 percent Arabica beans in our coffee. It’s also the most tasty!

What is Robusta Coffee?

Robusta coffee plants contain twice the amount of caffeine content of Arabica, they are also easier and faster to grow. If you are a caffeine addict, this might sound great, but Robusta is seen as the inferior bean in the world of speciality coffee as it doesn’t benefit from complex tastes and flavours. Robusta is mechanically harvested, further decreasing the coffee quality. Robusta produces a high bitterness level which often ends up as instant coffee.

Robusta is more resistant to crop disease and insect damage. It’s also easier, and faster, to grow. That’s where the benefits end.

Robusta vs. Arabica

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 coffee 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 caffeine 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.

The dangers of climate change

Arabica coffee is extremely sensitive to rising temperatures. Arabica thrives in cooler temperatures at high altitudes and as temperatures change, the land available for Arabica decreases. What’s more, pest invasions that never used to be able to survive in high altitudes are now thriving, leading to further problems. By 2050, it’s estimated that the area suitable for coffee production will be reduced by 50% from current levels. (SCA, Climate Change.)

Unfortunately, the more pressure coffee farmers face from ‘Big Coffee’ the more poor quality coffee is grown to keep up with demand, and the more the future of coffee farming is threatened. So, if you want to always have coffee to fill your cup with, we recommend choosing an ethical and sustainable brand.

Our takeaway:

Arabica is a superior species when it comes to coffee, and helping farmers mitigate the difficulties growing it will help them to enjoy a better quality of life.

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