Difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee

Difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee

Difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee

Most coffee drinkers will come across two types of coffee beans; Arabica and Robusta.  These are the two most common types of coffee beans that we consume when having a coffee. This article goes through the differences between the two beans including their origins, aroma and flavour notes, caffeine differences and types of situations that both types of beans suit. 

Origins – Arabica Beans:

Arabica beans originated in Ethiopia and grow at high elevations (between 800 – 2200 metres above sea level).  They are the pricier type of coffee beans due to its sensitivity towards pests, diseases and heat making it harder for farmers to cultivate. 

Origins – Robusta Beans:

The Robusta beans are more commonly grown in Asia and Western and Centra Africa.  They are grown at lower elevations (200 – 800 metres above sea level) and can tolerate warmer temperatures and strong rainfall. 

Unlike their counterparts, Robusta beans are more resistant to pests and diseases and easier to cultivate – making them cheaper than arabica beans. 

Taste and aroma – Arabica beans:

Arabica beans are known for having a sweeter and smoother taste profile that provides drinkers with a fruit, berry and floral notes.  Due to its sweeter and smoother taste and high acidity, drinkers experience a less intense flavour and less bitterness.

Taste and aroma – Robusta beans:

The Robusta beans offers stronger and more robust flavours.  Due to its more intense flavour, drinkers are exposed to a bitter finish.  Robusta beans provides nutty, chocolatey and woody notes. 


Caffeine – Arabica:

Most Arabica blends contain between 1% to 1.5% of caffeine.  Due to its lower caffeine content, drinkers are offered a smoother and better balanced flavour profile. 


Caffeine – Robusta:

Robusta beans have a caffeine content between 2% to 2.7% depending on the blend.  Due to the higher caffeine content, Robusta beans are stronger and richer in flavour and bitterness. 

Usage – Arabica beans:

Arabica beans are known as the premium beans as it offers users a more sophisticated flavour profile and tasting notes.  Arabica beans are best used in cafés and espresso machines.  Due to cafes large coffee volumes, Arabica beans work really well as it can be offered fresh after roasting (between 1 week to a month) which provides its optimal flavour to drinkers.

Usage – Robusta Beans

The Robusta blends are usually found in large commercial coffee blends due to their lower cost and durability to strong weather conditions.  The Robusta beans are usually known for Italian espresso’s. 

Whats best for automatic coffee machines:

Automatic coffee machines usually uses a blend of both Robusta and Arabica blends.  The reason why is because automatic coffee machines usually use less grams of coffee per shot, meaning it needs a stronger blend to cut through the strength of the milk.  By using a blend of both Arabica and Robusta, automatic machines are able to offer a full-bodied coffee that usually offers a chocolatey or nutty aroma that provides little bitterness thanks to its arabica blend, that provides little acidity.