Arabica and robusta are the first varieties that come to mind when it comes to differentiating between coffee types. However, it is essential to know how to differentiate between them, as the success of your business depends on it.
Arabica coffee is one of the best-selling coffees in the world. Like all coffee beans, it comes from the coffee tree, a plant that belongs to the Rubiaceae family and has around 90 different species. It is a type of coffee that is highly sensitive to heat and humidity, and needs a lot of attention when it comes to cultivation. However, when the coffee production process is done well, it produces coffee beans of supreme quality.
This type of coffee is also characterised by its aromas and flavours. It is of a mild type with light fruity hints, which provide a slight acidity. All these factors logically depend on other processes involved in the preparation of the coffee, such as the amount of water.
Another widely cultivated and very successful coffee is known as robusta. This has its origins in the Republic of Congo and has a more resistant seed than the previous one. In this case, the coffee is rather bitter and is combined with hints of wood and nuts. It is an ideal coffee for espressos. This type of coffee has between 1.6 and 2.8% caffeine, which is higher than the arabica variety
This coffee stands out for being grown at lower altitudes and can be found in almost all the forests of the African tropical zone.
Main differences between arabica and robusta coffee
In addition to the above-mentioned factors, the two types of coffee differ in other respects. Firstly, arabica coffee accounts for 56% of world production, while robusta coffee accounts for 43%. In addition, robusta coffee is cheaper and is the most widely used in the coffee industry. Although it is a variety that does not have the same flavours and nuances as arabica coffee, it manages to reduce production costs.
How to differentiate between arabica and robusta coffees
Both types of coffee have different nuances that help us to differentiate them easily, as we will see below:
- Before roasting, Arabica coffee beans have a greenish hue. On the other hand, Arabica coffee beans are rather pale.
- Another difference can be found in their shape. While arabica beans are flat and elongated, robusta beans are more convex.
- Broadly speaking, arabica beans are larger than robusta beans.
If we cannot tell them apart by their shape or colour, we can also tell them apart by their taste.
- Arabica coffee: they have fruity flavours, with a sweet taste with an acidic touch and sometimes reminiscent of caramel or chocolate.
- Robusta coffee: the flavours tend to be much more bitter, with a taste of nuts and wood, even reminding us of the taste of earth and potatoes.