While there are more than 100 varieties of coffee across the globe, when it comes to great beans, two in particular stand out and are worth getting to know much better – Coffea Arabica (Arabica) and Coffea canephora (Robusta).
Coffee connoisseurs know these beans in and out, of course, and this is where you too, can learn a little something about these two superior brews.
When it comes to flavour, both varieties are as different as apples and oranges! They each have distinct taste, texture/body and flavour notes, and why not, given that their growing conditions are just as varied.
Arabica beans have higher acidity but also exhibit sweet, soft, and mild flavours with a pleasant balanced cup. Robusta, on the other hand makes for a much stronger coffee – its flavours are bolder, darker and it exhibits a dark chocolate note in the brew. High quality Robustas therefore, are greatly valued, in espressos for instance, thanks to their deeper, persistent flavors.
Arabicas need cool, moisture-rich and subtropical weather conditions and are harvested between November to January at higher altitudes ranging from 600 to 2000 metres. Robusta coffee meanwhile, is harvested from December to February and can be cultivated at lower elevations. Robusta also happens to be easier to grow commercially, as they are less vulnerable to pests and often result in higher yields. They mature rapidly and produce fruits much more quickly compared to Arabicas that often take several years before they mature.
Naturally, this leads to a price differential when acquiring either bean, with Arabica being the more expensive coffee of the two.
So, next time you go shopping, and we recommend you do this with friends, you can proudly claim to know your beans a little better than before, and help others make equally informed choices!