Arabica or Robusta Coffee Beans – The Differences

Want to know your Arabicas from your Robustas?

There are two main types of coffee beans grown around the world; Arabica coffee beans and Robusta coffee beans. Although it may seem as simple as choosing one or the other, there are many differences between the two.

Dive in to understand the differences between these two coffee varieties.


Arabica coffee beans are considered to be the most popular in the world. They contribute to 60% of the worlds coffee production. Coffee that is made from Arabica usually is smoother and has a sweeter taste. Often, you will find Arabica coffees have hints of fruits or berries. Arabica beans have a high acidity which adds to its smoothness and ease to drink.


Arabica coffee beans


Originating from Ethiopia, Arabica coffee beans are likely to be the first ever consumed. Initially, the beans were crushed, mixed with fat and then eaten by the Oromo tribe. They ate the beans for the same reason we drink them, to give you that extra buzz! The name originates from when the beans crossed the Red Sea and made their way to Arabia. Hence the term “arabica”.

The earliest record of coffee being roasted was by Arab scholars, who found that drinking coffee helped them work faster. From Arabia, the coffee roasting craze made its way to Egypt and Turkey, and from there it found its way around the world.


Ethiopia - hand sorting arabica coffee beans

How Arabica Coffee Beans Are Grown

The plants that Arabica coffee beans grow on usually take around seven years to mature fully. Arabica is best grown at higher altitudes also. As the plant matures to between two and four years of planting, the arabica plant will produce small, white, highly fragrant flowers. The smell produced by these flowers is similar to that of jasmine.

Soon after, berries will begin to appear. Initially, the berries will be dark green until they start to ripen. They will start as yellow, then light red, and finally, they will turn a glossy, dark red. At this point, they will be ready for picking. These berries will generally carry two beans each.


The cherries that contain Arabica coffee beans


There are over 100 varieties of Arabica coffee beans. Some of the most popular include:

• Typica
• Bourbon
• Caturra
• Catuai
• Mundo Novo
• Blue Mountain


Robusta coffee beans generally produce a harsher taste and tend to have earthy flavour notes. It also has a higher bitterness and lower acidity to its counterpart, Arabica. The flavours are darker and often unrefined.


latte art in a cup looking down


Robusta coffee beans are said to have originated from the West coast of Uganda. The beans were consumed by locals of the area for years before it became popular in other regions such as Europe. Robusta was harvested from coffee plants located next to small villages. Even today, a large part of harvesting Robusta coffee beans comes from these smaller areas.

Due to the leaf rust outbreak and other problems, such as lack of knowledge on climate conditions, types of land etc. the production of Arabica coffee beans in the Far East had to be abandoned. Instead, Kouliou and other variations of Robusta were planted there. This robusta proved to adapt better to the warm and humid conditions than its predecessor ever could.


espresso pouring from an espresso machine


How Robusta Coffee Beans Are Grown

As it says in its name, Robusta usually is more robust and less susceptible to diseases. Unlike Arabica, it can grow better in the sun and typically grows in temperatures between 22 – 26 degrees. Due to the demand for Robusta coffee in the Far East, rainforests have been removed to make room for large robusta plantations. The plant is much easier to grow than Arabica as they can tolerate lower quality soil, less favourable climate conditions and can be grown at lower heights. This is why Robusta coffee is less expensive to grow.

Robusta coffee beans are usually picked no matter what sort of condition, size or ripeness they are in. This helps to keep the price low.

Robusta coffee beans are often used by instant coffee companies, or as a filler in blends for some coffee roasters.


Cherries contain Robusta coffee beans


Here at Two Chimps Coffee, not only do we only use 100% Arabica coffee beans but we only roast speciality arabica coffee.

We are proud to ensure our customers always have a high-quality coffee from high-quality coffee beans.

Well, what are you waiting for? Get your hands on some arabica coffee now.


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