As the name suggests, the Robusta is a sturdy species of coffee bean.
Made from the Coffea canephora plant, it is easy to care for and less prone to disease than the Arabica variety.
It produces a coffee with low acidity and high levels of bitterness. It is primarily used in instant coffee, espresso and as a filter in ground coffee blends.
It has almost double the caffeine of the Arabica yet said to contain more antioxidants. It accounts for almost 40% of the world’s coffee production. Vietnam is the number one producer of Robusta. You can also find it being grown in Brazil, India, Indonesia and Africa.
The Robusta tree is able to withstand warmer climates than the Arabica. Because it adores constant temperatures between 75-85F (24-29C), it can grow at much lower altitudes. It can manage with about 60 inches of rainfall a year but is defeated by frost.
Robusta is Cheaper and Easier Than Arabica
Because the Robusta can be grown at lower altitudes, the land is often less steep, flatter and more accessible for machinery. This helps to make it cheaper to produce than the Arabica.
Farmers usually plant the Robusta seeds, during the wet season, in large beds in shaded nurseries.
Robusta bean harvesting is done by hand or machine. The coffee cherries are then ready for processing. This is primarily through the dry method (unlike the wet method typically used for Arabica cherries).
Freshly picked cherries are laid out on large surfaces to be dried by the sun. They are raked and turned regularly throughout the day to prevent spoiling. Farmers keep them covered at night or during rain to keep out the wet. It may take several weeks for each coffee batch to be ready for the next stage.
The robusta beans are milled for quality, then exported for testing and tasting, roasting and the grind into the coffee we know and love.
The Robusta bean is a rounder shape than the Arabica, which is more oval.
With coffee, it is all about the taste.
I just happen to prefer 100% Arabica. It’s my preference when selecting coffees for my online shop. Some of the flavour notes are simply wonderful. Less bitter than the Robusta.
Maybe it’s why I’m not a fan of instant coffee. (It’s there for emergencies at the back of the cupboard and nothing more).
How about you?