There are two main varieties of coffee used in the commercial export market; Arabica and Robusta.
- 17 February 2018
Whilst there are more varieties than just Arabica and Robusta, it is those two that are used predominantly in the production of exportable coffee. In broad terms, Arabica is deemed to be higher quality, and is predominantly used in fresh coffee. On the other hand Robusta is a far more common choice in freeze dried 'instant' coffee.
The Robusta variety is deemed to be lower quality mainly due to its taste profile. Most describe Robusta as having a more bitter taste, which has notes of burnt rubber. Some believe this can be attributed to the fact it has around twice the amount of caffeine as Arabica, with caffeine having a naturally more bitter taste. Robusta is also cheaper to produce and more resilient to disease. Vietnam is one of worlds largest producers of Robusta beans.
On the other hand, Arabica has a far more pleasant taste, with it being slightly sweeter. The down side is that it is more susceptible to disease and therefore it is not produced in such high quantities as Robusta. All these factors make it more expensive. Pretty much all of the 'third-wave' gourmet coffee you will come across will be made from Arabica.
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