Arabica vs Robusta

Hearing people talk about the many differences between Arabica and Robusta coffee is like hearing people talk about the different tastes and notes in wine. I have no idea what they’re saying and I’m wondering why they’re not just drinking it already.

I’ve decided to do some research so I won’t have to just stand there, smile, and nod when this topic comes up in conversation, and we’ve put together a guide to help you out too.

Arabica vs Robusta: Taste

We figured our readers would want to know about the difference in tastes before we delved into the background of the plant. After all, most of us will be tasting coffee in our kitchens rather than growing it in our backyards.

Roasted Arabica coffee has a variety of flavors. Some have been described as fruity while others have been described as chocolaty. Overall, Arabica has a sweeter and milder taste than Robusta so it’s used in high quality coffee. The unroasted Arabica coffee plant is said to smell like berries.

Roasted Robusta coffee beans often taste harsher than Arabica beans and are often used in instant coffee. Sometimes they’re blended with Arabica beans. They’ve also been described as having a grainy taste rather than a fruity one. The roasted coffee beans have been described to smell like peanuts.

Arabica vs Robusta

Arabica vs Robusta: Growth

Coffee Arabica is naturally found in the Middle East and Africa, in countries likeYemenandEthiopia. It thrives in a subtropical climate and needs an annual rainfall of 1200-2200 mm/yr to grow. It’s a delicate plant that needs sunlight, but also needs to be cool. The Coffee Arabica plant is easily destroyed by both insects and fungus, and needs the climate to be optimal to grow well. It also needs to be at a high altitude if it is grown in a subtropical region. The Coffee Arabica plant is self-pollinating, so there is less of chance of mutations and anomalies. Because the Arabica coffee plants need a multitude of ideal factors to grow well, they cost more.

Coffee Canephora, known as Robusta, was originally grown in western and centralAfrica. The Canephora coffee plant is a tougher plant that can survive conditions that are harsher, like colder weather. Robusta coffee plants can survive attacks by insects and pests. This type of coffee plant can grow at lower altitudes. It also yields more fruit than Arabica coffee and has twice as much caffeine. Because it’s easier to grow Robusta coffee, it’s cheaper to buy.

Main Photo and Content Photo by CIAT International Center for Tropical Agriculture

Keya is a freelance writer and NJ college student whose interests include reading, editing photos, and shouting at the TV. When she’s not writing for Coffee Krave, she’s working on writing screenplays for an animated webseries based on the “Chokeville” stories by Joshua Allen.


Tamas Nemeth

July 25, 2012

Very good writing! The very high consumption of coffee in the world.



August 11, 2012

Interesting blog. I also love coffee. If you are ever in Panama and want to do a Boquete coffee tour, let me know.



April 2, 2013

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