There are dozens of types of coffee beans in the world, but two types are used commercially – Arabica and Robusta but what is the difference? Does it make a difference? Well Dick’s Bean Bar hopes to address all these questions and more with this blog post!
First thing to probably address is that robusta is the cheaper of the two beans, mainly down to its growing conditions and that it is less susceptible to pests and changes in weather conditions, meaning that more of the bean is readily available. This is most probably why that the bean is used more for instant coffee, and for the cheaper coffee brands.
Robusta does however have more caffeine than arabica, in some cases up to double the content, which may sound like an attractive feature, but as coffee lovers know the higher the caffeine content the bitterness of the coffee increases. That being said the robusta tends to be prefered by those who like an “Italian” style coffee, strong, high caffeine with a deep flavour and good crema. Arabica beans are higher in acidity and tend to be sweater, softer coffee with hints of fruit aftertaste, and is favored by the coffee connoisseur, due to the range of flavours and exquisite tastes that they offer.
The main differences then are that they are grown differently, contain different amounts of caffeine and have a different taste – so predominantly this all comes down to personal preference. If drinking blends you are more likely to be getting a bit of each in all fairness, as producers will mix a little robusta in with the arabica to “pack it out” and add a little depth and of course extra caffeine, in most cases single origin coffee lovers will prefer arabica beans thanks to their sweeter, lighter tasting coffee.