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Know Your Beans: Arabica Vs. Robusta

Updated: Aug 15



Some of you reading this may already be coffee aficionados, but for the rest of the troops, let’s get you up to speed on what goes into a decent cup of Joe...


There’s actually a hell of a lot that can impact the taste of your hot wet (brew); the bean type, bean variety, how it has been processed, the way it's roasted, stored and, of course, brewed. Even your water can affect the final product. Making a cup of coffee isn't rocket science, but it helps to know a bit about the process if you want to make the most of your freshly roasted beans!


And this post is all about the bean.


Fun fact. There’s over 120 species of coffee but the two that are most well known and actually make it into our coffee mugs are Arabica and Robusta. Does the type of bean you use affect the taste? Short answer, yes!! But which type of bean is best?


Arabica Bean Vs Robusta Bean - the difference

Before we go into which is better, here's a quickie comparison / greatest hits for both Arabica and Robusta:


Arabica

  • Often hailed as the best quality coffee bean

  • Grown primarily in South America and parts of Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya)

  • It produces a sophisticated, smooth, rich taste often accompanied by a fruity, nutty or chocolatey note and is less acidic than the Robusta bean

  • It can only be grown in higher altitudes, due to being quite delicate and susceptible to disease and pests.

  • Caffeine levels range from 0.85% to 1.5%

Robusta

  • Asia produces the majority of Robusta, with a small percentage coming from Africa and Brazil

  • It has a more intense, bitter taste, often described as woody or earthy

  • Grown in lower altitudes, it’s a hardier bean and as such is more resilient to disease and pest

  • Robusta can contain DOUBLE the caffeine levels of Arabica and generally range from 1.7% to 3% (although you can get even stronger than that!).


SF Blend
Robusta beans make our SF blend our strongest yet!

So, which bean is best?


As with everything there are different levels to it; buying an Arabica single origin coffee or blend doesn’t necessarily mean that you are getting the best quality bean, and with that being said buying a Robusta coffee or blend doesn’t mean it won’t taste good - there are some damn tasty Robusta blends out there! In fact one of our best sellers is a blend made from 100% Robusta.


Confused? Well, here’s our rough guide to choosing the right bean for you:

  • In the mood for a smooth, flavorsome cup of coffee? Then a 100% Arabica single origin or blend is what you’re after.

  • If you want those fruity, nutty flavours but with a bit more of a caffeine hit then go for an Arabica and Robusta blend.

  • But, if its been a long day and you need a kick up the proverbial or it's gym time, then a shot of Robusta will sort you right out!

If you have any questions about coffee beans or any of our coffees then comment below or send us a message. We love to chew the fat when it comes to all things coffee related. In the mean time, stay caffeinated!