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Know Your Beans: Arabica Vs. Robusta

Updated: Jul 10, 2018

Coffee… I love it, you love it, hell pretty much everyone loves it! But how much do you really know about it?

Some of you 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 LOT that can impact the taste of your hot wet, the bean type, bean variety, how it is processed, the way it has been roasted, stored and brewed.

But to avoid keeping you away from your daily duties for too long, let’s begin with those all-important beans.

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.

Here are their greatest hits:


  • 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 chocolaty 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%


  • 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!

Robusta beans make our SF blend our strongest yet!

Which Bean is Best?

As with everything there are different levels to it; buying an Arabica 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!

Here’s GBCC’s 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 ass or its gym time, then a shot of Robusta will sort you right out!

If you have any questions about coffee beans or any of GBCC’s coffees then just comment below. In the mean time, stay caffeinated!

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