Difference between arabica and robusta

Let’s talk about what is the main difference between arabica robusta. It is a matter of taste which one to choose, but better if we know the feature of coffee in order to get the best out of it.

The coffee plant belonging to the family Rubiaceae, there are 4,500 variants within this family and approx. 60 species belong to the genus Coffea. Of these, only 25 species are suitable for sale commercially, but the world’s coffee trade has been conquered by 2 species, Arabica (75%) and Robusta (24%).

Robusta (Coffea Canephora)

Robusta coffee evolved roughly 100,000 years ago, but was only discovered in the 19th century in Congo. In the late 1800s, participants in the Nile Expedition discovered a much more tolerant type of coffee along the Equator.

Until then, coffee was the arabica, from here, the competition began between the more resilient, higher-yielding and higher-caffeine robusta and the much higher sensory-grade arabica.

Over the millennia, the plant has developed a high resilience, thanks to which it grows in lower areas(200-800m). It prefers direct sunlight.

The robusta shrub is more robust and can reach a size of up to 10 meters. Its fruit is round afnd takes 11 months to ripen.

Caffeine content higher than arabica(1.5-4%) Robusta has a higher caffeine content and a lower sugar content than Arabica.

The taste less rich, stronger, more acidic and bitter. Perfectly used for darker roasting. Ideal for making espresso. Cheaper than arabica: it costs about half as much. It is harvested all year.

The coffee beans are recognizable by their smaller size and a straight groove in the middle of the grains. The name robusta refers to the resilience of the plant and the distinctive taste of the robusta-containing coffee beverage. This gives the body and strength of the coffee.

Grown under good conditions and after proper preparation, we can get a fuller, woody, bitter-tasting coffee. Due to its cheaper production, it is preferred for use as a blend of weaker coffees as well  as an ingredient in instant coffee. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the public considers it of inferior quality.


Of the coffee varieties, arabica (Coffea arabica) is the most popular. The world’s annual consumption is around 150 million bags of coffee beans, roughly 70% is arabica coffee which is the oldest known species.

Arabica coffee is native to Ethiopia, developed about 10,000 years ago, consumption of a drink made from roasted ground coffee was first recorded in Yemen.

Grows in the higher countryside (800-1200m), is a more demanding plant, less resistant to pests, so it requires more attention and can be harvested up to twice a year.

Its caffeine content is lower than Robusta, however, if managed properly, its taste is richer, cleaner, more aromatic. The coffee beans are larger (the largest grain is called Maragogype) and have an S-shaped groove in the middle.

Arabica coffee varieties are extremely demanding of the environmental factors of cultivation. Soil quality, average temperature and temperature fluctuations, rainfall and humidity all have a strong influence on coffee quality.

At the same time, arabica is less resistant to various pests and diseases. The coffee bean fruit is oval, slightly flat, contains two coffee beans, and takes 7-9 months to ripen.

How do you recognize that you are drinking robusta?

The taste is simply as bitter as aspirin, no aroma can be felt from it, it is just a business strategy that is why it is used everywhere. Why? Simply because it’s worth it, because it costs half as much as arabica.

In the meantime, we’re seduced by sounding marketing texts that make our coffee really characterful and even have a nice thick cream on top. Important to note there is more protein in robusta. So, for example, if you’ve been standing in your closet or store shelves for years and making an espresso out of it, you’ll still have cream on top (while arabica won’t).

In a word, from a professional point of view, there is no positive thing about robusta, it is only business-like.

So what does arabica taste like?

Arabica has slightly less caffeine, so you don’t feel the bitter taste. But you can feel the different aromas, which makes it so special and diverse.

It’s pretty hard to determine exactly what taste you should feel when you taste arabica. Just like winemaking, it also depends heavily on various environmental factors. There are 140 different varieties of plants, each with a different flavour, just like grapes. You can find caramel, butter, chocolate, fruity, etc. flavour path.

Roasting can also affect taste and caffeine content: the darker the roasted coffee, the less caffeine it contains. So a lightly roasted arabica can provide a truly wonderful coffee experience for a coffee fan.

By the way, cream – what exactly is it? Well, the layer that looks like a nice, light-colored cream on top of your espresso is na cream. What almost no one really knows, though, is that cream is the bitterest part of espresso. Try it once to filter it from the top – then you will get to know the real taste of espresso! When you ask what coffee is like, most people simply say it’s good strong. Strong? What is this to be understood? Couldn’t it really be strong, rather terribly bitter? Of course, everyone tries to make a coffee like this drinkable to their liking, with a little cream, syrup, foam, anything. Arabica, on the other hand, does not need this kind of patch, as it is as perfect as it is.


Recently, more and more manufacturers are investing in serious research and experiments to increase the quality of robusta coffee. A robusta purebred specialty coffee is already being born in Brazil, and many are experimenting with arabica and robusta hybrids to improve crop resilience and yield. In addition to the two best-known species, Coffea Liberica is present in 1-2% of the market. It is an inexpensive type of coffee known for its bitter taste, which is mostly sold in Asian countries such as. Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, where there is a demand for mass-produced, inexpensive coffee.

Why do baristas prefer arabica?

The answer is easy, coffee which you make from arabica is more trustworthy because easier to control the final result. Besides rich in aromas and flavors.

However, all these facts do not mean that Arabica coffee is definitely a higher quality coffee. Just as robusta can be used to make really delicious coffee, there is a subspecies among arabica coffees that is of an undrinkable quality (there are 4000-6000 subspecies within the robusta and arabica species).



  • Ivan

    Although I was working as a barista myself, and am a fan of coffee, mostly the taste, I had no idea that there’s so much difference between arabica and robusta. By reading the information from your post, I prefer arabica over robusta. Even the name sounds better! When I think about it, arabica coffee was the variety we were using in the last coffee shop that I was working at and I liked it a lot. Thanks for sharing this highly informative post about coffee! As always, great work 🙂

    • Etelka

      Thanks for your feedback! I’m happy you’ve got new information about the differences and you prefer arabica now! Good choice! 🙂

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