Guest Post: Arabica Versus Robusta: What’s in a Coffee Bean?
When you have that first cup of coffee in the morning—whether you brewed it at home or bought it at your local coffee shop—do you take the time to consider where the coffee beans came from? Don’t worry, you’re not alone; most people look at coffee without any thought to where it came from or how it’s cultivated. Although specific strands of coffee beans vary from country to country, most beans fall into one of two categories: Arabica beans and Robusta beans. Unless you look close at the packaging of your coffee beans, you wouldn’t likely know which you were purchasing. In fact, to the untrained eye, the two beans look fairly similar. You can more readily tell the difference between the two beans by tasting each after they’ve been brewed. Let’s take a closer look at what distinguishes each of these beans that make the world’s favorite wakeup solution.
The Arabicas beans are the more delicate of the two varieties. They’re harder to grow because they have to be cultivated at high altitudes and they require more care upon harvest. The beans produced by the plant usually fall after ripening, so farmers have to time their harvests just right lest they spoil the whole crop. Arabicas beans are grown in locales near the equator in tropical, airy environments; several countries in Central America boast massive harvests, as well as countries in east Africa. The actual coffee brewed from Arabica beans has a smooth taste and complex flavor; it’s a bean desired by more discerning coffee distributers and served by premium coffee shops. Critics of coffee brewed from Arabica beans cite the drink’s relatively low amount of caffeine as the only major drawback. As the more sought-after coffee, Arabicas blends and beans tend to sell for much more than any other mainstream variety of bean.
The Robusta bean grows easier and in more variable climates than does the Arabicas bean. The plant that grows the Robusta bean thrives in locales all over the world, but it is mainly cultivated on a massive scale in Vietnam, Brazil, and parts of central Africa. The Robusta plant yields a crop larger than that of the Arabicas, so farmers are able to bring in large batches of beans with each harvest. Robusta beans survive longer than Arabicas beans, so farmers have a better chance at harvesting the beans before they spoil. Although the cultivating process is much easier with Robustas beans, the coffee brewed from the beans tastes markedly bitterer. Robusta beans are most often used in lower-quality packaged coffees at affordable prices. The coffee also yields a much higher amount of caffeine than does the Arabica bean, so some coffee vendors blend their grounds or beans with a small percentage of Robusta beans so as to punch up the caffeine content.
If you consider yourself a coffee connoisseur, it’s likely that you’d prefer the Arabica bean over the Robusta bean. The smoothness and complexity of the Arabica bean would win over the Robusta bean time and time again. Although the Robusta bean produces a bitter coffee, it’s also well known for producing strong but flavorful espresso blends. Your choice in coffee beans really depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking to buy espresso, check to see if the blend has Robusta. If you’re shopping for regular coffee, make sure that you buy Arabica.
About the Author: This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at online college about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5 [at] gmail.com.