We all know coffee is a plant correct. Or do you? Coffee is the seed of the cherry of the coffee plant and there are two main biological varieties – Arabica and Robusta. It grows primarily between the tropics and some higher altitude locations near the tropics. The new buzzword in artisanal coffee in India is 100% arabica - yet you will be surprised to know that most espresso blends across the world (primarily in Italy where the espresso was discovered) are a blend of Arabica and Robusta coffees.
So what is the difference between these two – let’s take a look:
While Robusta grows in lower altitudes with shallow roots, the less hearty Arabica prefers a deep root system while thriving in altitudes as high as 1500 to 2000 meters above sea level, sometimes even more. The ideal growing temperatures for Arabica being 15 – 25 degrees Celsius while Robusta thrives between 24 to 31 degrees Celsius.
The Robusta bean has a rather stout and round body shape, while the Arabica grown beans have a lengthened and ovate shape. Although such facts may not be evidently noticeable, yet one with a keen eye can spot such minor differences.
What’s Inside the Bean?
While Robusta having more amount of caffeine as compared to Arabica, it may seem better and desirable, but on the flip side Arabica boasts more sugar concentration and lipids. This further impacts directly on the flavour after the beans are roasted.
Between the two variants of beans, Arabica generally tends to be more rounded and fruity over the bolder and full bodied taste of Robusta.
There are different grades and flavours in each variety and who are we to say which one is better. Try and decide for yourself!