Robusta coffee is one of the two types of most popular coffee beans in the world. Most people enjoy either robusta coffee or arabica coffee bean blends for their everyday cup of joe. The reason why these two types of coffee beans are the most popular are because of their notes, though each variation of robusta coffee and arabica coffee has a completely different flavor profile.
In our previous blog about arabica coffee, we talked about how people prefer the sweeter and milder taste of arabica. This week, we’ll explore the nutritional and flavor differences of robusta coffee beans.
Robusta coffee is sourced from the Coffea canephora plant that is native to Africa. Currently, though, the largest producer of robusta coffee is Vietnam. This is not a big surprise, as one of the most popular variations of coffee drinks, Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk, traditionally uses robusta coffee beans for brewing.
Growth & Cost
Cultivating the beans for robusta coffee is said to be easier than it is for arabica coffee beans. This is because robusta coffee plants are resilient in extreme heat, can grow at low altitudes, and aren’t sensitive to incremental changes in sunlight. It’s is also relatively resistant to insects and disease because of its higher caffeine content, however does require consistent watering to grow.
In addition to its less temperamental growing needs, robusta coffee plants don’t take as long to mature and yields more per year than arabica coffee plants, making it cheaper to farm and to purchase.
Another one of the biggest differences between robusta coffee beans is that it contains about double the amount (~3%) of caffeine of arabica beans do (~1.5%). This in turn affects the taste of robusta, which is why its known for having a more intense coffee flavor.
Additionally, robusta coffee bean plants are known to contain 7-10% chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant that protects against cellular damage.
Robusta coffee is often described to have a bitter, earthy, deep grain-like taste that’s full-bodied. The flavor profile of robusta coffee and arabica coffee can be compared to dark chocolate and milk chocolate. Like dark chocolate and milk chocolate, robusta coffee beans contain less sugar than arabica coffee beans.
Though the flavor of robusta coffee is described as more intense, the taste is also said to be smoother as it has more acidity and a naturally richer flavor. Its deep flavor profile and deep crema makes robusta coffee the top choice for brewing Vietnamese coffee and Italian espresso.
Because robusta coffee beans are cheaper to farm and source, it is often used in instant coffee and as fillers in ground coffee blends.
The nuances of robusta coffee are nothing short of unique. If you’re craving more caffeine to re-energize you in the mornings, or are interested in expanding your coffee palate, we’d recommend trying it! A great way to gauge if you’re interested in it is trying our Vietnamese Coffee recipe.