It's International Coffee Day! Arabica vs Robusta – What’s the difference?
Coffee is one of the most traded commodities in the world, coming second only to crude oil,
with over 2.25 billion cups of coffee being consumed each day. There are two main types of coffee grown in the commercial market, these are Arabica and Robusta. The coffee used in our own blend – Good Eating Company Grand Cru Blend – is a blend of both of these. But what is the difference?
Arabica makes up around 75% of the worlds coffee production, making it superior in popularity by far! The reasons behind its popularity is that with Arabica beans, you get a whole host of different flavours with these beans, you will find they have smoother flavours and commonly have chocolate, floral or citrus notes. The reason behind these different flavours is due to the fact that it grows at a higher level than Robusta. As the climate can be a lot harsher at this higher level, the coffee plant grows a lot slower, which allows for more refined flavours to be produced once the beans are processed. As it is a lot more difficult to tend to it costs around twice as much as Robusta, but is considered the higher quality bean.
Robusta on the other hand, grows at a lower elevation, which means it grows a lot quicker as it is not as exposed to these harsher climates. As it grows a lot faster, it does not have the time to develop those more refined flavours so the taste is stronger and more bitter. Robusta tends to be used in instant coffees that we buy from the supermarket, due to its lower price and higher caffeine level (2.7% compared to Arabica’s 1.5%). The reason it is cheaper is because it is a lot easier to tend to the plant, its higher caffeine level works as a natural pesticide as this level of caffeine is toxic to bugs. It tends to be used in blends so you are able to get some acidity into the coffee, as well as enhancing the crema of the espresso.
Fun Coffee Facts
Coffee was originally chewed! Centuries ago, African tribes would grind the coffee berries and mix them with animal fat to turn them into energy balls!
Legend has it that coffee was discovered by a goat herder in the 9th century, who noticed his goats would dance energetically when they had a nibble on the berries from his coffee plant. After testing them out himself, he took them to a local monk who made a drink using the berries!
Fancy a coffee anyone?