Coffee Trees: Robusta vs Arabica
When you look at the package of your coffee bean, you may noticed that there are different names on the label, but what does it mean? Well, that's the variety of the coffee tree, however, as a coffee consumer, may be it's more relevent to pay attention on whether it's an Arabica or Robusta. Both Robusta and Arabica are commonly plant and traditional coffee tree species in the coffee industry, and there are hundreds of varieties under. Whether the variety is under Robusta, Arabica or Hybrid (mix or mutate of Robusta and Arabica) would somehow reflect the market price and some characters of the coffee.
Arabica beans tend to have a higher quality, with pleasant notes like sweet, fruity, floral, spice and more. They were usually higher in acidity and less caffeine when compared with Robusta. When the Arbaica are very sensitive to the growing environment, they can only be grown in high elevation, with rich soil, sunny days cool nights and sufficient rainfalls. There's literally very limited habitat suitable for them, especially when we are experiencing global warming in these few decades, which makes Arabica beans twice as expensive as Robusta and very likely can only be found in high quality coffee products.
Robusta beans are usually associated with commercial beans or instant coffees as they can be grown much easier, higher adaptability to weather, highly resistant to disease and pest, most importantly, they can be grown in low attitude, therefore a much lower growing cast and selling price. However, the common notes of Robusta beans were usually woody and rubbery, with very few flavor compounds, it is seldom rarely used in specialty coffee field.
More comparision on Arabica and Robusta: