What’s the Difference Between Arabica and Robusta Coffee Beans?

Fuel your coffee knowledge! Let's dive into the real difference between Arabica coffee and Robusta coffee beans.

There are over 100 coffee species that exist today, but it’s likely you’ll only find two at your local grocer: Arabica and Robusta. Arabica coffee accounts for nearly three-fourths of all of the java we drink, while Robusta takes up the remaining. The two beans are sourced from different countries around the world, but is there a discernable difference between the two? Absolutely.

Arabica aka “The Popular One”

Let’s start with the more popular bean. Arabica coffee may sound fancy, but this beans name is on many labels. It is only able to grow in high elevations, mainly in Latin America and usually at a slow pace. Arabica coffee beans also contain a greater sugar content which, can taste “bright.” (You’ll often find Arabica coffee in light roasts.) By the way, save some money by learning how to make coffeehouse drinks at home.

Flavor Notes

  • Complex flavor that varies from floral and sweet to dark chocolate and red wine
  • Typically low caffeine content
  • Great for black coffee fans

Robusta aka “The Outcast”

Now, Robusta coffee is a whole different breed (literally). Robusta grows in low altitudes in the Eastern Hemisphere and grows twice as fast. It is cheap to grow and stronger which is why you will find it in your instant coffee. Psst! These instant coffee brands taste as good as a fresh cup. In contrast to Arabica, Robusta is the tough, bitter species of coffee.

Flavor Notes

  • Flavor leans grainy, woody and acidic. (Some would argue it tastes flat-out burnt!)
  • Typically high caffeine content
  • Great for espresso

Now, time to put your Arabica (or Robusta!) beans to work with these delicious recipes that start with coffee.

39 Delicious Recipes to Make Using Coffee
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Carolyn Lewis
Carolyn Lewis is a young writer & digital media professional who grew up in Milwaukee. She loves to read graphic novels, write poetry about nature and cook Thai food while listening to podcasts. She has always been a storyteller and animal lover, thus, she has a hamster named Hamlet.