Coffea Arabica and Coffea Robusta

There are about 60 different types (species) of coffee plants. The most well-known are the worlds most “popular” tree Coffea Arabica (80% of our coffee comes from this tree) and Coffea Robusta. Coffea Arabica is also known as Coffea Canephora. The Arabica plant originated in Ethiopia, and is still grown in the mountainous rainforests, as well as other parts of East Africa, South America and Indonesia. Ethiopeans have been consuming coffee since the 9th century.

The Coffea Robusta tree was discovered growing wild much later by the British, in the late 1800s. It was growing in the wild in Congo, Central Africa. It is now grown in West Africa, Southeast Asia and Indonesia.

Coffee bean plant

Coffee bean plant

Some differences between the two kinds:

Robusta (Robust)

  • tastes more bitter than Arabic beans
  • contains about 40–50% more caffeine than arabica
  • is less vulnerable to disease
  • produces twice as many seeds as the Arabica kind

As a result, Robusta beans are often used as an inexpensive substitute for arabica in many commercial coffee blends. Good quality robusta beans are used to create quality espressos, though.

Africa’s Ivory Coast is one of the world’s largest producers of robust coffee beans.

Robusta (Robust) is deemed a higher quality coffee, as it is less vulnerable to disease and produces twice as many seeds as the Arabica kind.

Another quality measure comes with Grading. Coffee beans are graded by size, shape and colour. And before the coffee is sold it is inspected by professional tasters (“cuppers”). After the coffee has been roasted, ground, brewed and tasted it is being graded and bagged in burlap sacks for transportation. These bags usually weigh 60 kilos.