When it comes to coffee, there are two main types of beans: Arabica and Robusta. These beans differ in many ways, including their taste, aroma, and caffeine content. As a coffee lover, you may wonder if you can tell the difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee by taste alone. In this article, we will discuss the characteristics of each coffee bean and whether it is possible to distinguish between the two by taste alone.
Barista & Co have always used 100% Arabica coffee beans as, until very recently, the only Robusta available to import was mass produced commodity coffee. Commodity coffee is often grown in huge batches and is definitely against the ethical standards we have built our coffee roastery on. Even if it was produced ethically, we've always found Robusta to be a world apart from Arabica. Other than being mass produced, we've always found Robusta to be overpowering and bitter in taste. But that's all changing.
We're seeing more and more specialty Robusta coffee farms appears in parts of South America. Bursting with intense flavours, these Robusta beans are rich and intense with a higher caffeine content than Arabica beans.
Often, specialty coffee roasters like us will blend Arabica and Robusta beans to create a coffee with a high caffeine content packed with flavour. Try all of our award winning coffees with our Discovery Pack.
What is Arabica Coffee?
Arabica coffee is the more expensive and prestigious variety, with a more complex flavour and aroma profile. It is grown at high altitudes, between 600 and 2000 meters, in tropical regions such as Central and South America, Africa, and Asia. Arabica coffee beans are more difficult to cultivate and are prone to disease and pests.
Arabica coffee has a smoother, sweeter taste, with a more complex flavour profile that includes fruity, floral, and nutty notes. It has less caffeine than Robusta coffee, making it a better option for people who are sensitive to caffeine or want to reduce their caffeine intake. Arabica coffee is also considered to be more environmentally sustainable than Robusta coffee, as it is grown at higher altitudes, which require less fertilizer and water. Arabica coffee farms also tend to use more shade-grown practices, which help to preserve biodiversity and promote soil health.
What is Robusta Coffee?
Robusta coffee beans, on the other hand, are easier to grow and are more resistant to disease and pests. They are grown at lower altitudes, between sea level and 600 meters, mainly in Vietnam, Brazil, and parts of Africa. Robusta beans have a stronger, harsher taste and aroma, with higher caffeine content than Arabica beans. They are used mainly for instant coffee, espresso blends, and in commercial coffee shops.
Robusta coffee has a stronger, harsher taste than Arabica coffee, with a more bitter and earthy flavour profile. It also has a higher caffeine content, making it a popular choice for people who want a stronger coffee kick.
Can You Tell the Difference Between Arabica and Robusta by Taste Alone?
The short answer is yes; it is possible to tell the difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee by taste alone. Arabica coffee has a smoother, sweeter taste with more complex flavour notes, while Robusta coffee has a stronger, harsher taste with a more bitter and earthy flavour profile.
However, it is not always easy to distinguish between the two types of coffee, especially if they are blended. Many coffee blends contain both Arabica and Robusta beans, and the exact ratio of the two beans can vary from blend to blend. In addition, the taste of coffee can be influenced by many factors, including the roast level, brewing method, water quality, and temperature.
To accurately distinguish between Arabica and Robusta coffee, you need to train your taste buds to recognize the differences between the two types of coffee. This requires practice, patience, and a willingness to experiment with different blends and brewing methods.
One way to train your taste buds is to compare different coffees side by side, such as by conducting a blind taste test. This involves brewing and tasting two or more cups of coffee, without knowing which cup contains which type of coffee. By comparing the taste, aroma, and mouthfeel of each cup, you can learn to recognize the differences between Arabica and Robusta coffee.
Another way to distinguish between Arabica and Robusta coffee is to look for specific flavour notes and characteristics that are associated with each type of coffee. For example, Arabica coffee is often described as having a sweeter, fruitier taste, while Robusta coffee is associated with a more bitter, earthy flavor. Arabica coffee is also known
for its acidity, while Robusta coffee is known for its robust body and crema. Additionally, Arabica coffee tends to have a softer, smoother mouthfeel, while Robusta coffee has a more astringent, sharp mouthfeel.
In conclusion, it is possible to tell the difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee by taste alone, although it may require some practice and training of your taste buds. Arabica coffee tends to have a smoother, sweeter taste with more complex flavor notes and less caffeine, while Robusta coffee has a stronger, harsher taste with a more bitter and earthy flavor profile and higher caffeine content. Whether you prefer Arabica or Robusta coffee comes down to personal preference, as both have their own unique characteristics and flavour profiles.