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Arabica Versus Robusta

by Daria Toptygina on Jan 26, 2024

Arabica Versus Robusta

There are three types of coffee beans: Arabica, Robusta, and Liberica. Since the latter of the three only makes up approximately 2% of the current global coffee crop, we’ll focus on the first two. 

What’s the difference between Arabica vs Robusta? Read on to learn more.

Arabica Coffee Beans

Arabica coffee beans come from Coffea Arabica plants. They originate from Ethiopia, where they still grow wild, and are the most commonly consumed type of coffee beans, making up about 60% to 70% of the world’s commercial coffee production. This plant species got its name when its beans arrived in Yemen and lower Arabia after crossing the Red Sea from Ethiopia in the 7th century (1).

Arabica has a mild, sweet taste with a bright acidity and nuanced flavors that shine in pour over brews. The beans themselves are oval in shape and have a caffeine content of 1.5%.

Due to their sensitivity to the environment, Coffea Arabica plants are quite expensive to grow. They necessitate humidity, lots of rain, natural shade, and steady temperatures between 60 to 75° Fahrenheit. While they may tolerate lower temperatures, they cannot survive frost. They thrive at higher altitudes, particularly with volcanic micronutrient-rich soils, though they can also be found growing at sea level. (2)

They are highly susceptible to coffee leaf rust, resulting in an annual loss of 1 to 2 billion dollars USD, and are fragile in the face of other fungal diseases like coffee wilt disease and coffee berry disease (3).

Robusta Coffee Beans

Robusta is the main variety of Coffea Canephora, but Robusta’s generally the term used for all coffee in this grouping. It got its name for being more robust than Arabica in taste, crop yield, and constitution.

Robusta is stronger and better suited for espresso. It is often roasted darker to bring out earthier flavors. The beans themselves are more circular in shape and have nearly double the caffeine content of Arabica.

World Coffee Research acknowledges 47 Robusta varieties and cultivars and 57 Arabica varieties and cultivars at the time of writing this (4). 

Despite their differences, Arabica and Robusta coffee beans are commonly mixed into delicious blends.


Is Liberica Coffee High In Caffeine? 

Liberica coffee is not high in caffeine. In fact, its beans have the lowest caffeine content of 1.23%.

Which Is Better Arabica Or Robusta?

Arabica is most often said to taste superior with its smoother mouthfeel and fruitier tasting notes. However, it’s ultimately a matter of personal preference for flavors and desired brewing method.

What Are The Main Types Of Arabica Coffee?

Some of the main types of Arabica coffee include Bourbon, Catimor, Catuai, Caturra, Geisha, Mundo Novo, Pacamara, SL28, SL34, and Timor.


  1. Tristam, P. (2020, August 28). Arabica Coffee Enjoyed Today and for the Past Few Millennia. Retrieved December 16, 2023, from 
  2. Harvard T. H. Chan. (n.d.). Coffee. Retrieved December 16, 2023, from 
  3. Talhinhas, P., et al. (2017, January 25). The coffee leaf rust pathogen Hemileia vastatrix: one and a half centuries around the tropics. Retrieved December 16, 2023, from,Africa)%20on%20wild%20Coffea%20species 
  4. World Coffee Research. (n.d.). Coffee varieties catalog. Retrieved December 16, 2023, from 

~Daria Toptygina


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