According to a repeated narrative, a goat herder from Ethiopia originally found the coffea plant around 850 AD. The plant would not be commonly cultivated until the seventeenth century by producers. In the eighteenth century, the plant made its way from Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula to East Africa, India, and Europe before finally making its way to South America and the Caribbean.
Did you know that coffee is actually a member of the Rubiaceae family of flowering plants? There are around 500 genera (the biological division into which a family is divided) and over 6,000 species in this family. Coffee (Coffea, scientifically), our favourite bean, is one of them. Although all seed-bearing plants in the Rubiaceae family are considered coffee plants by botanists, the majority of the coffees we consume come from just two species: Arabica and Canephora, also known as Robusta.
According to a repeated narrative, a goat herder from Ethiopia originally found the coffea plant around 850 AD. The plant would not be commonly cultivated until the seventeenth century by producers. In the eighteenth century, the plant made its way from Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula to East Africa, India, and Europe before finally making its way to South America and the Caribbean. Before roasted beans were offered for sale in stores, another hundred years or so would pass.
The Coffea arabica plant's beans or seeds are used to make Arabica coffee. The majority of the world's coffee production comes from varieties of plants. Due to their flavorful smoothness and absence of bitterness, single-origin coffees—those from one location or producer—are frequently made entirely of arabica beans, which are thought by many to be of greater quality than other varietals. Typically, Bourbon, Jamaica Blue Country, and Caturra are popular arabica cultivars.
The Coffea canephora plant's beans or seeds are used to make Robusta coffee. Robusta beans are frequently used in coffee blends since their overwhelmingly bitter flavours may not be as appealing on their own. Because they go well with numerous blends, producers frequently employ robusta beans to make pre-ground or instant coffee. Although the price of the beans is considerably lower than that of arabica beans, this does not imply that the beans are of worse quality. With a thick layer of crema, a coveted foam made from carbon dioxide trapped in ground coffee, Robusta beans can be the star of superb espresso blends.
Understanding the beans that went into producing your morning brew will help you enjoy it more. Find out the main distinctions between robusta and arabica coffee.
1. One sip of a good cup of coffee will reveal a significant variation in flavour between Arabica and Robusta coffee beans. In comparison to its rival, robusta is frequently said to have a considerably stronger flavour that even tastes scorched. This may be exactly what some people are searching for in their cup of coffee.
2. These two varieties of coffee beans also differ significantly in terms of their natural sugar content, which may help to explain why Arabica is the most popular option. Arabica coffee beans have an overall flavour profile that is sweeter and smoother because they have around twice as much natural sugar as Robusta beans.
3. Additionally, it is easy to distinguish between arabica and Robusta coffee beans at a glance. Arabica coffee beans typically have a somewhat oval shape that is more emblematic of a coffee bean. And robusta beans, on the other hand, are distinguished by their more circular shape.
4. Furthermore, Robusta coffee beans often produce a significantly stronger caffeine rush. While Arabica coffee typically has up to 1.7% caffeine, Robusta beans can have up to 3.5%. That amounts to roughly double the caffeine dose from the same cup of coffee, which can occasionally be appreciated.
5. The majority of gourmet coffee drinkers prefer Arabica; thus, today's coffee production industry places a little more emphasis on arabica farming. Arabica accounts for 60% of global coffee production, with Robusta accounting for the remaining 40%.