Arabica coffee is made from the beans of the Ethiopian-bred Coffea arabica plant. Arabica is the most popular coffee variety in the world, accounting for more than 60% of all cups consumed.
In my life as a coffee drinker, I came in contact many times with it, without realizing the origin and types of this species of coffee.
In the article, I will share what I learned about it in this recent years and what are the differences with the other famous type, Robusta.
What is Arabica Coffee?
This is a good question that many people ask.
Arabica coffee is one of the most popular beans in the world and is produced by the Coffea arabica plant. With all the different coffee species, arabica is believed to produce a coffee that tastes better than the rest.
But the flavor of coffee largely depends on where the beans come from and how they are processed.
Where does Arabica coffee grow?
Arabica coffee first originated in Ethiopia, but nowadays this species is mixed with others. Arabica coffee can also be found in South Sudan. The good characteristic of this species is that it can adapt to other environments, so it is easy to find it outside of its native land, in many parts of Latin America, Africa, South East Asia, and also China.
Main Types of Arabica Coffee
These beans come in many varieties. These varieties might come from arabica beans, but they have their own attributes and flavors.
These different types have been cultivated by mixing the different subspecies and species. While there are many types, these are the most popular:
- Typica- This type is the base for a lot of other types. The tree that produces Typica doesn’t produce a lot of beans, but the beans are still of the highest quality.
- Blue Mountain- The Blue Mountain beans are grown in Jamaica and are much beloved. This type does perfectly at a high altitude and is not killed by coffee berry disease.
- Caturra- This type comes from Brazil. It is like the Bourbon type, but it has been modified. While it was discovered in Brazil, it grows better in Colombia and parts of South America. It is like Bourbon in some ways, but it produces more beans. The beans also need more attention than others, so they will grow and produce. The brew that comes from these beans is lighter.
- Catuai- When you mix the Caturra type and the Mundo Novo type you get Catuai. This tree produces a lot of beans, but it needs to be fertilized regularly and taken care of for it to produce.
- Bourbon- The French created this type in 1708 on an island that was once called Bourbon. The Bourbon type has many variants because a lot of other types were created from it. It resembles the Typica plant, but it produces more beans and has a richer taste.
Arabica Vs Robusta
Some people love this coffee and stand behind it 100%. Others like robusta coffee more. While they are types of coffee, they have a lot of differences.
Robusta Coffee: What is it?
The Coffea canephora plant produces the beans that make robusta coffee. This plant comes from Africa and can be a bit bitter. This type of coffee is used in espresso, and for instant coffee. It can also be used as filler to round out a canister of ground coffee.
When it comes to the arabica vs robusta debate, it all depends on what you like. That being said, knowing how the beans are different can help you decide which beans you would like best. The beans are different in terms of taste, price, and where they can be grown.
If you like something that has a neutral taste that can sometimes be a little bitter, then robusta is for you.
But if you like variety, then this coffee is perfect for you. It comes in many varieties that taste different. Some are soft and sweet, while others can be a little tangy or have a sharp flavor and everything in between.
When it comes to the price of the beans, you get what you pay for.
Arabica is more expensive because it needs extra care. There is no mono-cropping when it comes to arabica. Certain varieties grow better in certain places and times of the year. It is a harder plant to grow, so it takes more time thus it costs more.
Robusta is cheaper, but there is a reason for that. Robusta is not a delicate plant so it can be planted anywhere.
The growing environment makes a difference. The Arabica species needs certain conditions to meet before it can produce beans. The plant is much more fragile than robusta, which makes it more vulnerable. It can be damaged by the weather, pests, and not being treated properly. This type of species needs a cool subtropical climate, sun, rich soil, and a lot of moisture.
Robusta, on the other hand, is not as vulnerable. Pests rarely attack this plant and it can grow just about anywhere. Because they can be grown anywhere, it doesn’t cost much to produce.
Okay, but which is Better?
Well, it depends on who you ask. Some people do really like robusta coffee. It entirely depends on your taste and what kind of coffee you want to have. Arabica has more flavor, sugar, and lipids. While Robusta is not as acidic and it has more caffeine.
Benefits of Arabica coffee
Drinking coffee can be good for you, but it depends on the type of coffee you drink. Keep in mind that everything is good in moderation. Some of the benefits are:
- Antioxidants: This coffee has phenolic acid and vitamins that are good for you. Phenolic acid can help your body purge free radicals. Also, because of the antioxidants and vitamins, this coffee can lower your risk of liver and other cancers.
- Better for your teeth: It can be better for your teeth than robusta coffee. Arabica coffee has chlorogenic acid and caffeine in it. These two things help fight the bacteria in your mouth that can cause cavities. If you don’t drink your coffee with a lot of sugar and syrups, this benefit is much more effective.
- Focused: Caffeine can help you stay focused and improve your productivity at work or during your studies.
- Vitamins: This coffee contains both vitamins and minerals. It contains B vitamins, vitamin E, potassium, and magnesium. It may help you live longer, lower your risk of heart disease, help manage diabetes, and prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia. More tests need to be done though.
- Low Calories: When you don’t add all the creamers and sugar and syrups, Arabica coffee is low in calories. If you are going to add creamer and sugar and are trying to watch your weight, be mindful of how much you add.
Best Uses and Brewing Methods
This coffee is much more flavorful than robusta, and it is used in many different coffee-based drinks. If you would like to use pure arabica, you can, but it depends on the type of drink you are making.
With black espresso, pure arabica can be used. But if you are making lattes or a cappuccino, a little bit of robusta will need to be added. Pure arabica will not produce enough for a latte.
This type of coffee seems to be better on its own, which is good if you love black coffee. If you are brewing a pot of black coffee by filter or French press, then this coffee is also great for that. But if you like a lot of creamer or milk and sugar, then you may not like it.
This type of coffee will take on whatever flavors you add to it. So if you like a lot of creamers, then that is what you will taste, and the coffee will become watered down.
To brew the best cup of this type of coffee you need a slower method. If you pick a method where the water gets too hot, it can burn some of the flavors in the coffee.
This is something that you don’t want and can make the coffee taste burned and bitter. An espresso machine isn’t a good method either because the water doesn’t have enough time to get all the flavors from the coffee.
The best method for this type of coffee is a French press. The French press method is believed to be one of the best brewing methods because it allows you to control every step of the process.
With a French press, you can control the temperature of the water and how long it steeps. A press also allows you to keep the coffee grounds away from the brew so you aren’t drinking the grounds.
If you like cold brew, it is pretty easy to make. All you need is a jar, coffee grounds, and water. The brewing process takes between 12 to 18 hours. You are basically taking coffee grounds, pouring them into the jar, filling it with water, and placing it in the refrigerator. This method helps to bring out more of the flavorful notes in the coffee.
When it comes to choosing the best coffee, it all depends on your taste and what you like. That being said, it is hard to deny that Arabica coffee has more flavor and is of better quality than robusta.
I hope this article helped you to clarify more about the differences between arabica and robusta.