What are the differences between Arabica and Robusta coffees?

There are many differences between the two varieties, some of which can be easily seen, while others can be appreciated during tasting.

A coffee tree is a bush that produces coffee, but not all bushes are the same and not all coffee is the same. Although there are many varieties, there are two most common types of coffee that we drink in coffee shops or at home: Arabica coffee and Robusta coffee.

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The Coffee Bean

The first and most obvious differences is the shape of the bean. When we place an Arabica bean next to a Robusta bean, we notice that the Arabica bean has a flatter and more elongated shape, and that the line that crosses it from top to bottom is curved in the shape of an “S”. Arabica beans, on the other hand, are more rounded and the line through them is straight.


The geographical origin of the two coffees is also differences. Robusta is a West African coffee that is stronger than Arabica and much cheaper to make. It can be grown at lower altitudes in plantations than Arabica coffee. It is currently grown mainly in Southeast Asia, with Vietnam being the main production area. 

On the other hand, Arabica coffee requires very specific climatic conditions, characterized by being cultivated at an altitude of 900 to 2000 meters above sea level. Sea and certain parameters related to temperature and humidity. It is native to Ethiopia, southeastern Sudan and Kenya, and is also cultivated in Latin America.

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The differences between the two flavors can also be found in the level of caffeine. Robusta coffee is characterized for having almost twice as much caffeine as Arabica coffee.

In Robusta coffee it is between 2% and 4%, while in Arabica coffee it is around 0.7% to 1.5%. 

The Scent and Flavor

Caffeine can also affect flavor and aroma. Robusta is more bitter, with an earthy aroma and a rough and dry taste. On the other hand, after tasting a cup of 100% Arabica coffee, we notice that the coffee is smoother, with aromas ranging from slightly sweet to acidic and palpable, leaving a touch of chocolate acidity in the taste. 

In any case, Arabica and Robusta are used to make coffee of the highest quality. For example, some Robusta varieties are of higher quality than others and are highly appreciated as espresso coffees for their aroma and creaminess.

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The Most Valued

Arabica coffee is also known as gourmet coffee beans and is associated with the concept of premium quality. The highest quality blends are usually 100% natural Arabica. However, high quality Robusta coffee is usually as good as low quality Arabica. It is generally used to make premium espresso blends.

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