Everything You Need to Know About Coffee Robusta
Behind Coffee Arabica, Robusta is the second-most popular coffee in the world today. It is produced by the Coffea canephora plant, which was originally grown in the western and central portions of sub-Saharan Africa.
About 40% of the world’s coffee consumed each day is Coffee Robusta. When combined with Coffee Arabica, these two products represent between 95% to 99% of the beans purchased each year.
That’s an impressive feat, consider there are 100+ different coffee species which are currently growing in the world today.
How Coffee Robusta Grows
The Coffee Robusta plant is remarkably hardy. It is resilient against disease and pests, enjoys hot temperatures, and can even handle full sunshine. The only thing it asks for in return is a lot of water.
With Robusta, a hydrated coffee plant is a happy one.
Unlike Arabica coffee, the Robusta plant prefers to grow at lower altitudes. It does best when it can stay below 600 meters, or about 2,000 feet.
When growing in the wild, it can rise to heights of 30 feet or more under prime growing conditions. For farmers who are focused on growing Coffee Robusta, the plants are kept to about half that height to ensure the harvest is efficient.
The flowers are white, like many coffee plants, and the fruits turn a deep shade of red when they ripen. It may take just six months from flowering, in some regions, to produce a viable crop. Each of the fruits, called a “cherry,” will usually produce two coffee beans, which are the seed of the plant.
In some regions, however, the plant may flower irregularly, taking up to one year for the fruits to ripen.
Most Robusta coffee is produced in Southeast Asia, Africa, or Latin America today. Vietnam, Brazil, and Indonesia are often the world’s top suppliers of this energetic bean.
Flavors of Coffee Robusta
There is a unique flavor profile to enjoy when you’re having a cup of coffee brewed from Robusta. It offers a flavor that speaks of the Earth, somewhat grainy, with tones of oak and bitterness when the roasting process finishes correctly. You should also have a kick that tastes of peanuts, which settles on your tongue.
You must purchase Coffee Robusta from a trusted supplier to ensure the consistency and flavor is right. If the roasters get their process wrong, it is easy for this coffee to have a taste profile that is similar to licking a used car tire.
Espresso is often the preferred way to enjoy this variety, as it offers a lovely crema that is thicker and with deeper flavor tones than Arabica or other variations. You’ll find the kick from the espresso remains smooth, even with the higher caffeine content.
Caffeine Profile of Coffee Robusta
When you see comparisons of Robusta vs. Arabica coffee online, the main point often highlighted is the difference in caffeine content.
With Coffee Robusta, you’ll receive a bean that can be up to 2.7% caffeine in volume. That is about double of what the average Arabica bean provides.
It is the higher caffeine content which makes the Robusta plant such a survivor. The added caffeine creates the extra bitterness that you find with this bean, which causes most pests to leave it alone. There are antimicrobial properties found with the bean as well, which reduces the impact of disease on the plant.
What You Should Expect from Coffee Robusta
Price is the main point of comparison to think about from a consumer standpoint. Because Coffee Robusta is easier to farm, producing higher yields, it is often one of the cheaper coffee products you can purchase. Before roasting, Robusta beans are up to 50% less in price than Arabica beans.
The shape of the Robusta bean is a little different as well. They tend to be smaller and more circular than the Arabica bean.
From a flavor standpoint, however, Robusta can be difficult to tolerate on its own – even for long-term coffee drinkers. You’ll find it used in blends to push up the caffeine profile or espressos for its crema-creation tendencies.
Sold on its own, Robusta must be roasted to perfection and packaged well to preserve its unique profile.
With less sugar and fewer lipids when compared to Arabica coffee, it may be challenging to try drinking Coffee Robusta for some. If you can get past that initial flavor hit, however, you will find this robust coffee to be an excellent addition to your daily routine.