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What is the difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee?

You can tell the difference between Arabica and Robusta coffees through factors such as growing conditions, bean shape, caffeine content, aroma and taste.

What is the difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee?
What is the difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee?

Arabica and Robusta are the two most widely grown and popular coffee varieties in the world today. With different growing conditions and morphology, the quality and taste are also completely different.

Growing conditions

Arabica coffee (coffee tea) has the form of a large shrub with oval leaves, dark green color, and characteristic oval shaped fruit. Each Arabica coffee berry can contain only one bean called a peaberry. Arabica coffee trees when planted are often more susceptible to pests and diseases than Robusta varieties.

Robusta coffee trees (coffee beans) have the shape of a shrub or small tree. The root system of the plant is shallow but has very strong vitality. The coffee fruit has slightly rounded seeds and contains two oval seeds and looks smaller than Arabica beans.

Arabica coffee tree is a difficult plant and quite sensitive to climate, it requires annual average temperature and rainfall to meet new standards for high harvest. Meanwhile, Robusta coffee plants can adapt to many different types of environmental conditions.

Arabica coffee shrubs usually have a height of 2.5 – 4.5m requires temperature from 15⁰ – 24⁰C and annual rainfall about 1200 – 2200 mm/year. While Robusta grows from 4.5 – 6.5m tall requires a higher temperature of 18⁰ – 36⁰C and slightly more rainfall (2200 – 3000 mm/year). Arabica generally yields lower yields than Robusta.

Arabica and Robusta coffees can be distinguished by the shape of the beans.
Arabica and Robusta coffees can be distinguished by the shape of the beans.

Currently, Arabica coffee is grown a lot in Latin America Central and East Africa, India and parts of Indonesia. Brazil and Colombia are the two main exporting countries of Arabica coffee beans in the world today with about 70% of the total coffee production in the world.

Seed shape

Arabica coffee beans have a long (elliptical) shape, a groove in the middle of the bean or a wavy shape. Whereas Robusta beans are smaller and slightly rounded, the middle groove usually has a straight line.

Caffeine content

Arabica coffee beans have a caffeine content of about 0.9 – 1.7%. While this content in Robusta beans is very high: 2.5%. Foreigners are very fond of Arabica coffee beans, especially Western countries.

In terms of fat and sugar content: Arabica contains more than 60% fat and almost twice as much sugar as Robusta. This factor is the major factor affecting the difference in taste of the two types.

Fragrance and taste

Arabica coffee beans have a sour taste, but the taste of Arabica coffee is not quite sour. When swallowed, there will be a bitter taste, which is called the aftertaste of coffee. Especially Arabica after preparation has a very attractive scent. This is a very popular coffee in Europe with typical dishes such as: Espresso, Cappuccino, Latte, …

Robusta coffee has a characteristic bitter taste, lighter aroma than Arabica.


When roasted together at the same temperature, Robusta is always darker in color than Arabica and slightly larger than it was originally roasted.

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