Green (unroasted) coffee is one of the most traded agricultural commodities in the world. Until today, coffee is still one of the most popular beverages worldwide. There are a number of species of coffee plant cultivated in over 70 countries. Coffee plant species include Coffee Arabica (Arabica), Coffee Benghalensis, Coffee Canephora (Robusta), Coffee Excelsa, Coffee Gallienii and Coffea liberica. Among the species, the two main types commonly grown are: Coffee Arabica (Arabica) and Coffee Canephora (Robusta). The best growing areas offer moderate sunlight and rain, steady temperatures of around 20 degrees celcius, and rich soil. Of the two types of coffee trees grown, the Arabica accounts for nearly 70% of total harvest worldwide while the Robusta, a hardier plant makes up the remaining 30%. While both widely cultivated, Coffee Arabica and Coffee Robusta display marked differences. The beans are different. The plants are different. And consequently, the use varies as well. Each coffee has its individual character of flavor and aroma. There is no such thing as any one best coffee since each of us has an ideal coffee flavor that suits us. The followings are some general information about Arabica and Robusta coffees and their characteristics.
This coffee was first found in Congo in 1898 and now the plants of this coffee can be found in several countries such as West and Central Africa, South East Asia and South America. Robusta, as the name suggests, is a hardier plant, and it displays greater resistance to climate and weather conditions, diseases and heat. The coffee plants can be cultivated at larger area than coffee Arabica. The plants grow well at low altitudes of 200-800 meters above sea-level. Unlike Arabica coffee berries, when Robusta coffee berries reach their peak or ripe condition the berries do not fall to ground.
Characteristics of Robusta Coffee:
- Robusta bean is bigger, more convex and roundish than Arabica bean.
- The bean’s furrow is straight, and it is pale green with grey or brownish tinges.
- Its bean surface texture is rougher than Arabica bean.
- The coffee possesses chocolate hint, unique aroma and sweet.
- Robusta coffee is cheaper than Arabica and the coffee is sometime used in blends.
This coffee is originally from Ethiopia. Now, this coffee can be found in many countries with tropical or sub-tropical weather condition such as Latin America, Central and East Africa, India, dan Indonesia. Arabica is grown at higher altitudes namely between 800 to 2000 meters above sea-level. Its cultivation demands great care, and it can be likened to the finest grapes grown at the world’s leading vineyards. This type of coffee plant requires subtropical climates, rich soil, shade and humidity. In good environment, the coffee plants can reach 3 meters in high and this coffee grows best at temperatures of 18-26 oC. Coffee Arabica has many varieties and their taste and aroma are slightly different depending on country, whether and earth condition where the coffee plants are grown.
Characteristics of Arabica Coffee:
- Arabica coffee has a rich, medium/heavy body, citrus-toned acidity and a unique complex flavor.
- Arabica is distinctly milder and more aromatic.
- It possesses fewer sharp and bitter tastes than Robusta.
- An Arabica bean is flatter and more elongated; in addition, and the furrow on its flat surface is elongated.
- It is relatively deep green in color before roasting, sometimes with a bluish tinge.
- It has lower caffeine content than Robusta coffee.