Arabica & Robusta

What's the difference
The two most common coffee species are Arabica and Robusta. The difference in taste is quite straight and clear, you don’t need to be a professional coffee taster to notice what the difference is between the two. Coffee has about 800 aromatic compounds compared to wine that has about 400, so there are plenty of taste experiences in the world just waiting to be discovered.

Coffea arabica has a greater aromatic complexity with significantly more nuances because there are many varieties of this species. If the coffee goes through a natural refinement, ie drying with the help of the sun or dryer (sometimes both), the coffee has a fuller viscosity and the acidity is reduced. In an espresso brewed on Arabica beans that have been refined with the help of water, you can feel that acidity that the natural refinement removes. Long-term fermentation in tanks, grown at higher altitudes and how the landscape and its soil are structured are all components that can change the taste of coffee just like wine and tea. The last breeding method is a hybrid that mixes the first two methods. The proportions of how long the coffee is dried and soaked vary, but the basis is the same. This process gives the coffee a slightly sour character, similar to the acidity that cocoa has, and the fullness is not as intense. Many people prefer this variant as it is a little weaker and milder.

Robusta, Coffea canephora, has fewer chromosomes (22 vs the 44 that Arabica has) which results in less acidity and complexity. This type of coffee has more caffeine in it naturally, 2.7%, compared to Arabica, 1.5%. Caffeine is quite bitter, which means that more people prefer the slightly kinder Arabica. Another reason may be that Arabica contains about 60% more lipids and has almost twice as high a sugar concentration and twice the amount of potassium, which gives a salty taste. The species grow all over the world but mainly in Africa, Asia and Brazil. The coffee is processed in the same way as the Arabica beans. The natural coffee is full-bodied and intense with an earthy, sweet and woody taste. Soaked coffee is not as sour and the water removes some flavors and therefore this coffee usually has a more neutral taste.

Of course, there are many more ways to refine coffee. For example, in India they use the monsoon winds and the rain to achieve a sweet and spicy taste or on the island of Java in Indonesia where you use WIB, a method that increases cream and highlights aromas of chocolate and spices.

This comparison can of course be useful if you are unsure of which espresso beans you should choose, but it is still best to try them out. Are you not quite sure if you would appreciate the slightly more powerful Robusta but still want a little more strength than one hundred percent Arabica then maybe Vallebella (70% Arabica, 30% Robusta) or an even more powerful Marche (50% Arabica would , 50% Robusta) is the alternative for you.

If you are interested in other types of coffee, for example cialde (pods) or brewed coffee, all our different types of coffee are linked below. Information on what percentage of Arabica and Robusta is in the selected coffee type is easily accessible under each product page so that you can make a choice in the best and easiest way that you will not regret. If you would like to try our coffee flavours before making up your mind, you are welcome to Monteriva in Södermalm, Stockholm.

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We have put together a short lesson about coffee where the whole process from seed to cup is described in small chapters for a simple but still entertaining reading. If you are interested in reading about everything from how to harvest coffee to what determines what classification the coffee gets, just click the link below.

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