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Arabica Or Robusta? Your Guide To Coffee Beans

Updated: Jun 1

Arabica or Robusta Coffee Beans
Arabica or Robusta Coffee Beans

Suppose you are buying coffee beans for your home or business and are unsure what to look for.

If so, this guide will help you understand the differences between the basic types of coffee and dispel the coffee jargon so you can decide which variety is right for you.

The two main varieties of coffee are arabica and robusta. Arabica originated from Ethiopia, while robusta came from Uganda. Both are now grown in several other regions throughout the world.

Generally speaking, arabica is superior to robusta, with a much stronger and more distinct flavor—robusta can be bitter and weak-tasting. However, the taste also varies depending on which region the coffee comes from and the processes it is subjected to during growing, shipping, storing, and brewing.

You will often find that coffee is described in terms similar to those you might find in wine tasting: the main three categories used are flavor (such as ‘sweet’ or ‘spicy’), aroma (such as ‘flowery’ or ‘chocolaty’), body (such as ‘medium-bodied’ or ‘full-bodied’) and acidity (which refers to how ‘sharp’ or ‘clean’ the coffee tastes, LOW ACIDITY).

When you buy coffee beans, you will probably buy them already roasted. Roasting unlocks the bean's flavor, and the extent to which beans are roasted varies—for example, you can buy ‘medium roast’ beans or ‘Italian roast’ beans (‘Italian’ refers to the roast—it does not indicate that the beans came from Italy), and so on.

It is worth trying different types of coffee, using the above points as a guide. You will be amazed at the range of flavors available, and the more you try, the more expert you will become.


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