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Arabica or Robusta?

While Arabica continues to be undobtedly the best coffee, we don’t ask ourselves this question. How about you?

Many coffee lovers still ponder upon the question: “Arabica or Robusta?” For us, of course, the question is rhetorical. Because we believe that what is most important is that the coffee is of exceptional quality. And so far, only specialty Arabica coffees reach the highest quality standard.

Let’s talk about the two varieties. Let us break down some myths that still mislead a lot of people and make them argue about which one is the better variety.

What are the origins of Arabica and Robusta?

We all know that Arabica coffee variety was discovered and subsequently cultivated for the first time in Ethiopia. The variety began to spread around the world in the mid-18th century. Today, most Arabica coffees are descendants of two basic varieties – Typica and Bourbon. In the 1950s, new coffee leaf rust resistant varieties began to be developed. And today there are already genetically developed hybrids.

Robusta was officially classified as a variety in 1897, about a century after Arabica. It also originated in Ethiopia and still grows there today. It is grown mainly in Africa, Indonesia and Vietnam. In countries such as India and Brazil, for example, both varieties grow but Arabica is much more widespread. In 1927, a hybrid between Arabica and Robusta was discovered in East Timor.

How are Arabica and Robusta cultivated

It is more difficult to grow Arabica than Robusta because Arabica is more vulnerable to diseases. In addition, it grows at a higher altitude and requires more attention from farmers. But it rewards them with amazing flavour characteristics, especially when it is constantly and skillfully cultivated. And only the highest quality representatives of Arabica receive a specialty coffee certificate.

Only in the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia, it is believed that there are between 6 and 10,000 Arabica varieties! Can you imagine this diversity? And how about all over the world ?!

Robusta, on the other hand, is much more ressistant and unpretentious. It grows at a lower height and gives larger yields, although it requires no special care. This also makes many farmers who strive for quick profits at the cost of less effort to prefer it. If the Arabica needs more years to give the first harvest, the Robusta bears fruit much faster.

Arabica, as we have said, requires special care. It seems unprofitable at first glance. However, more and more small producers around the world are betting on it. Because quality coffee can really change the lives of its producers. You also contribute to this when you choose quality Arabica with proven origin. That way you know exactly where your money is going.

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Arabica or Coffea Arabica is the most cultivated variety in the world – between 60 and 70% of the total amount of coffee. It contains about 100 mg of caffeine in about 250 ml of filtered coffee.

What are the most typical Arabica and Robusta flavors?

It is a never-ending conversation that of coffee flavor characteristics. As we have already told you, coffee has twice as many aroma precursors as wine.

Arabica offers a rich flavor palette – fruits, chocolate notes, floral notes, nuts, etc. and various types of acidity. It is also famous for its high sweetness. Its taste may have many delicate undertones which makes it really different from Robusta. The latter has generally a stronger, sharper taste, very dominant, without too many nuances. One can find in it nuts like peanuts rather than sweet caramel notes; earth and even wood. Robusta has lower acidity than Arabica.

Robusta or Coffea canephora is the second most cultivated coffee in the world with up to 40% of the total amount of coffee. It contains an average of 265 mg of caffeine in 240 ml of filtered coffee.

How does height affect coffee flavor?

At higher altitudes we can expect SHB or strictly hard beans. At higher altitude where atmospheric conditions are speciffic, coffee beans grow slower than those in the low and mature more slowly. This is the reason for more complex sugars to develop in them. The result is much sweeter and tastier beans. They come with almost twice as much sugars. We can also say that the beans are larger in general, although the bean size of Arabica coffee vary.

Arabica has lower levels of amino acids and chlorogenic acids than Robusta, but contains 60% more total oils. Chlorogenic acids contribute to the astringency of the taste, so the smaller amount of them in Arabica is actually in favor of the flavor characteristics. Many aromatic volatile compounds dissolve in oil droplets and are released during the coffee brewing. So the oil fraction may explain some differences in the cup quality between Arabica and Robusta, especially when it comes to espresso.

Where do the names Arabica and Robusta come from?

The name Arabica is said to have first appeared when coffee beans were brought from Ethiopia to Lower Arabia in the 7th century.

Robusta gets its name due to the fact that it is a more resistant variety. Because it can be grown in a variety of conditions and is unpretentious, it is called Robusta – robust or healthy, strong.

Geisha – the queen of Arabica

The prices of high quality Arabica can reach cosmic heights. Today, Geisha is arguably the queen of Arabica varieties. It is believed that the highest quality representatives of this variety grow in Panama. You already know Geisha well because we have had the pleasure to offer you several Geishas over the years. We have already offeed you the highest-rated Geisha on COE competitions in 2019. Soon we expect another great Geisha – a finalist in the most prestigious competition for Geisha coffee in the world, Best of Panama.

The variety was found in Ethiopia in 1930s and from there it was sent to Tanzania where it was tested in the research center of Lyamungu. Two decades later, Geisha reaches Central America’s research center CATIE. It was proven that it was coffee leaf rust resistant, and it was transported to Panama in the 1960s.

At the beginning though, farmers there didn’t pay a lot of attention to it since they found out that Geisha’s branches were brittle. It was four decades later when Geisha finally became world famous when the Peterson family from Bouquete, Panama, chose exactly this variety to present their farm in the specialty coffee competition Best of Panama. With its first participation there Geisha broke the record for a green coffee price per pound – it gathered more than 20 US dollars per pound.

And this year the number one geisha in the wet processing category was sold for $1,300,50 per pound at the auction!

In Geisha cup that was produced at high altitude, we usually find a delicate floral aroma with predominant jasmine scent and a hint of peach. It is typical for this unique coffee to have a rich taste, full of nuances, balanced and incomparable.

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What coffees do we at DABOV choose – Arabica or Robusta?

We choose only Arabica for our single origin coffees and espresso blends. Robusta is used mainly for low-quality blends worldwide and with a darker roast to cover its defects. It is mostly used for nescafe. In mass coffee brands espresso blends is chosen precisely because of its high content of caffeine.

And if you would like to drink decaf coffee, taste our Peru Swiss Water Decaf – Био.

You know that our creator Jordan Dabov has been a juror in the international jury of the Cup of Excellence since 2013. He has already judged coffees in competitions in five countries, and in Brazil alone, for example, he has participated in four competitions. Last year, he was among the few invited to the 20th anniversary edition in Brazil, which in itself is a testament to his qualities as a professional coffee cupper. Therefore, when we offer you a coffee, it is only after he was personally convinced of its indisputed qualities. That is why you can be sure that you have really a specialty coffee in your cup.

The good news for Robusta

There are people around the world, albeit a small number, who grow Robusta in an effort to improve the quality of this variety. In Brazil, for example, a country that our coffee hunter Jordan Dabov knows very well, there is a visible desire to produce Robusta with the qualities of specialty coffee. The country is the second largest producer of Robusta in the world after Vietnam. It may however soon surpass the Asian giant. The Specialty Coffee Association of Brazil monitors farmers who follow the standards and protocols developed by the Coffee Quality Institute for growing specialty Robusta and notes that there is a quality increase in a significant number of farms.

These standards and protocols have been based on the Specialty Coffee Association standards that apply to Arabica. In Brazil, in the Amazon state of Rondonia, the biggest quantity of Robusta is grown.

If Jordan Dabov finds a Robusta coffee that can compare in terms of quality to our specialty Arabica coffees, he will bring it to our roastery and offer it to you! Until then, you can enjoy the undoubtedly high quality and extremely rich flavors of specialty Arabica coffee!

Have you switched on you own coffee machine?

Coffee packages - Espresso Box – Box with 3 coffees for espresso

The ultimate espresso box  with 3 packs of different coffees x 200,8 g

We have selected blends with various flavors – from chocolaty to fruity, so you can enjoy every day the one that responds to your mood for the day.

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