Before coffee is dried, roasted and ground, it is carefully grown as a cash crop in countries all over the world. This incredible plant favors high elevations in tropical regions making it an ideal crop for most of south and Central America, parts of Africa and Indonesia.
There are several different types of the coffee plant; some seem relatively tame while others are so completely bizarre I will promise to write about them later. But, the two biggest names in the world coffee market are Arabica and Robusta.
Wondering how much difference can there be? Well, between the two of them the specialty coffee market prefers Arabica. Caffea Arabica is considered to be far superior in taste; in fact it has been referred to as the “champagne of coffee”. So it makes sense that most high quality coffee consists entirely of Arabica beans; while Caffea Canephora (Robusta) produces coffee that has higher caffeine content and has a more acidic, bitter taste, not surprisingly it is most often what makes up coffee of the instant variety. Robusta Coffee serves its purpose because most coffee blends are a mixture of both types, with the Robusta beans acting as filler for a blend that is mostly Arabica, this makes the coffee less expensive and is said to benefit the crema on espresso.
Most coffee growing countries start out with Robusta plants because they are hardy and mature quickly, producing fruit within a few years, Arabica plants mature much more slowly, and have a greater limit to the places that it can be grown, contributing to its higher price.
If you didn’t realize that the coffee you drink was so complex, you can rest assured that knowing the percentage of Arabica and Robusta in your morning cup is not vital for you to enjoy it, however useful it may be to impress your friends.