If you like your coffee to conjure up tastes of fruit and berries, if you’re fonder of sweet than bitter, then Arabica beans are probably your best bet. Arabica beans have twice the sugar content as Robusta beans, which probably has a lot to do with their popularity. Mostly grown in Latin America, Arabica beans tend to be more expensive than Robusta beans but surprisingly contain just half the caffeine (1.5% vs 2.7%). This relatively high amount of caffeine in Robusta beans makes them poisonous for bugs and so they’re more resilient to grow.
Robusta beans are often thought to be inferior, which is not always the case. Some high-quality Robusta beans are especially good for espressos as they have a very deep flavour and excellent crema. And it’s the crema result that guarantees Robusta beans a place in most Italian coffee blends. Robusta is more readily available because the beans are easier to grow. They’re sturdier plants, often grown at low altitudes, and are much quicker to bear fruit. Mostly grown in Africa and Indonesia, the yield per tree is much higher than with Arabica beans.
Next time you’re in the supermarket, shopping for coffee powder for your Tecnora Classico 107M or perhaps the Cremiere TCM 106A, check what you’re buying. Do some research. And don’t fall in to the trap of believing that all Arabica beans are high-quality and all Robusta beans are not. Top-class specialty Robusta coffee is as good if not better than low-class Arabica. But it’s difficult to find: Robusta only accounts for 25% of the world’s coffee production. It’s about personal taste. Sample a few blends and figure out what it is you like.